Let’s talk about poo and what’s normal. Going to the toilet for a number two is different for everyone, but if you go between three times a day to three times a week, your routine is pretty normal. There can be a literal joy for many of us in feeling the release and relief when you’ve just got to go and the going results in a good poo.
Why does it feel good to go?
For most, it feels especially satisfying. It can be described as a little ‘poophoria’ and is experienced because our vagus nerve connecting our bowel to our brainstem is stimulated when we make such a deposit. So, when all is functioning well and you do a large poo, this can release some feel-good hormones and make us super-relaxed.
What is Constipation?
What’s not normal is no pooing for more than three days or having poo that is too big or too hard to comfortably push out. It means you might be constipated. Sitting on the toilet for longer than usual and feeling like you’re straining is unpleasant for sure. You may be sensing you’re not emptying it all and you’re feeling a bit bloated and generally blocked up. This means you’re probably constipated.
What is our poo made of?
Our beloved deposits are made up of more than you think. Old red blood cells processed via the liver give them a dark brown colour. Water, dietary fats, intestinal gut friendly bacteria and remnants of anything else solid you may put into your body that you can’t digest, makes up the rest. One Biggy here is undigested fibre.
So, what’s fibre? It’s a type of carbohydrate that can’t be digested by our bodies. However, different types of fibre from a combination of whole plant foods. Foods like unrefined wholegrain breads, cereals, fruits and vegetables, help to bulk up and soften our poo in our bowel. This is where we shout about another important Biggy…..our good friend…..Water! So, our biggest poo ingredient is just that……H2O! They are or should be roughly made of about three quarters or 75% water. Therefore, enough fibre ingredients in our poo acts like a sponge absorbing this water that bulks and softens it……making it easier and more comfortable to pass and do our business.
Why am I constipated and what can I do?
So, when you consider what poo is made of with those significant ingredients, if your diet isn’t good, you won’t be comfortable when you’re trying to do a good poo deposit.
Getting roughy with it….
Eating enough of a combination of fibre rich foods like your fruits, veges, legumes, oats, nuts & seeds, like almond and chia , as well as the important wholegrain breads and cereals will have functional benefits for our gut and bowel health. Check out our interesting article on the 5 types of food that have a surprising effect on your body
Water, water, and water!
When you’re not drinking enough of this beloved bevvy, our bodies get dehydrated. We need water for essential tasks like thinking, so our body will divert much needed water away from that good poo that’s easy and comfortable to pass. As you can imagine, if we don’t have a good hydration game, our poop gets dryer, harder and more difficult to pass! It’s not normal for things to be uncomfortable or even painful!
Here at Go Against the Flow, we talk a lot about bladder leakage. It can seem for some of us, drinking a lot of water could turn that approach to ‘OMG I just peed’, but in this case, it is actually quite the opposite. When you’re constipated, your full and heavy bowel can push into your bladder making your bladder hold less, giving you the urge to pee more often.
When your rear is making it clear
Our deposits from our rear make themselves very clear when they’re coming. Moving about, eating, having a warm drink all help to move what’s in your bowel out and into the bathroom throne. When you get the urge to go, no matter if you need to get out the door, or something else grabs your attention, it’s important to go. If you hold on, and keep putting it off, for whatever reason, you increase the possibility of making yourself constipated. As your poop just dries out sitting there. Also, regularly ignoring the urge may make us less sensitive to these normal signals. So, don’t curb your urge and know that when you gotta go……you gotta go!
Another incentive here is that Constipation can even cause a lot of stress on your pelvic floor from straining and even stretching these muscles. And as we’ve preached before, a weak pelvic floor sets you up for urinary leakage and future difficulties. Healthy Pelvic floor muscles are necessary for good control and when you absolutely need to ‘hold on’ to go to the toilet.
Work your booty
Not doing enough exercise can also cause constipation. General movement and physical activity can help with the motility of your bowel and digestive system, helping your muscles move what’s inside down to where it can get out. So, get moving to get things moving. Getting in at least 30 minutes of exercise most days…. but preferably all days…. are keys in helping keep better check with healthy bowel habits and making things comfortable!
Out of your normal routine?
Changes in your normal routine or experiences of anxiety or depression from specific circumstances and the effects of life changing events also have significant impacts that can cause constipation. So, be mindful of taking extra care of your emotional well-being and in doing the little things that you know are beneficial! It is important to take stock of and consider your overall health here. Getting someone to help you is perfectly reasonable too!
Getting familiar with your business
On another level, after you’ve done your business, is to actually look at what you’ve done. What? That’s disgusting you say? ……But it came out of you, so that’s amazing in itself…… isn’t it? Getting familiar with the look and the smells of your deposits can help you work out what’s a regular thing for you and further solidify if you’re constipated. The best thing to understand is that it’s a good habit to have a peak at your business and get familiar. We have some great tools to assist you with this. Check out this chart OR have a little fun with choosing your poo in this one!
A flurry of pregnancy hormones, less physical activity and the pressure from a growing baby against our bowels can make constipation common. Keeping your diet healthy and even taking natural bowel softener supplements, approved by your treating Health professionals can be helpful in making things more comfortable.
You’re getting your period?
All thought to be due to hormonal changes during our menstrual cycle, some of us find our bowel movements are affected …… making us a little constipated. Keep mindful that if this happens stay healthy with your diet, drink plenty of water, keep booty active and reach out to a health professional if these good daily habits aren’t helping!
Some health and medical conditions and even some medications can also cause constipation. It is important to find out about any side effects and chat with your GP about any further concerns you may have.
Reaching out for support if you need it!
So, if you are constipated, there are things you can change and improve to make our beloved deposits more comfortable and even potentially ‘poophoric’. So be aware and take care!
Reaching out via contacting us or first asking us questions , even anonymously, if you’re experiencing any discomfort and not getting on top of things is a good call. You can even take the plunge and make a call to the National Continence Helpline. Our supportive and experienced Health Professionals know heaps about the secrets of a good poo and can advise or direct you onto further help near to where you live if you need it!