Chronic constipation is embarrassing, uncomfortable, and frustrating. The mainstream medical community says that bowel movements three times or less per week is abnormal and means one suffers from chronic constipation. The natural medicine community believes that anywhere from 2-3 comfortable but not too soft movements per day is ideal. Our liver dumps toxins into our bowels to be expelled. If we are not expelling quickly enough up to 90% of toxins are reabsorbed! Not good.
There are several things that can cause chronic constipation including:
- amount of water we drink,
- foods we eat,
- amount of fiber we consume,
- our emotional state,
- level of physical activity,
- and food sensitivities.
Luckily, all of these can be addressed with your health coach and/or natural minded practitioner. In the meantime however, here are two gentle remedies you can begin to ease your discomfort and help get things moving.
- Warm Lemon Water– First thing every morning drink warm filtered water with the juice of one lemon. Lemon helps get the digestive juices going and water helps lubricate things up. Together they are power partners in getting things moving out. I have several friends and clients who are amazed at how effective it is. How to use lemon water effectively: Every morning when you first wake up, warm up a glass of water (I use a coffee mug) and squeeze the juice of a whole lemon into your water. Drink on an empty stomach as you are getting yourself ready for the day.
- Castor Oil Packs- A long time homeopathic remedy for all kinds of issues ranging from back pain, menstrual cramps, liver detox, and also, constipation. (Here is one study) I can speak from personal experience on how much castor oil packs can help ease menstrual cramps when they are really bad and have had clients use castor oil packs for constipation with success. It is a great way to help get things started while changing up other life factors to prevent constipation from happening in the first place.
How To Use A Castor Oil Pack
Organic castor oil (like this one), squares of flannel (like these), a sheet of plastic (a garbage bag is fine and it protects your couch or bed from getting oil stains), and hot water bottle (a regular bottle is fine or you can get this one which is easier to use and can get slimy 🙂 )
*Some people like to wrap the torso with plastic wrap over the flannel and hot water bottle because they fall asleep with it on. If you do tend to fall asleep, I recommend special bedding you don’t mind getting ruined with stains.
*You can get starter kits like this one that has everything you need right off the bat as well.
How to do it:
1. Fold flannel into 3 layers to fit over entire abdomen.
2. Soak flannel with castor oil. Fold flannel in half and strip excess from pack. Unfold.
3. Lie on your back with your feet elevated (use of a pillow under your knees and feet works well), placing oil-soaked flannel over abdomen, cover with a small sheet of plastic and then an old towel. Place a hot water bottle or heating pad on top.
4. Leave pack on for 30-60 minutes. Watch TV, read a book, or take a nap 🙂
5. Store in a glass jar with lid when done in the fridge. You do not need to wash the flannel after each use, just add more oil when needed. When you do decide to clean your cloth,to remove the oil, wash with a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1-quart water or BioKleen Citrus Soap in your sink and air dry.
6. Replace the pack after it begins to change color.