Written by Laurel Garner, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, April 1st 2019
Many people are surprised and maybe even embarrassed when I ask them about their bowel movements.
But we need to talk about poop more because poop or the lack of poop is one of the main health factors in determining your overall wellness.
Many of the customers I see at Vitamin King and clients that come into my Internal Balance nutritional practice have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). According to Health Link BC, IBS is a disorder of the intestines which can cause symptoms such as belly pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. I want to clarify that I am not talking about IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), which is an inflammatory condition where the individual’s immune system attacks part of the digestive system. Dr. Google might describe IBS as a less serious condition but I am sure that if you are suffering from IBS, you would disagree! IBS and IBD are serious and uncomfortable conditions that can effect all aspects of your life from social to financial and of course, long term mental and physical wellness.
In my experience, IBS is diagnosed when there is not apparent medical cause for abdominal discomfort and bowel irregularities. People suffering from IBS symptoms might have had a number of tests done, some invasive, with no concrete answers. This can be very frustrating because, apart from a label, people suffering with the symptoms can be left with little direction and little hope that the symptoms will ever get better.
What is a normal poop? You can check out the Bristol Stool Chart for a visual of how your poop should look:
How many times a day should you poop? This can very greatly but as a rule of thumb, I say at least once a day.
Here are my tips to assist with IBS symptoms or any irregularity in bowel functions or abdominal comfort:
1. Start the day with warm water, or better yet, warm lemon water. This gives the digestive system a kick start, without using a laxative like coffee.
2. Drink only room temperature water or other liquids throughout the day. Cold liquids can inhibit digestive enzyme production thus negatively affecting digestion.
3. Keep a wellness diary. People groan when I ask them to do this but it is really the least expensive and most informative way to connect your bowel irregularities and discomfort to foods or life situations. If you want to see what a nutritionists food diary looks like (because I am only human), check out my food journal blog post here:
4. Eat with consciousness. Eating on the go or when in a stressed state can magnify IBS symptoms because the body is not in a relaxed state to be able to digest foods with ease and absorb the crucial nutrients. Remember you are only as good as the nutrients you can actually absorb.
The truth of the matter is that poop is important. Your poop is a message from your body that is worth listening to and not just flushing away. Managing symptoms can start with a warm lemon water and continue with mindfulness throughout your day, especially when eating.
If you are suffering with IBS or IBS like symptoms, or IBD, please consult your family doctor to ensure that you have ruled out other more serious health concerns.
If you suffer from tummy aches, constipation, or diarrhea or just want to talk more about poop, contact me for an appointment. Together we will work towards a happy tummy and a happier you.
Laurel Garner is our Registered Holistic Nutritionist and regular blog writer. When not advising people about their health, Laurel enjoys spending time with her family and enjoying the great Okanagan outdoors.
This information is provided to you by a Registered Holistic Nutritionist to support people suffering from bowel issues, in addition to support that you may be receiving from a medical professional. The information is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner before making changes to your diet, exercise routine or lifestyle.