As a product specialist for a probiotic company, I have talked to literally thousands of people about their bowel issues. And one of the biggest issues was occasional constipation.
As I researched the medical literature, I was shocked to discover that there was very little legitimate medical research on constipation – even though it is such a common problem and very distressing to people who have it. There isn’t even an agreement among doctors about what is the definition of constipation.
Occasional constipation, heartburn, acid indigestion – your doctor may not be able to help you. Why? They simply don’t know what to do. There is too little evidence about what works for these problems.
In fact, 50% of people who go to see a doctor about occasional constipation are not helped by the standard solution of: more fiber, water, and exercise.
Based on my conversations with customers and from looking at the research, I have found that probiotics do help many people with occasional constipation.
However, the one piece of news that would often get an “AHA!” response is the news about adrenalin/stress and occasional constipation.
Adrenaline and constipation
If all of the above didn’t help – probiotics, more fiber, water and exercise – I would ask the customer if they were a “nervous” or “stressed” type person. Did they “run on adrenalin?”
What about you? Are you someone who runs on adrenalin most of the time? If so, that could be contributing to your occasional constipation. Why? Your digestive system is designed by Nature to work best when you are in your “rest and digest” system – called the parasympathetic.
The “adrenalin system” – called the sympathetic system – either flushes out your digestive tract with faster transit times or, more commonly, shuts it down so that your bowels move very slowly. I don’t care how much water you drink or fiber you take, if you are buzzing with adrenalin, chances are you are going to be constipated.
The human body wasn’t designed to spend most of its time “on adrenalin.” Adrenalin was supposed to be used occasionally, to escape from extreme danger – pumping blood into your muscles so you could fight, flee or freeze. Adrenalin pumps blood away from your digestive tract and slows it down.
Modern humans use adrenalin all day long to fight traffic on the freeway, respond to vicious office politics, worry about the news, meet punishing deadlines, and watch loud and scary movies.
If you think you may have occasional constipation due to adrenalin issues, look for digestive products that contain ingredients that help you relax and deal with stress. Magnolia bark is one ingredient that has been used in traditionally to help the digestive system relax – and go!