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10 Natural Remedies To Reduce Constipation

10 Natural Remedies To Reduce Constipation

Have you ever wondered how constipation affects your pelvic floor?

Check out this image on the right.  The more pressure you have pushing downward increases the pressure on the muscles below which are your pelvic floor!

Furthermore, if you’ve had surgery, like a C-section, hysterectomy, or even episiotomy from pregnancy, the weaker the whole structure will be due to scar tissue. Then constipation exacerbates the weakness and may cause leaking and pain down below.

Are you experiencing pain with digestion or leaking? It could be due to constipation.

10 Tips To Reduce Constipation Naturally:

#1 Go Gluten and Dairy Free

Yes, it is difficult! Is it worth it? Yes!
Gluten-containing foods and dairy products can cause constipation due to their inflammatory effects.

Try an elimination diet for three weeks and notice if you feel better.

If so, eliminate these foods from your diet. Keep in mind; Gluten-free doesn’t mean buying more boxed foods! Whole grains like quinoa or rice may ease your digestion.

#2 Eat warm, cooked, foods

Ayurvedic medicine believes, as we get older we need to add warm, cooked foods to our diet because our body becomes dryer.  Consider drinking hot water with lemon in the morning and adding soups to your diet.

#3 Drink 8-9 cups of water a day.

When constipated, drink 2-3 cups of water immediately.  Go for a walk, stretch and wait. Notice what you are drinking during the day, can you add plain, filtered water to your diet.

#4 Try a daily probiotic

Choose a probiotic with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species and take it daily for 1-3 months.

With sever constipation, you can also add a powdered form of probiotic to 1/4 cup of water and have at each meal.

#5 Add supplements.

Magnesium Citrate assists with constipation aids relaxation and supports sugar cravings.  Start with 200mg at bedtime.  Reduce amount if you have diarrhea.

Natural Calm- Filled with magnesium citrate, it works similar to Miralax by pulling water into the intestines. Take before bed to induce relaxation and will lead to a soft BM in the morning.

#6 Take a digestive enzyme

Enzymes assist the chemical breakdown of food into smaller absorbable components. Enzymes called amylases break down starches into sugar molecules; proteases break down proteins into amino acids, and lipases break down fat into its parts. I love Enzymedica!

#7 Take Betaine HCL

Stomach acid is essential for digestion and nutrient assimilation. Having too little stomach acid can cause just as many problems (if not more) than having too much.  Read this article on how to supplement with Betaine HCL and consult your doctor if you have acid reflux or ulcers.

#8 Reduce stress

Often we are eating while we are working or driving or doing something.  Pause, and take a deep breath before each meal to enhance the digestive enzymes in your body.

End your meal with chamomile or peppermint tea to aid the digestive process.

#9 Add Flaxseeds

One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of dietary fiber. You can grind 1 cup for the week and store in the refrigerator.

Take 1-2 Tbs. of ground flaxseed per day to keep bowels regular. Stir the ground flaxseed it into oatmeal, soup, coconut yogurt, smoothies, or any food that you enjoy.

#10 Add Triphala

Triphala is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal formulation made from  Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). Taken at night, Triphala is a gentle supports regular bowel movements and relaxes the nervous system.

Conclusion

When you reduce constipation, you can reduce leaking and heal your abdominal separation.

Do you have pain with digestion? Send me your 3-day diet to receive feedback and suggestions.

xoxoxo
Tara

How I Healed My Abdominal Separation {a.k.a. diastasis recti}

How I Healed My Abdominal Separation {a.k.a. diastasis recti}

What if you could heal your abdominal separation?

OR at least know the best exercises to re-connect to your center again.

You’re probably sick of hearing it by now.

But, it’s not about closing the gap.

That’s a crazy thought, isn’t it?

You see in 2013, I had my twins Mario & Eva and during the postpartum time, I was very confused with the best exercises to heal my core. I taught Pilates for over thirteen years and felt like situps made my stomach pouch out more, not flatten.

Just like you, I was confused.

Should I do sit-ups? Should I skip running? How do I close the gap?

But, that wasn’t the important piece.

What I should have been focussing on is my pelvic floor and core re-connecting, plus a nutrient dense diet to heal the connective tissue and reduce the bloating.

I only had a 1.5 finger separation, but it bothered me. I still looked pregnant. And, my back would go out occasionally while caring for the twins.

So, I’m here to tell you, take a deep breath… it’s not about closing the gap. The important question is, do you need pelvic floor physical therapy?

You see, the pelvic floor {those muscles below the belt} can help restore your core.  You may be holding tension in the muscles from a c-section or a perineal tear, and this tension needs to be released.

You also may be weak in your pelvic floor if you had a vaginal birth.

So, How do you know if you need pelvic floor exercises for your separation?

  • Your back goes out occasionally
  • You feel like you have doming in your abs with sit-ups
  • You have leaking once and a while:)
  • You squeeze your buttocks most of the day
  • You can’t connect to your center at all

My tips & tricks are in this nifty handout for you.  Just add your name + email to get started today!

5 Ways I Healed My Diastasis Recti

#1 Abdominal Pumps

  • #1 Similar to “fire breath” in yoga.  You inhale release your abdominals and then exhale, pull in your core as if snapping it to your back.  Practice this 10-100x daily.
  • #2 Hold your abdominals in and count to three.  Rest and repeat.

#2 Stretching My Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor muscles are BELOW your core.  So, it only makes sense that they are affected when your core is not functioning correctly.  If your pelvis is tilted forward OR back, your pelvic floor has changed.  A diaphragmatic breath will release any tension in your pelvic floor and re-teach your core to let-go of undue stress.

#3 Addressing Gut Imbalances

Due to antibiotic use and the hormones from your baby {or two in my case!}, you may need to address gut healing to shed the pregnancy look.  It’s common to have leaky gut syndrome after birth. {Read 10 signs you have a leaky gut and how to heal it, by Dr. Aviva Romm.  }

Therefore, you may need to remove gluten and dairy for 4-6 weeks and add in some good supplements to repair your gut digestion.  It’s called the 4R approach, as a women’s herbal educator I can walk you through the steps or reach out to a functional medicine doctor for a firm diagnosis.

#4 Watching Alignment

Your rib to hip alignment is extremely important in healing your abdominal separation. Think of sticking your tush out {not squeezing your buttocks} and drawing your ribs over your hips.  This will engage your core and help with a better alignment throughout the day.

#5 Is It Safe To Do Sit-ups With A Separation?

This is a big question! One I suffered with for over three years.

IF you can engage your pelvic floor and transversus {a muscle that flattens your core in the front}, then you can do sit-ups.  Diane Lee has some amazing FREE content for instructors and clients to view.  Check them out here. 

“Training comes before strengthening.”- Diane Lee

So, what are your next steps to heal diastasis recti?

#1 Train your pelvic floor – Check out my online course Pelvic Pow-HER

#2 Activate your transversus with correct core exercises

#3 Seek out a pelvic floor physical therapist

#4 Change your diet for gut healing

Conclusion

It’s not about closing the gap.  When you have a separation you want to learn how to engage your pelvic floor and your core again.  When you have doming, stop the exercise and reassess.

Do you have a separation? Comment below and tell me what you have tried so far.

5 Questions Answered About Your Pelvic Floor

5 Questions Answered About Your Pelvic Floor

Imagine never leaking again when you cough, laugh, sneeze, or jump?

You see, over four years ago I was at my best friends wedding.  My twins were only a year old and it was the first time I was out enjoying myself.  After no sleep the night before, I was drinking and dancing in heels.  Jumping up and down, I felt something.  Did I start my period?

I ran to the bathroom and said this to a friend. She said “nope”, you just peed your pants!?!&% What? It’s not possible, I teach Pilates.  I’m fit.  I”m healthy.

From that point on, I was determined to figure out why this happened.

As you imagine, I’ve since found the answers.

And, the more I talk to mothers of all ages, the more I hear this one complaint. “I’d love not to pee my pants when I cough, laugh, sneeze, or jump.”

You see, I didn’t know it was called leaking.  And I would have never said I have incontinence {that’s for old people!}.  But, the truth is.  Women of all ages need pelvic floor rehabilitation after pregnancy, chemotherapy, hysterectomies, and menopause.

The Most 5 Questions Asked About Pelvic Floor Health

#1 I’m too old to reduce leaking, aren’t I?

You are never too old to heal your body.  It may take time.  It may take effort and many lifestyle changes.  But you can always heal.  Your pelvic floor muscles (found below the belt), can be tight or weak causing you pleasure or pain.  When you engage them properly, you should have less leaking, less back pain, and more freedom in your pelvis and hips.  These muscles can also be too tight, creating tension and leaking.  See a pelvic floor physical therapist for the best diagnoses.

#2 High tone pelvic floor dysfunction.

How do you know if your pelvic floor is too tight or has a high tone? Some women (men too!) can have a tight pelvic floor. If you continue to do Kegels or tighten your pelvic floor, you will continue to have a cycle of pain.  How do you know if it’s too tight?

  • sex is uncomfortable
  • inserting anything inside is uncomfortable
  • you may experience constipation
  • you may have leaking
  • you may have low back, groin, and hip pain

What do you do about it? Stretching and rolling your inner thighs and hips will help.  I teach these exact exercises in my Pelvic Pow-HER program.  Releasing your pelvic floor with the diaphragmatic breathing and rolling your pelvic floor with a soft massage ball.  Plus, you may want to seek out a pelvic floor physical therapist for a complete diagnosis.

#3 How do you know if your pelvic floor is weak?

A weak pelvic floor seems to be more common amongst postpartum women. You may have experience leaking, low back or even knee pain from your weak pelvic floor.

What weakens your pelvic floor?

  • pregnancy
  • menopause
  • surgeries
  • excessive coughing from a cold
  • age
  • obesity
  • heavy lifting/ high-intensity activities
  • constipation

#4 How do I know if the pelvic floor exercises are working?

Clients say they notice a change in the stream of their urine flow.  If you listen carefully, you’ll notice the change.  There is also less urgency, less leaking, and less low back pain.  Your core may feel stronger and your feet feel lighter.

#5 How do botanicals help with leaking?

Postpartum Leaking

The autonomic nervous system controls the bladder and bowel during filling and emptying.  This complex system helps relax the bladder wall when filled, helps the resting tone of the pelvic muscles so they keep the urine inside, and quiets the gut to increase or decrease the speed of elimination.¹

There are many drug therapies to reduce spasms and inflammation in the urinary tract, as well as, reduce anxiety to ease leaking.  There are a number of botanicals that help with these symptoms as well without all the side effects.

As a women’s herbal educator, I work with women to restore their own innate healing with diet, herbs, and lifestyle practices.

xoxo

Tara

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Resources

¹ Hulme, Janet A; Beyon Kegels®

Why Pelvic Pow-HER Is Perfect For Moms

Why Pelvic Pow-HER Is Perfect For Moms

After teaching Pilates & Fitness for over thirteen years, I was shocked when I was unable to heal my body after the birth of my twins, Mario & Eva.

The workout, I knew and loved did not heal my diastasis recti {an abdominal separation} and pelvic floor weakness.

I still looked pregnant seven months after given birth, and I had a bloating that would not stop after one bite of food!

Like you, I had a fear of moving and tightness in my pelvic floor that was

making me fear movement and had me wondering “will this ever get better?”

I just wanted my body back!

I reached out to physiotherapists and physical therapists to learn the best exercises to rehab the postpartum body. I also signed on to become a Women’s Herbal Educator with Dr. Aviva Romm, to discover how to heal postpartum depression, naturally. I had to get to the bottom of why this happens to women and how to heal it.

My experience with teaching was about to come full circle.

My sixteen years of Pilates and Personal training along with my new found information helped design my new online course-Pelvic Pow-HER.

I am a licensed, full-scope midwife with a particular interest in issues of pelvic floor dysfunction. Before referring my own clients, I took Tara’s Pelvic Pow-her class as an exercise in due diligence. I found Tara to be exceptionally knowledgeable, supportive, and positive. The brilliant thing about this course is that she shares so many different tools and techniques. She provides a clear framework so that each student can easily figure out which of these will work best and create an effective, individualized home program that will be perpetually useful. With complete confidence, I recommend this course to anyone who needs to address pelvic floor issues.
-Megan O’Connor, MS, CM, LM, LMT

The Pelvic Pow-HER Postpartum Online Exercise Program will:

  • Heal Diastasis Recti (and learn why closing the gap is not always the goal)
  • Reduce or eliminate incontinence
  • Reduce low-back pain
  • Reduce the fear of moving
  • Release pelvic tension and discomfort
  • Real results with 25-minute workouts!

Diastasis Recti

Close the gap, reduce bloating, and learn the best exercises for your body. Enjoy three, twenty-five-minute rehabilitative exercise routines to tone your core. The Pelvic Pow-HER Masterplan maps out the exact steps you need to take for success.

C-section

Reduce the tension and pain from scar tissue with rolling exercises and a 25-minute stretch routine.

Postpartum Leaking

Diet, botanicals, and exercises can reduce postpartum leaking.  These exercises are essential after having children and during menopause. The Pelvic Pow-HER Masterplan maps out the exact steps you need to take for success.

Episiotomy

Reduce pelvic pain and tension from scar tissue and feel confident moving again.

This workout is reducing pelvic floor tightness, incontinence and closing the gap of diastasis recti in just eight weeks!

Pelvic Pow-HER is a post-rehabilitative exercise routine to tone your body after children. Along with, a nutrient dense diet to heal your connective tissue and aid digestion.

These exercises may seem simple at first, but they will help reduce tension, ease stress and begin the healing process.

One of the biggest questions I get asked is “My kids are older, can I still take the class?” Yes! 

We typically view postpartum as the six weeks after giving birth. But I love the way Innate Traditions describes the postpartum period:

The postpartum time is a time after birth. It can last for 6 weeks, 3 months, 1 year, 7 years or your whole life. Women are postpartum after the birth of a live baby, stillborn, a miscarriage, and an abortion. Postpartum care safeguards a women’s health and wellness for life.

Why Pelvic Pow-HER? Learn how to..

  • Engage your pelvic floor so you have less back pain
  • Stretch your pelvic floor so you have less tension
  • Discover how to reduce leaking with exercise and natural remedies
  • Improve posture to feel younger:)
  • Breathe to reduce unnecessary stress

So the question is, Are you ready to learn the best exercises to heal your core and pelvic floor so you can feel confident moving again? Head over to www.pelvicpowher.com to learn more.xoxo
Tara

6 Exercises For Diastasis Recti {a.k.a. mummy tummy}

6 Exercises For Diastasis Recti {a.k.a. mummy tummy}

Are you a new momma frustrated by the way your stomach looks? You cringe when someone asks you if you’re expecting?

You’ve googled diastasis recti and your pretty sure you have it, but what do you do for it? And more importantly, will it heal?

I’m here to tell you that you can heal your core, but the gap may never close.

Take a deep breath… It’s not necessarily important if you close the gap, it’s essential that you learn how to move, breathe, exercise and engage your body so that you feel strong again and prevent any further problems from happening.

What is diastasis recti?

Diastasis recti (DRA) is not a tear in the muscles, but a stretching of the linea alba; the connective tissue in between the rectus abdominis. The rectus abdominis is the “6-pack muscle” that is made up of two halves.

This superficial stomach muscle {rectus abdominis} has always been separated into right and left halves, but with a diastasis recti diagnosis, it is based on a 2.7 cm distance between the rectus abdominis halves. If your space is less than this and still feels unnatural to you, no worries, you can still benefit and decrease the area with my suggestions below.¹

How to heal diastasis recti

Check out my other blog post; 6 Ways To Fix Diastasis Recti and How To Test For Diastasis Recti

When it comes to diastasis recti, the goal is to learn how to engage your “inner unit” {pelvic floor, diaphragm, abdominals, and low back muscles} so that you don’t see or feel bulging in your abdominals or pelvic floor when you are exercising, running, jumping, coughing or lifting.

Diastasis Recti Workout

Tips & Tricks To Consider when exercising with a diastasis recti

  • If you have a separation sit as often as you can when you are lifting weights
  • Consider wearing a core splint to keep the diastasis recti together
  • Avoid crunches until you know how to engage your transversus {or you may avoid them forever}
  • Avoid planks if they cause you to bulge or dome in your core
  • Choose exercises that help you feel like you are “drawing in” and protecting your core not doming or bulging.

#1 Abdominal Pumps- See video below

Best exercises for diastasis recti from Tara Gregorio Pilates & Wellness on Vimeo.

#2-5 These are safe exercises to do when you have a DR.  As you exhale, draw in your abdominals to feel like you are “closing the gap.”

As always, let me know if you have any questions.

xoxo

Tara

¹ Bowman, Katy; Diastasis Recti; The Whole Body Solution

6 Ways To Fix Diastasis Recti

I pulled up my shirt and peeked in the mirror. Twelve months after birthing twins, I still looked three months pregnant. My six-week postpartum visit with the doctor had not been reassuring. I came in worried about the pressure in my pelvic floor and expanding belly, but she just said, “Everything looks fine.”

I thought I’d feel normal again before too long, but here we were a year later. I was still struggling with toning my core, pelvic pressure, insomnia, and anxiety. I did not feel like myself.

And the worst part was, I felt like I ought to know better. I had been teaching Pilates and fitness classes for thirteen years, and training other instructors in how to teach postnatal clients for almost as long. I knew the mechanics of the pelvic floor and abdominals, but I still had no clue how to heal my postpartum body.

I knew I needed more than Pilates, yoga and strength training, suggested by a friend; I reached out to a physiotherapist Jessie Mundell, creator of Core & Floor Restore. I also signed up for The Prenatal Client with Debbie Goodman, MSPT. They both opened my eyes to postpartum physical therapy.

When I finally became brave enough to touch my stomach, I realized I had a gaping two fingers-width separation. The tissue was soft, and sit-ups and my poor diet made my stomach stick out more. Honestly, I was disgusted and determined to fix it.

What is diastasis recti?

Diastasis recti: A musculoskeletal injury, where the rectus abdominis stretches at the connective tissue, {the linea alba – a collagen cord that runs from the bottom of your sternum to the front of your pelvis} leaving a weakness in your core.

This superficial stomach muscle {rectus abdominis} has always been separated into right and left halves, but with a diastasis recti diagnosis, it is based on a 2.7 cm distance between the rectus abdmonis halves.

If your space is less than this and still feels unnatural to you, no worries, you can still benefit and decrease the area with my suggestions below.

Diastasis recti occur because of undo pressure and poor body alignment.

It wasn’t just about what I saw in the mirror. Repairing my diastasis recti, I knew, would help me stand stronger, tone my core and reduce my bloating. Here’s how I did it — and how you can too.

 

How to heal diastasis recti

1. Support Your Core

I began wearing a diastasis rehab splint, which is like a big Ace bandage for your tummy. (Here’s the one I used, from the Tupler Technique.) A friend suggested it to me, and although it can be uncomfortable, it supported my core and reminded me to draw in my abdominals when I was caring for the twins and jumping out of bed when they cried in the middle of the night.

I wore it day and night for six weeks. Keep in mind>>> The splint does not replace the necessary exercises you need to do to heal your connective tissue, but it helps bring support when you are caring for your family. 

2. Roll Over.

The brace helps to close the gap between your abdominal muscles, but it also made me more mindful of how I moved — especially how I got out of bed. For most of that first year, the cries of my babies startled me so much that I jack-knifed myself up and out of bed when they needed me. But that movement pushes your core out, which can weaken your pelvic floor and make diastasis rectus worse.

With the brace on, I began rolling to one side and gently pushing myself up. This movement protects your core because you are not putting undue pressure on your rectus abdominus, which is already weakened due to the separation. This rolling to the side is how I recommend all moms get out of bed and off the floor. Forever.

3. Alignment- Untuck Your Tush

I first noticed I was gripping my tush when I was doing dishes for hours on end. The pain was excruciating; I now know the piriformis tightens to support a weakened pelvic floor. By rolling the piriformis with the Franklin Massage balls, I was able to release the hip tension I was experiencing and reduce my pain.

Lots of moms tuck or squeeze their glute muscles when they hold their kids; you might not even realize you do it but pay attention the next time you pick up a little one. Tucking the glutes brings your pelvis into a posterior tilt, which tightens your hip muscles and weakens your pelvic floor. This posture is very common with diastasis recti.

Try to release your tush muscles and draw your ribs over your hips when standing. Use a massage ball to loosen the piriformis, so the pelvic floor muscles can do their job of supporting your core and pelvic floor. This rolling is a great thing to do when you’re watching TV in the evening — you’ll release all the tension that builds up in those muscles when you’re chasing after kids all day long. See how here. 

4. Engage Your Pelvic Floor

I’ve taught pelvic floor engagement for over thirteen years, but what I didn’t realize is how vital the pelvic area is and how important it is to lengthen and strengthen your pelvic floor with many different types of contractions.

Your pelvic floor, an intricate web of over twenty-two muscles supporting your internal organs and your low back and is the foundation of a healthy core. It’s important to strengthen it when healing Diastasis recti because the pelvic floor brings your pelvis into better pelvic alignment, reducing the tension placed on the linea alba.

How do you engage your pelvic floor? {Listen to this audio}

A student once said; “It’s like closing both exits.” Lift and squeeze the pelvic muscles surrounding the vaginal and anal opening; It’s a figure 8 shape, and you should feel a tightening from front to back. Contract the pelvic floor 10x quick {known as quick flicks} and then lift and hold the pelvic floor for a count of 10. Repeat daily.

5. Skip the Sit-Ups

Whenever I did crunches in the first year after my twins were born, I noticed my ab muscles bulging out instead of curling in — the exact opposite of what I wanted them to do! Crunches and sit-ups place too much pressure on your core and pelvic floor muscles when they are weak. This undo stress, causes poor posture when your standing and sitting for long periods of time.

This poor alignment is the reason diastasis recti occurred in the first place.

Each pregnancy is different and your recovery can be different from everyone else.  When you can engage your pelvic floor and transversus, you may be able to do crunches and planks again!

6. Diet and diastasis recti

Barely sleeping for two years and living on Guinness for dinner was not one of my best moments in life. The sleep deprivation led to a poor diet and had me reaching for coffee and sweets throughout the day for energy.

I was practicing the right exercises, but my stomach was still bloated, and digestion was slow. A healthy gut and easy digestion are imperative to healing the linea alba, and constipation creates increased pressure in the abdomen, weakening this area causing a “pooching” of the core.

Eliminating inflammatory foods like gluten, alcohol, and dairy can help to speed the recovery by reducing inflammation and easing digestion. Whool-foods, healthy proteins and lots of water, along with a daily multi-vitamin and a probiotic can help repair digestive dysfunction from childbirth.

“The diastasis recti is just a symptom- a sign of poor mechanical nutrition.” -Katy Bowen

My twins are five years old now, and while I still have a slight separation of my abdominal muscles, the connective tissue is healthy, and I no longer have pressure in my pelvic floor or core.

Conclusion

These six steps; supporting your core, rolling over, untuck your tush, engage your pelvic floor, skip sit-ups and diet can help close the gap and help you gain valuable inner strength to last a lifetime!

Have questions? Comment below. 

Warmly, Tara

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