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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

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 How do you know if your pelvic floor is too tight?

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®

The 5 Steps To Reduce Leaking

The 5 Steps To Reduce Leaking

What if you could reduce leaking? How would your life change?

Postpartum leaking can cause much embarrassment and frustration in a busy momma. And although you may have leaking, I”m here to tell you it’s O.K. And it could change.

⇒What you want to learn is which activities increase your leaking and which ones do not.

You are unique and your strength is different than anyone else. When you find the activities that increase your leaking, avoid them for now.  Work on the correct muscles and relaxation techniques and then try that activity again at a later date.  With time, you will build strength.

Keep in mind, there are many unavoidable activities you may experience, such as coughing or holding your breath that will increase your risk of leaking. 

I know the feeling, so let’s be honest for a minute.

When does your leaking occur? Is it during running? Do you leak when you yell at your kids? or does it happen when you get fatigued?

This all can change.  We need to re-train your body for the event in which leaking occurs.

Running & Leaking

You’re going for a run and all of a sudden you feel it, you’re leaking again.  You can’t believe it.  But wait one moment.  What was happening in your run to cause the leaking?

Does it happen just when you reach the hill?

Did you think of something that caused you to stress?

Did your pelvic floor fatigue and you’re tired?

These are all reasons why you may experiencing leaking.

Your pelvic floor, the muscles that hold up your bladder, are part of a pressure system that runs from your the top of your mouth to your pelvis called your intra-abdominal pressure (IAP).

When one part of this system is compromised, say in childbirth when your pelvic floor may weaken, then the whole system is affected.

Women who have had a C-section, large tears and episiotomies have in an increasing pressure because the pressure system has been cut into.  Therefore, you may need more breath training then a friend who did not have these experiences. ¹

Similar, when you cough in excess, sneeze, run, or jump you increase the pressure and when the muscles are not activating correctly, the pressure moves out of the system; as in leaking.

Here are some reasons you may be experiencing leaking

  • your pelvic floor muscles are weak/long
  • your pelvic floor muscles are short
  • caffeine and your diet may be causing inflammation and constipation
  • you may be in a high-stress response all day long
  • you may have had surgery that has compromised your pelvic floor/bladder area {C-section, episiotomy, or a large tear}
  • your exercise routine may be too intense for you right now
  • you’re overweight and it’s too much pressure downward
  • you have a forward head
  • your upper back is stiff
  • you’ve had a cold and have coughed for days
  • your sleep
  • your posture is poor
  • you are carrying two kids and groceries all at once!

Movements that increase your IAP and may cause leaking²

From most pressure to least.

  • Seated holding your breath
  • Coughing
  • Lying down holding your breath
  • Jumping

Also, can you carry heavy things differently? Carrying stuff on your back {like your baby or a backpack} have been proven to reduce the amount of pressure you experience through your pelvic floor. ²

But, maybe it’s not the pressure we need to blame, but the effectiveness of your abdominals and pelvic floor to activate during these times of pressure.

You may be able to overcome leaking with a well-rounded wellness plan.

Try these 5 Steps to Reduce Leaking

#1 Reduce Constipation

  • The pressure of constipation {and even excessive coughing} weakens the pelvic floor and decreases its ability to hold in urine. Try these tips to reduce constipation.
    • Increase your daily water consumption – up to 8 Glasses/day
    • Avoid caffeinated beverages (as they can lead to dehydration)
    • Increase adequate dietary fiber – 20-35g/day (i.e., fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans)
    • Minimizing consumption of constipating foods (like ice cream, meats, cheese and high-fat foods)
    • Walk 30 minutes a day
    • Use the bathroom at the first urge to eliminate
    • Use the toilet at a consistent time every day
    • Try Hara massage; massage your abdominals in a clockwise direction (this can be hard after the first couple of months)
    • Add Flaxseed to your diet: Grind a cup of flaxseed and store in the refrigerator. 
      • Take 1 tbs. of ground flaxseed and add to your food daily.

#2 Engage & Stretch Your Pelvic Floor

In a woman’s body, the pelvic floor muscles surround the urethra, vaginal opening, and anus. In addition to keeping the pelvic organs in place and the pelvic bones stable, the pelvic floor muscles are also responsible for:

  • The pleasurable muscle contractions felt in the genitals during orgasm. Orgasms feel bigger and stronger when the pelvic floor muscles are strong.
  • Comfortable vaginal penetration. The flexibility of the pelvic floor muscles is important for comfortable penetration.
  • Keeping urine inside the bladder at moments of unexpected belly pressure (laughing, coughing, lifting, sneezing, jumping).
  • Keeping stool inside the rectum until you consciously relax your pelvic floor to allow it to pass.

Download the FREEBIE to learn how to stretch and strengthen your pelvic floor.

#3 Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is a deeper breath with increased coastal expansion and it allows the abdominals to relax.  Think of breathing side by side like a bellow.  It regulates the pressure in the abdominal cavity and releases tension and tightness in the pelvic floor. 

Women say they feel tense or tight in their core and pelvic floor when they have incontinence. The diaphragmatic breathing releases this tension.

To do:

  1. Begin by sitting on a hard chair or bench and pull your “flesh away” so you feel your sitz bones.  If you are on the floor sit high on blocks or a firm cushion.
  2. Inhale-Envision the diaphragm moving downward, the abdomen contents are displaced outwards and the pelvic floor bulges slightly.
  3. Practice 3 ways: put both hands on your ribs and breathe into your hands 3-4x, place hands on your belly and allow it to push into your hands 3-4x, and last place hands on your collarbone and feel your breathe rise above your heart.

#4 Reduce Your Stress

As your bladder fills up it sends nerve messages to the brain to tell it when to empty your bladder.  When we “go to the bathroom, just in case”, we are actually decreasing the size of urine our bladder can hold therefore making the problem worse.  By relaxing your nervous system, you can change the response your brain triggers when your bladder is full.

Reducing stress is a multi-dimensional healing process.  Some steps you can take today are:

  • Incorporate meditation as often as possible to change your stress response
  • Drink caffeine-free teas
  • Add adaptogens to your diet
  • Exercise daily
  • Journal

#5 Try Homeopathy

Homeopathy is safe, gentle and affordable and can be used with children and adults alike.  The key to homeopathy is finding the right remedy for your specific symptoms. The theory “like cures like” implies you are seeking the specific remedy for your unique symptoms.   Read about the remedies here.

In conclusion

Breath holding, constipation, and your stress response increase your risk of leaking.  Notice when you do leak, {Is it when you yell at your kids? Is it when you are tired or carrying too many groceries up the steps?} and can you change that event to reduce the amount of leaking you experience.

Do you have any questions about leaking? Comment below or send me an email [email protected]

xoxo

Tara


References

¹ Clint, Susan; The Whole Body Connect

² IAP with Functional Activities. Egger, et al. Reproducibility of Intra Abdominal Pressure Measured During Physical Activities Via a Wireless Vaginal Transducer. Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg 2015;00: 1

²  Lift and carry conditions; Int Urogynecol J (2015)

 

6 Signs Of Early Incontinence And How To Fix It

6 Signs Of Early Incontinence And How To Fix It

What if you never had to worry about accidentally leaking?

What if you never had to wear a pantyliner again?

Incontinence is a devastating occurrence happening to women all over the world.  Often, you deal with it silently, suffering alone not knowing there is something you can do about it.

I work with women postpartum {and beyond} and they are experiencing a reduction in leaking because of pelvic floor exercises, a gluten-free diet, and relaxation techniques.

Your leaking can change and possibly stop altogether with a few lifestyle changes.

So, let’s explore…

 

What are the early signs of Incontinence?

  1. Leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, run, exercise, step or jump- at any age.
  2. Not being able to hold in urine in for two hours.
  3. The flow of your urine seems different, choppy.
  4. Dribbling
  5. Uncontrollable gas and urges to go
  6. Unable to sleep through the night seven hours without toileting {During pregnancy and after 65 years of age it is normal to get up once or twice a night.}

What is ‘normal’ bladder function?²

  • Toileting every 2-4 hrs
  • Awareness of the need to toilet 2-4 hrs
  • A robust and continuous flow of urine for 10-20 seconds in duration
  • Urine is light yellow color without a strong odor
  • Easy initiation and automatic completion without dribbling
  • The absence of any leakage with physical activities, coughing, sneezing, bending, lifting, exercises, getting up from sitting and reclining.
  • The absence of frequent, uncontrollable urges to go.
  • Sleeping through the night; 7-8 hours without toileting.

What is the difference between stress and urge incontinence?

Stress Incontinence

Stress Incontinence is leaking caused by increased intra-abdominal pressure, such as while coughing, sneezing, heavy lifting, running or jumping.  The leak is usually a small amount of urine.  (Multiple leaks increase the total loss of urine.)

Urge Incontinence

Urge Incontinence is leaking in connection with a sudden uncontrollable need to toilet.  A relatively large amount of urine is lost, without control.  Urge incontinence may occur with running water, stepping into a shower or going out into cold weather.

Also, You can also have a combination of the two.

Why does incontinence happen in women?

  • Physical tears or trauma during childbirth
  • Excessive jumping, running or lifting weights with a weak pelvic floor
  • Surgical repairs
  • Excessive constipation or diarrhea
  • Pelvic muscle dysfunction
  • Stress
  • Food irritants like coffee or gluten
  • Imbalance of the autonomic nervous system
  • Special populations; vulvodynia, interstitial cystitis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, pregnancy and menopause

Therefore if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, know that they can change.  A change of diet, exercise and practicing relaxation techniques can work wonders.

 

How to “fix” incontinence?

  • Add Diaphragmatic breathing

Not only will the diaphragm help stretch the pelvic floor but it also relaxes your nervous system.  As you inhale, release your abdominal area and notice if you are holding any tension.  Exhale, relax your jaw, relax your shoulders.  Practice 4-5 breaths every hour if you have an overactive bladder or pelvic pain.  Practice 3-4x day if you experience stress incontinence or constipation.

  • Stretch your pelvic floor

Your pelvic floor may be too tight or hypertonic.  By stretching your pelvic floor you release the tension and allow the pelvic floor muscles to hold your bladder up when it is full.  In this audio, I bring you through how to stretch your pelvic floor.  (Listen to the audio) You want to practice this 30-40 breaths each hour or at least 3x/day with incontinence.

  • Engage your pelvic floor.

After you learn how to stretch your pelvic floor, you want to learn how to strengthen it.  More than just kegals, your pelvic floor can contract in many different directions!

  • Try an elimination diet to uncover any foods that are irritating you.  Especially coffee, gluten, dairy, alcohol, chocolate and tomato products may irritate the urinary tract. 
  • Pause your running and jumping activities until your incontinence improves and you have greater control over your pelvic floor.
  • Relax your nervous system with meditation, positive mantras, botanicals {specifically adaptogens},  yoga or walking.
  • Reduce constipation with fresh pears, peaches, plums, melons, berries and citrus fruit. Constipation puts an excessive amount of pressure on your pelvic floor, especially as we get older. If constipation is a problem, consider adding digestive enzymes, HCl or a probiotic daily and possibly with each meal.  See the 4R Approach for more details.
  • Add fresh ginger tea and peppermint tea to aid digestion.
  • Seek out a pelvic floor physical therapist.  DR. ASHLEY HOCUTT PT, DPT is a local practitioner helping women reduce incontinence.
  • Try homeopathy. Homeopathy is based on your own personal symptoms and requires an experienced homeopath to guide you.  Read more here.

In addition to these tips, ask yourself  “Why is this happening?” Are you doing too much?

Know that you can heal, you do not have to live life with incontinence.

xoxoxo Tara

Sign up for your FREE Cheatsheet below to learn the exercises to stop incontinence.


References:

¹Rempfer-Kuncio, Mandy’ Pelvic Floor: Function, Dysfunction, and Exercise (Postnatal fitness Specialist Academy)

²References: Hulme, Janet A.; Beyond Kegals®; Phoenix core solutions

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