Constipation

Constipation Overview:

Constipation is defined as bowel frequency less than 3 times per week or the need to exert the body more than 25% of the time during defecation. 

 

Aetiology:

  • Inadequate fiber intake
  • Inadequate fluid intake
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • High stress (causing inhibitory effect on autonomic innervation of the colon)
  • Drug intake
  • Poor liver function
 

Special Considerations:

Spastic 

  1. Reduce muscular tension
  2. Carminatives (best long term)
  3. Antispasmodic (best short term)
  4. Reduce stress
  5. NEVER use anthraquinones

 

Atonic/hypotonic

  1. May use anthraquinones but only as last resort for short term use
  2. Ensure adequate fluid intake
 

Therapeutic Aims:

1. Improve Liver Function

  • Choleretics (Silybum marianum, Cynara scolymus)
  • Cholagogues (Silybum marianum, Cynara scolymus)

2. Increase Stool Bulk

  • Laxitives (Bulking)

3. Improve Intestinal Peristalsis

  • Antispasmodics (Zizyphus spinosa, Piper methysticum, Passiflora incarnata)

4. Lifestyle Changes

Depending on what the cause of the constipation was, some lifestyle changes can go a long way in long term maintenance and treatment.

 

Herbs For Constipation:

  • Fringe tree - choleretic/cholagogue
  • Silybum - choleretic, hepatic
  • Taraxicum - choleretic/cholagogue
  • Cynara - choleretic cholagogue
  • Matricaria - spasmolytic
  • cramp bark - spasmolytic
  • Bulking herbs
    • althaea
    • ulmus
    • plantago

Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated: June 2018


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