Bowel motions and Detox: 10 tips to stimulate bowel movements
What is constipation?
Constipation is usually defined as having fewer than 3 bowel motions in a week. Constipation may also present as bowel movements that are tough or difficult to pass, a feeling of incomplete evacuation, and/or straining to pass a movement (1).
However, it is important to note that constipation is different for everyone; the normal length of time between bowel movements varies widely from person to person. Someone who usually passes two healthy bowel motions a day may be constipated if they pass a motion every second day (2). It is ideal to not go longer than 3 or more days without passing stool, as faeces become harder and more difficult to pass after this point (2). Although constipation isn’t usually serious, people feel much better when their body is back on track!
Why does constipation happen on detox?
There are a number of reasons a person may experience constipation, and, particularly on a detox, it can be quite common to pass less frequent bowel motions. Some of the key reasons include:
Smaller volume of food intake:
During this process, the smaller volume of food is often not enough to properly form into full stools. Our digestive tracts have ‘stretch receptors’ that must be triggered in order to stimulate deification (13). This requires a sufficient volume of food, which takes longer to build up while on detox, resulting in less frequent motions.
Consuming different types of food:
Changes to food intake is another factor on detox that may lead to less frequent bowel motions. Even if the change is towards a more wholesome diet, any significant shifts can lead to alterations in our gut microbiome (bacteria), which are largely responsible for controlling our bowel motions. This factor tends to dissipate over the course of days to weeks as the body readjusts and begins to thrive off the nutritions food included in our Slim By Nature Detoxes.
Lower water intake:
We know what you’re probably thinking: ‘But I’ve been drinking 2-4L of water every day!’. While that may be true (great work by the way), since all food contains water, the reduced food on a detox intake also means we are intaking less water. If we do not intake sufficient water, our bodies tend to absorb water from our stool, making it more difficult to pass.
10 Tips to stimulate bowel movements:
Although it is quite normal for bowel motions to be less frequent while participating in a detox, it’s still important to ensure we are clearing waste from the body. Plus, most people feel a big sense of relief when their bowel motions go back to normal! Below are 10 tips you can implement to help the process:
Try our Slim By Nature 123TeaTox! Each of our perfectly crafted teas have been specially created to manifest health in your life. Our all-natural, organic, herbal blends are tailored to target three key areas of your body; your liver, your adipose tissue, and your colon. Each mug of happiness is Intricately blended to bring love and care into your body!
Teas 1 and 3 are most specific for aiding constipation: We recommend drinking ‘Liver Cleanse Tea 1‘ before meals (about 20 minutes before/after your drops) to help stimulate digestion. This blend is packed with healing antioxidants, phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory properties! Our Liver Cleanse tea contains natural herbal remedies that work to stimulate digestive secretions, cultivate energy and stamina, promote the elimination of toxins from the body, and purify the blood and skin!
Our ‘Colon Cleanse Tea 3‘ is designed as a nightcap to eliminate hazardous toxins and waste from your colon walls, clear inflammatory factors from the wall of the digestive tract, improve digestion, enhance circulation, promote fat burning and weight loss, and soothe the wall of your digestive tract, all while you sleep! This tea may also be consumed throughout the day to promote the same benefits.
Our deliciously sweet and warming ‘Fat Burning Tea 2’ may be of additional support as the perfect pick-me-up or craving satisfyer at any time of the day! This targeted combination of organically sourced herbal ingredients is also designed to increase fat burning, enhance weight loss, and support digestion by soothing the lining of the stomach, facilitating digestive secretions and reducing gas and bloating!
Mix 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar, 1tbsp lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper in warm water and drink about 20 minutes before your main meals. This helps to stimulate bile release which acts as a natural lubricant for stool (3).
Remove dairy and gluten
-If you are currently eating dairy or gluten, try removing them from your diet (at least until your bowel motions become regular again). These may negatively alter the gut microbiome and cause the digestive system to draw water out of the stool, making it difficult to pass a motion and causing constipation (4)(5).
Add in some impact exercise: Try jogging, skipping, or even bouncing on a trampoline if you have access to one (6)! This helps to stimulate peristalsis; the wave-like muscle contractions that occur in our digestive tract to help push stool out (7).
Sometimes our bodies may be under stress even when we don’t feel acutely stressed. This can put us into Sympathetic dominance aka ‘fight or flight mode’, which is not efficient for digestive function. Ideally, we want to be in the opposing Parasympathetic aka ‘rest and digest’ mode for our blood to digest and pass stool efficiently (9). Try some deep belly breathing, exercise, yoga, massage, nature immersion, journalling or a calming tea to help bring your nervous system back into balance.
Chew your food
Focus on chewing your food until it is basically a liquid before you swallow. The smaller we chew our food, the less strain there is on the rest of the digestive system to break it down. Chewing also produces significantly more saliva which then stimulates digestive secretions in the stomach and bile from the liver to help digest food and lubricate an easier pathway for stool to pass (10).
Add bulk to your stool with Psyllium
Psyllium is a natural, high fibre plant ingredient that is widely used as treatment for constipation. Psyllium adds bulk to stools by trapping water in the intestine, and therefore increasing stool water. This is particularly helpful during a detox to add volume to stools to compensate for the lower volume of food intake that is therefore unavailable to form healthy stools. Psyllium has also been shown to positively alter the colonic microbiome environment (11). We recommend mixing 10g of psyllium in water before bed, or throughout the day for a stronger effect. Make sure you also drink plenty of water!
Peristalsis, the wave-like muscle contractions responsible for bowel movements, is predominantly controlled by the neurotransmitter serotonin, also known as our ‘Happy hormone’ (12). It is estimated that 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut where it is then used to stimulate positive moods, regulate the immune system and stimulate healthy digestion and bowel motions (13). When digested food (Chyme or stool) puts pressure on the gut wall, enterochromaffin cells (cells located in the epithelial layer of the entire gastrointestinal tract) are stimulated to release serotonin, which then stimulated the release of other neurotransmitters responsible for peristalsis: acetylcholine causes muscle contraction and nitric oxide causes muscle relaxation, resulting in the movement of stool forward also known as peristalsis (12). Therefore, cultivating more happiness and joy in your life is likely to promote healthy bowel motions! This may involve seeing friends and family more regularly, exercising, playing team sports, spending time outside, participating in hobbies, reading a book, journaling, doing crafts (painting, sewing, crochet, woodwork), gardening, or whatever else helps you to cultivate happiness!
Try squatting to pass a bowel motion! Squatting (either before we sit on the toilet to promote movement, or while on the toilet) helps to optimise the angle of the anal sphincter can help to release pressure and allow a bowel movement to pass more easily (8). For a visual representation, see the diagram provided in this link.
A number of natural herbal remedies have been designed to assist with promoting health bowel motions; many of which are available at health food stores or pharmacies (off the shelf or over the counter). Each product works in a slightly different way, therefore, they will benefit everyone slightly differently. To help provide some extra assistance when it comes to waste removal, we recommend utilising only one of the following remedies at a time. Always follow the product instructions or the advice of your health care professional for the correct dosage. Some products to look out for include:
- Henry Blooms Herb-a-Lax
- Carusos Quick Cleanse Bowel Clear
- GO Healthy Laxative+Aloe
Although the nature of a detox program lends itself to less frequent bowel motions in some individuals, it is important to promote movement in order to remove toxins and to feel that sense of relief and normality! Try one of our many natural tips to help get yourself regular again!