Okay, ladies. It’s time to have a discussion about about a subject that most of us try to ignore — daily bowel movements and women’s hormone balance. The fact is most of us choose to not pay much attention to the frequency of our bowel movements. When, in fact, a good gauge of how healthy, energetic and even happy we feel can depend on having regular bowel movements. We can all agree that it becomes very difficult to be our best when we’re bloated and constipated or running to the bathroom for another bout of diarrhea.
But first, let’s be real…
For most of us, the stresses of everyday life, a less-than-healthy diet, not drinking enough pure water and ditching the gym has made constipation (experiencing less than one bowel movement per day) our new normal. As women, we should be very concerned about this since frequent constipation can wreak havoc with our hormones, particularly estrogen. This in turn can lead to a multitude of other pesky health concerns such as frequent headaches and acne. Let’s move on to our discussion topic – daily bowel movements and women’s hormone balance.
Constipation can cause wacky hormones
Your liver binds hormones by converting them into their “methylated” forms — converting them from fat-soluble to water-soluble. The bound hormones are then transported into the gut, where they are excreted.
If you are constipated, that excretion is delayed. And if your bowels aren’t moving every day, your estrogen stays around longer than it should and can actually go back into circulation in the body. Long story, short, a daily bowel movement is very important to get your bound estrogen out as well as other toxins.
In addition, gut flora imbalance can lead to a higher production of beta-glucuronidase which is an enzyme that reactivates bound estrogen and other hormones by disconnecting them from their methyl group. When this happens, estrogen, which is no longer water-soluble, gets reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Constipation can worsen this process because the hormone is then sitting in the stool for a longer time period and thus has a greater chance of being separated from the methyl group.
Hormone-related health issues caused by constipation
Over time, frequent constipation can lead to hormone imbalance since the hormone that’s getting recycled into the body is now more toxic than its original form.
Some of the health issues you may notice from an accumulation of estrogen are acne, headaches, PMS, heavy periods, mood swings, breast tenderness, weight gain, memory issues, infertility and even hot flashes. When infrequent waste elimination produces hormone imbalance, your body may try to push some of it out through your skin (the skin is considered your largest organ and is an elimination route for toxins) in the form of acne, rashes, etc. At that point, additional health risks can begin to get serious. There’s potentially an increased risk for estrogen-dependent cancers since the normal excretion process isn’t working as it should.
How to promote healthy bowel movements and women’s hormone balance
Keeping your hormones in balance as well as avoiding the health issues mentioned above can be as easy as making a few dietary and lifestyle changes that promote healthy and regular bowel movements. The term “regular” means experiencing at least one to three bowel movements every day. A healthy bowel movement will not contain mucus, blood, or undigested food. Should you experience any of these, it’s time to schedule a visit with a knowledgeable practitioner.
Below are some suggestions that help to promote healthy bowel movements and happy hormones.
Just about all exercise can help increase your metabolism, which then increases intestinal motility. The key is to get is some exercise every day. Walking and rebounding are easy to perform.
Eat in a parasympathetic state.
When your body is stressed out, anxious, sad or angry, these emotions trigger your sympathetic nervous system, initiating the fight or flight response. When your body is in this state it goes into survival mode and digestion slows way down. However, when we are relaxed, happy and at ease, the parasympathetic nervous system is active; this is the rest and digest state. Being in the rest and digest state allows the enteric nervous system to function optimally and provides better digestion, absorption and elimination.
Ladies, that means no walking and eating or running around the office or kitchen between bites – you know what I mean. Make it a practice to sit down and calm down and eat slowly.
Don’t “put off” the urge
One key to regularity is to promptly move your bowels rather than postponing it until later. Allowing fecal matter to stay in your gut any longer than necessary only contributes to bowel compaction and constipation, and it enables toxins to enter the body and produce disease.
Drink more purified water.
Being dehydrated is a very common reason many women experience constipation. Try to drink half of you body weight in ounces of purified water every day. If you haven’t been doing this, up your water intake slowly. After a while, you will notice that your thirst mechanism will kick-in. You will also notice clearer skin and more energy when your body is properly hydrated.
Consume more fiber.
Upping your intake of non-starchy organic vegetables and fruits can definitely keep your digestive tract moving in a healthy manner. Try for six to nine servings of vegetables daily to hit your fiber quota.
Consider performing a colon cleanse 2-3 times yearly.
A healthy and clean colon is vital in order for your detox pipeline to work efficiently. As we know, your liver is the main detoxifying organ of your body. It works by filtering out and neutralizing toxic drug remnants, hormones and poisons from your blood and then transporting them out of your body through the colon. However, if your colon is sluggish, it’s like flushing a toilet clogged with toilet paper — everything begins to back up. If not remedied, the result is sickness and even disease. In fact, you should never perform other body system cleanses until you clean out your colon so that any toxic material will have a clean path out of your body. I recommend and have used personally and with clients, Oxy-Powder for colon cleansing and in maintenance form to support a healthy colon. Also consider taking a high quality probiotic and prebiotic to create a more beneficial bacterial environment in your colon.
Some of the many benefits of a colon detox protocol include weight loss, more energy, mental clarity, improved digestion, better skin health, and better sleep. When you detox the body with a full body cleanse, you flush toxins out of your body and rejuvenate your systems and organs.
Consider a liver-support supplement.
Supplements that assist with liver function and management of overactive beta-glucuronidase include calcium D-glucarate, diindolylmethane (DIM), indole-3-carbinol, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), alpha-lipoic acid, and glutathione. I suggest considering a herbal liver support formula containing powerful herbs which can help support detoxification and normal function of the liver and gallbladder such as Livatrex.
FYI: Hormone imbalances can also CAUSE constipation
Hormone imbalance can actually cause constipation. One of the most common hormone imbalances that leads to constipation is hypothyroidism. When thyroid hormones are low, it can cause the bowels to become sluggish. Also too little progesterone can cause your colon to slow down. If you experience chronic constipation, it’s time to have a complete sex hormones and thyroid evaluation by a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner.
Frequent constipation is very common in women. In fact, so much so that many women often ignore the body’s signal that something is not right.
No matter its cause, frequent constipation can often be remedied by lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. Some natural supplements can also help. If your frequent constipation becomes chronic, does not respond to at-home treatment, or is accompanied by the symptoms above, please seek out a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner.
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†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.