Troubleshooting Your Digestive Issues: Specific Recommendations for Constipation & Diarrhea (part 3)

Admin Digestion 13 Comments

In Part 1 of Troubleshooting Your Digestive Issues, I covered some signs and symptoms (diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, etc.), potential causes of disrupted digestion, and why it’s important to address these issues right away – most notably, to calm systemic inflammation.

In Part 2, I detailed a top down approach to Improving digestion function. Following those recommendations alone will take your far along the path to healthy digestion.

Now, in Part 3, I'll provide some addition tips that are specific for easing both constipation and diarrhea.

Specific recommendations for constipation-

  • poop3All the recommendation from Troubleshooting Your Digestive Issues Part 2 – Improving digestion function plus…
  • Fat intake – are you consuming enough? Bile, as addressed in Part 2 of this series, helps remove toxins from your body via elimination through the intestines. You need enough to keep things moving! Try adding a little more in each meal to see if it makes a difference.
  • Don’t hold it! Listen to your body. When the urge to poop comes, find a bathroom-waiting too long can cause water, including toxins and hormones that were meant to be eliminated, to be reabsorbed back into your body, as well as causing dry, hard stools.
  • Movement – walking and yoga can help get things moving!
  • walkingEpsom salt baths – 2 cups in water for 20 minutes (water should be hot enough that it is still enjoyable and doesn’t burn your skin). Rinse in the shower and end with a shot of cold water. This is a natural detoxification trick and will increase blood flow.
  • Magnesium Natural Calm magnesium powder mixed with warm water before bed (start with ½ tsp. and increase each night to 2 tsp. or until you have lose bowls in the morning). Note: you may not want to take this if you are taking an Epsom salt bath too, or you may need to experiment (maybe reduce the amount used in both your bath and in your magnesium drink).
  • Address your iron and calcium supplementation with a practitioner (if you are taking either or both-they can cause constipation). Typically, the top down approach addressing stomach acid will go a long way in helping you absorb both calcium and iron. Most people get enough dietary calcium, they are often missing the co-factors needed to absorb it. Please read my post on non-dairy forms of calcium as well as Liz Wolfe’s calcium without dairy post.
  • fruitFiber – this one is tricky, lack of fiber does not typically cause constipation but sometimes fiber can either help or hinder elimination. Often times, too much fiber can be more menacing than helpful. While trying to heal, stick with easy to digest and well cooked vegetables such as peeled zucchini, other summer and winter squashes, and even fermented veggies rather than big raw salads or stir fry mixes.
  • Elimination position – to get things moving more efficiently, and thoroughly, get a stool to elevate your legs so that you are in a more squatting position- straightening your colon (see this article on How to Poop Better by Paul Chek).  You can use a stool you already have or try this popular one that hugs your toilet when not in use demonstrate here by Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness Poopn’ 2.2: The Squatty Potty
  • Thyroid support – add iodine-rich foods such as nori seaweed paper, kelp, dulse, or other seafood if you are not sensitive to them. You can season food with kelp granules and make yummy nori paper roll-ups with coconut oil and almond butter. Seek out a holistic practitioner that can help you with more specific recommendations and support.

Specific recommendations for diarrhea – a sign that your body wants whatever you put into it-out fast! It’s important to do some detective work to determine why:

  • Improving digestion function from Troubleshooting Your Digestive Issues Part 2 plus…
  • The top down approach (as detailed in Part 2 of this series) is important to ensure sufficient HCL is killing potential pathogens and your food is being properly broken down and the nutrients assimilated.
  • nutsFat – Perhaps you need to adjust your fat intake (less) until a potentially sluggish gallbladder can keep up. You may need to start coconut oil slowly and build up, as it is a natural anti-microbial and may trigger a temporary die-off reaction.
  • Take a serious looks at potential food triggers as addressed Part 2. Some common triggers are too many nuts, too much fiber, too much sugar, and too much fruit. Another common problem is accidental exposure to gluten and dairy. Artificial sweeteners are often a culprit too.
  • Be sure to stay well hydrated and most definitely make sure you consume bone broth daily with unrefined sea salt daily.
  • Address magnesium and/or Vitamin C supplements (too much can cause diarrhea)

Disrupted digestion can be frustrating and tricky to deal with. Everyone is a little different so individual tweaking and patience is required. Some adjustment is normal at the beginning of a new diet, however, don’t wait until things get out of control before you find a holistic practitioner who can help you get back on track, especially if you think you are dealing with a thyroid conditions, leaky gut, dysbiosis, candida, SIBO or IBS. Also, don’t forget, there is much more information in Practical Paleo!

Parts in this Series:

Part 1: Signs & Symptoms of Digestive Upset

Part 2: How to Improve Overall Digestion Function

Part 3: Specific Recommendations for Constipation & Diarrhea

Part 4: Tips for Common Digestive Issues in Pregnancy

rule

I've addressed various digestive issues, troubleshooting ideas, and possible solutions at-length in many podcast episodes:

  • Podcast Episode #8: With guest Chris Kresser on digestion
    #1 Digestive function – normal and abnormal, signs and symptoms
    #2 FODMAPs
    #3 Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
    #4 Gut pathogens
    #5 Maintaining healthy gut flora
    #6 The best nutritional approaches for gut healing
  • Podcast Episode #38: All About Poop
    #1 : From backed up to too loose. [4:09] #2: Child with excessively loose stools daily. [16:12] #3: Messy eliminations. [29:15] #4: HCl supplements, mucus and hard stool. [38:18] #5: Trouble going  and a stressful life [44:06]
  • Podcast Episode #91: All things digestion
    #1. A link between menstrual periods and constipation?
    #2. Chronic Constipation
    #3. Stressing about not going often enough
    #4. Stomach pains and bathroom use even though I haven’t eaten all day!
    #5. Multiple issues – digestion related?
    #6. No regular BM’s ever!

Comments 13

  1. I wish this was written 3 years ago. Great job! This will be very helpful for anyone seeking to resolve their digestive issues.

  2. You’re amazing, girl <3 thanks for sharing all of your knowledge. You're blog is definitely my favourite. I read your posts over and over <3

  3. You’re amazing, girl <3 thanks for sharing all of your knowledge. You're blog is definitely my favourite. I read your posts over and over <3

  4. Wow…Really it’s an amazing, thank you so much the author Diane Sanfilippo. She had gone through each and every corner of diet. Here I didn’t get one thing, i.e, how high fiber intake is harmful to our body? As per my knowledge there are no issues with high fiber intake with plenty of water.
    Anybody please let me know regarding these fiber issues.

    1. If it feels good for you, there aren’t issues. If your digestion isn’t feeling great, it can be quite irritating to eat a lot of insoluble fiber- it’s fiber that you don’t digest and it will irritate your colon on the way out versus just sweep calmly through. Often people with diverticulitis are told to avoid these foods -by that time, in my opinion, it’s sorta too late — it should be something people know about before it gets that far.

      1. Thank you so much for your concern; to eliminate these issues how many grams of fiber is needed to take. How to know whether we are consuming healthy levels of fiber or excess fiber, is there any calculation to count the fiber intake levels. In general how many grams of fiber a healthy person should consume.

        1. Hello Cytheria…….. Here I am giving the fiber intake according to their age.
          Men below 50 yrs have to consume 38 grams of
          fiber and above 50 yrs, 30 grams of fiber per day. Women below 50 yrs have to consume 25 grams of fiber and above 50 yrs, 21 grams of fiber per day.

          The people who are consuming less amount of fiber as per their age, they may get colon problems like bloating, constipation, fatigue and IBS.

          Eating more plant foods like vegetables, beans, fruit, whole grains, nuts ettuce, dark leafy greens, broccoli, okra, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, potatoes, corn, snap beans, asparagus, cabbage, whole wheat pasta, popcorn, nuts, raisins, pears, strawberries, oranges, bananas, blueberries, mangoes, and apples provide you all the health benefits.

          1. Note that some older folks, like my grandmother, can’t eat foods like nuts, beans, corn, grains, and leafy greens due to long-term abuse of refined foods and grain products leading to diveritculitis.

          2. Yeah you are right, old folks can’t eat nuts, some fruits
            and beans. As I mentioned that the intake of fiber for the people who are above 50 years is low compared to below 50 years. So they can take the fiber in the form of juices. If they take liquid food it will very easy to digest and mean
            while they will maintain the fiber levels in the diet.

          3. Hello Daisayrose, thanks to your info; really it’s worthy. As a vegetarian I like to consume apples, bananas, popcorn and green leafy vegetables. I try to consume rest of the foods also which you have suggested.
            Thank you.

  5. Thanks for sharing valuable information and it is helpful for many people who are looking for colon health information. Most of the people don’t know how to troubleshoot digestive issues, improving digestion function and recommendations like what type of food need to follow. Here they can get the clear picture about this. I hope it can helpful for many people.

  6. Thanks Diane Sanfilippo for sharing Insightful healthy
    informative article about digestive issues. And thanks CytheriaUrs for your
    question even I to don’t know about consuming fiber can harm or not and thanks balanced bites for you answer I read new healthy information about fiber. Honestly when I read comments it looks like for me dietary expert’s conversions. Daisay Rose explained briefly about intake fiber according to age and sex. Thanks really it’s useful for me

  7. Thanks Diane Sanfilippo for sharing Insightful healthy
    informative article about digestive issues. And thanks CytheriaUrs for your
    question even I to don’t know about consuming fiber can harm or not and thanks balanced bites for you answer I read new healthy information about fiber. Honestly when I read comments it looks like for me dietary expert’s conversions. Daisay Rose explained briefly about intake fiber according to age and sex. Thanks really it’s useful for me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *