Let’s talk about female constipation an simple ways to fix them. Digestion is a key part of general health and significantly affects how we feel, emotionally and physically, on a daily basis. Women often feel embarrassed discussing this topic but the taboo is not helping anyone! Today I want to talk about some common issues women face, and share some simple ways to fix them.
A personal story about constipation…
It was the day after Thanksgiving 2022. I woke up, made coffee and scrolled the online paper. In the health section was “How Can I Soothe My Stomach After Thanksgiving Dinner? A gastroenterologist explains how to manage symptoms like bloating, gas and heartburn during the biggest food holiday of the year.”
I read the article with great interest. It includes 4 good tips on behavior modification to avoid bloating, gas and heartburn, as well as three general scenarios that people face with food and digestion. Issues such as feeling sick after eating a big meal, and when to worry about gastrointestinal symptoms. I realized that:
- I always secretly read articles I find about gastrointestinal issues and constipation because I have suffered from these symptoms and take great care to avoid them
- I actually have a good tip to share that is helping me right now.
The winter holidays are coming up, and all of us are likely to experience some digestive issues. Factors such as our habit of over indulging in food, and changes to bathroom habits while traveling and visiting family all have an impact. So I’m sharing my tip now in hopes we can all have a healthier and more physically comfortable holiday.
Traveling Companion: Constipation
So here is the story that leads to the health tip. I recently took a week long trip to Warsaw, Poland and Prague Czeck Republic (you can see my synagogue and food photos here). Although I enjoyed the trip, I was silently suffering from constipation the entire time. Every day, my panic and discomfort increased. My stomach hurt, I lost my appetite, my sleep was disturbed, I felt tired and it put me in a sour mood. On day five, I succumbed to taking an osmotic type of laxative because I was so physically uncomfortable – But after the 24 hour relief, the constipation returned.
After the temporary laxative relief and then returning disappointment, I wrote to a friend who just got trained in colonic hydrotherapy. She recommended that I order Oxy-Powder pills. While waiting at the airport on the way home, I went online and ordered a bottle with speedy 2-day delivery. Luckily, my friend also lives in Paris and offered to meet me that night to give me two days worth of pills until my Oxy-powder pills arrived.
While I was waiting for her I also had the thought, “This is the closest I will ever come to doing a drug deal.”
Women and constipation
Constipation causes a heavy emotional burden for women, is extremely common and yet rarely discussed. Contributing factors include:
- Not eating enough fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grains)
- Temporary changes in routine
- Lacking time and privacy in the bathroom
- Simply ignoring the urge to go to the bathroom at “inconvenient” moments
These issues affect all women, regardless of whether they have children. At the same time, motherhood compounds these challenges. Caring for young children often leaves little time and energy for taking adequate care of our own needs. And privacy in the bathroom can seem like a luxurious memory!
Physiologically, the menstrual cycle causes fluctuations in bowel movement patterns for many women. We might experience constipation prior to menstruating, and then diarrhea when menstruation begins.
Pelvic floor strength is important for all women, since this group of muscles supports the bladder and womb and is significantly involved in bowel movements. Women who have carried a pregnancy, and particularly those who have given birth vaginally, have heightened risk for pelvic floor dysfunction. Delaying going to the bathroom and repeated straining to pass bowel movements can both further weaken the pelvic floor.
So what are Oxy-powder pills?
They are kosher certified gluten free capsules whose main ingredients are:
- Elemental magnesium
- natural citric acid
- gum acacia
The manufacturer says that these pills work by producing oxygen bubbles which soften and break up hard impacted fecal matter in the digestive tract. The result is a cleansing effect and the relief of an easy bowel movement.
Most of the instructions I could find online for Oxy-powder pills are for completing a colon cleanse – they recommend starting with taking 4 capsules at night with a glass of water. However, as explained here, this is quite a large dose. It’s better to start with just 2 capsules and see how you feel the next day.
Oxy-powder pills should provide pain-free relief from bloating, gas, constipation and straining. It can be taken at a maintenance dose on an on-going basis, or as-needed for occasional constipation.
Warning: always consult professional medical advice before taking supplements, as they are not suitable for everyone and may be harmful to people with certain health conditions.
My experience with Oxy-powder:
Oxy-powder is working well for me. I will never travel without it again! I found it more physically and emotionally comfortable than taking laxatives – I hope to never take another laxative in my life. My personal experience has been that laxatives make me feel icky, like bad weather is gathering in my stomach and turning into a major thunderstorm. Of course the storm brings relief – just like rain makes us feel better after a hot spell – but the after effects of taking laxatives are that I feel physically weak and dehydrated.
By contrast, Oxy-powder gave me a warm sensation in the belly and then smooth transit without any extremes. It feels like it is doing what it says – relieving constipation and cleaning out backed-up stool in the intestines. The benefit is actually feeling more energetic!
Here’s what I did and what happened
- I was a little confused on what dosage to take so I read lots of articles and personal testimonies.
- I took two the first night and it worked just a little bit. I experienced gentle rumbling and gas in my intestines and some relief the following day.
- I took three pills the second night and it worked better!
- After three days of taking three pills of oxy-powder each night, I felt that my constipation was over!
- I reduced it to a maintenance dose – I took two pills every night for one week and then reduced to one pill each night to maintain normal bowel functioning.
Disclaimer: I know that people suffering with disordered eating abuse laxatives and this recommendation is not meant to support that behavior.
Other simple ways to relieve constipation
- Water, water, water. Drink at least two liters per day during cool weather, and increase this to three during warm weather or when experiencing constipation. If you find it difficult to drink water, you can drink hot or cold herbal teas, or add taste to your water with healthy water flavorings.
- Movement! A sedentary lifestyle, for example when you have an office job and little time for exercise, can exacerbate constipation. Any movement at all will help speed things up. Try getting up from your desk every half hour and moving your body, a short walk during your lunch break, or ideally 30 minutes of vigorous movement per day.
- More fiber! We need between 20-25 grams of fiber per day. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains help our body. Here is a great list of fiber rich foods we can incorporate into our daily diet.
- Get a toilet stool to change your body posture from sitting to squatting while going to the bathroom. Most people try to defecate in a sitting posture but squatting – meaning your knees are above your hips is – makes it easier for your body to do its job! Toilet stools are posture changing devices that fit with your toilet so you can be in the best position. Here is a list of most functional toilet stools.
Digestively soothing recipes
Try including these recipes in your meal pattern this week, they are high-fiber and will satisfy your stomach and soothe your gut!