It is time for some potty talk. Literally.
I’m sure we’ve all heard that it is important to have regular bowel movements, but how many of us actually achieve this goal daily? And how many of us have brushed off this age old tip as just another thing we say but rarely do? Unfortunately, way too many. According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Americans spent $1,433,000,000 on laxatives in 2019 alone. Wow. We have a poop problem.
And to make matters worse, the goal of daily bowel movements is not some fluffy ideal. It is the basis of all health because it is one of our first detoxification pathways. It is hard to overemphasize the importance of going daily. The real ideal is not fluffy at all, and it is 3 bowel movements per day (or however many meals you eat per day) with no pebbles, no runny mess, and no straining (hello hemorrhoids!). How did we get so far away from this?
While many places say our food choices are the culprit, that is not the only issue. Yes, our food is a problem. Processed foods have poor nutritional quality and often low fiber content. But fiber isn’t everything. The condition of your bowel is vitally important too. Years and decades of making processed foods a habit leads to weak bowel muscles that are ineffective when it comes to strong peristaltic movements. And years and decades of ineffective bowel movements leads to fecal matter caking the sides of the bowels. Yuck. This hardened waste further impairs the muscle tone in the colon.
Over the counter pharmaceutical laxatives make matters worse. These stimulants further weaken these already struggling muscles. You can only stimulate a weak link for so long before it just stops responding altogether. This is on top of the increasingly scary side effects many of these laxatives come with. Attempting to override the body’s processes while avoiding the underlying problem usually results in a completely new set of issues.
Cleaning out the bowels can be a long and slow process. That is if you are looking for a truly clean colon. It isn’t a problem that was created overnight and it won’t be corrected overnight either. However, with the right dietary and supplemental program, even occasional constipation can be a thing of the past.
Some herbal products can offer some pretty fast relief, and without the long list of side effects. Some herbs can be used as bowel tonics that over time will slowly but surely clean out the hardened fecal matter and breathe new life and tone into the colon muscles. And yes, there are safe herbal options for children as well. (Important note: some herbs are simply bowel stimulants that can act as laxative replacements but do nothing to correct the problem so be sure you know what you are taking. Consultations are available if you would like to discuss further.)
Speaking of kids, I want to note here that as a mother, I find it to be my job to track my children’s bowel habits. Some may find that strange, but it is so important. I make sure they go daily and make sure the consistency is not something to be concerned about. And if they ever have a day where they haven’t had a bowel movement, which has been a very rare occasion in my house for either child, I opt for early intervention because bowel movements are that important. I don’t wait and give it a day. I act the first day. From a parent who has paid close attention to bowel movements from the very beginning, I can tell you that the attitude and behavioral effects of not going to the bathroom daily are astounding.
Truly, cleaning the bowels is the first step to better health. It is vitally important, and it is something we all need to pay better attention to, children and adults a like. So let’s support our bowels and start having better bowel movements today.