Oh Pooh! How to Manage Constipation – Guest Blog by Dr. Hillary Dinning

Please welcome Dr. Hillary Dinning to my website today! She’s an intern at the Robert Schad Naturopathic Teaching Clinic and currently does personal training out of Totum Life Science. She’s guest blogging and it’s all about poop! Did you poop today? If not, you better check out how she treats constipation with her patients.


Oh Pooh!Constipation

I would say most humans don’t love talking about bowel movements, am I correct? I mean, generally speaking, bowel movements are similar to Vegas – what goes on in the bathroom, stays in the bathroom.

Naturopaths, on the other hand, want to know everything about them! Bowel movements can tell a lot about a person and their health, especially if they skew far from ‘normal’. Although ‘normal’ is quite different for everyone, what we do know is that when one is constipated, these stools are definitely not the norm and therefore a naturopath can help!

Constipation is defined as bowel movements that do not offer satisfaction or relief and have the following characteristics: stools are infrequent and/or are difficult to pass. If you find yourself straining with every bowel movement, feel like you need to go after having gone, or have stools that are hard and lumpy, it’s safe to say that it’s not the copious amounts of cement that you’ve decided to include in your diet, but that you are, in fact, constipated.

But wait! Don’t sweat it (no pun intended)… Seeing how us naturopaths not only want to hear about your bowel movements, we are also want to help relieve you from the dreaded state of constipation.

Naturopaths use various modalities to do so, which include nutrition, herbal medicines, acupuncture, physical medicine, homeopathy, and lifestyle counseling.

First: HYDRATE! Increasing your water intake to above a couple liters a day may be as simple as it is.

Herbs can be used in the form of teas. A mixture of chamomile and mint are an equivalent to a ‘gentler reminder’ for the bowels to wake up and do their job correctly. Senna tea is more similar to a ‘kick in the pants’ (note: this is only to be used in extreme cases, and not on a frequent basis).

In Chinese medicine, constipation is seen as increased heat in the system, or quite the opposite, too much cold and dampness. Specific acupuncture points are determined based on your individual picture and then needled for a duration of 20 minutes or more.  Depending on the severity and cause of the constipation, relief can be seen in hours to days.

Castor oil rubs on your belly, not only help to eliminate the toxins from your gut, but the gentle act of massaging your stomach in a clockwise motion, may help to stimulate the movement of the stool through your intestines. Side note: before you turn your nose up at the word ‘castor oil’ and call me Mary Poppins, try this, it works…especially on your babies! Make sure to put an old t-shirt or sleeper on as it stains clothing and sheets.

Homeopathy is a form of energetic medicine that is sometimes used acutely to treat constipation. There are over 450 homeopathic remedies used to treat the symptom of constipation. Some common ones are Alumina and Nux vomica.

Quite frankly, relief from constipation can be as simple as asking yourself a few questions – what issue am I holding on to? Why am I not letting it go? Believe it or not, our physical bodies have a way of ‘speaking’ what our mind and emotions are saying.

Woah – what – wait, I never knew constipation could be treated so many ways?! Yup. Its true! Naturopathy aims to treat the root cause of ones problem and does so by applying the treatment that best suits you as an individual. Soon you’ll be good to go…Vegas is calling!


Thanks for the info Hillary! So folks, if one remedy didn’t work for you before don’t give up hope and check out some of the others mentioned or better yet, get individualized advice! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog about “what goes in should come out” – ie. food and poop!

You can reach Dr. Hillary at hillarydinning@gmail.com to book an appointment at the clinic or to set up a personal training session to get those bowels moving!

About Sarah Maughan

Sarah Maughan is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist based in Toronto, ON and has been consulting since 2009. Her website aims to educate you, make you laugh, help you live and inspire you to eat whole food! To stay up to date sign up for free blog and recipe updates! In the meantime, empower your body with food!
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