Happy Hormones and Pooping: Is There a Connection?
I know, I know...we're actually talking about poop this week. If you can get past that little detail for just a moment, I promise you won't regret reading this because, guess what? Everyone poops and pooping is a marvelous function our body has. In fact, it is a major indicator and factor of optimal hormone health. Got your attention now?...Good! Let's dive in.
You see, pooping regularly doesn’t just escort our digested food out of our bodies, it also eliminates toxins and harmful hormones as well. Our liver is responsible for processing our hormones, converting them to a different form, and transporting them to the gut to be eliminated through the bowels. One of these major hormones is estrogen. When we are constipated or do not poop on a regular basis, that estrogen does not have the opportunity to leave the premises! Instead, it can be recirculated back in the blood stream where it doesn’t belong and cause high levels of estrogen, or estrogen dominance as some say. Excess estrogen is not our friend. It can be responsible for PMS, mood swings, lowered libido, irregular menstrual periods, heavy periods, weight gain, hair loss, fertility issues, bloating, hot flashes, and even heart disease and stroke!
Now, with that said...I don't say this to send you into complete panic mode if you are one that is not going #2 regularly. Remember, when we panic, we stress and stress is just as toxic as anything else. Information is meant to bring empowerment. Use information to decided your next step, if any. If you decided to pursue this topic further, remember we are here to help at Next to Nature and we are more than comfortable talking all things poop. Today we are just going to go over the basics to get the conversation started. Sometimes that's the hardest part.
There are many reasons for irregular bowel movements (constipation). Now, many of you might be thinking you are not constipated. I used to think being constipated meant it was difficult to physically get the poop out. And while that is also correct, you are actually considered “constipated” if you are not having pretty set and regular bowel movements. Pooping daily is ideal!
Poor diets full of refined sugar and carbohydrates, processed foods, alcohol, dehydration, and lack of dietary fiber can all contribute to constipation. Other factors such as spine alignment, lack of certain nutrients, stress all play a factor as well. There's many variables, sometimes more than one that can throw your whole system out of wack so constipation can be an easy problem to run into if we aren't paying attention. Here are few tips that can help you to stay regular:
HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE. Not fizzy waters or coffee. Not soda or juice. Not ONLY tea, (looking at myself here!) just plain ol' regular, filtered water. Staying hydrated will keep things moving!
Move your body! Daily exercise is super important to aid digestion as well as balance your hormones as long as you are moving your body appropriately during the different parts of your cycle. Remember, our body needs different movement and sometimes just rest at certain points in our menstrual cycle. For more information on this topic, check out our Cycle Phases blog posts.
See a chiropractor. A chiropractor can not only improve your joint mobility but also help you deal with your gastrointestinal issues. The truth is that digestive relief starts with a healthy spine. All the nerves in your spine could affect your digestion because your digestive system and nervous system are connected. To learn more or experience it for yourself, contact Dr. Davis at Chiropractic First of Iowa.
Rest to Digest. In order to properly digest your food, your body needs to be in a relaxed state. And proper digestion leads to proper elimination. Rushing in-between bites or directly afterwards won’t allow your body to do it’s thing. Take your time and really chew before swallowing and moving in for that next bite.
Drink Divine Intervention. This Next to Nature loose leaf blend was created specifically to aid proper digestion and soothe the stomach after meals in order for everything to keep on movin'.
Don’t Allow Stress to Rule the Roost. If you’re constantly running from run task to the next, how is your body supposed to get the signal to release? Stress is no good for the gut and the gut is where all the magic happens so that you can remain healthy and eliminate properly. Take deep calming breathes throughout your day, incorporate some yoga, meditation, or quiet time to bring your stress levels down and allow your body to relax. Also consider adaptogens we have in the store like ashwagandha that help the body reduce stress response.
Boost that Fiber. There are 2 types of fiber. Soluble fiber that helps give bulk to your poop, and insoluble fiber that helps get the poop out nicely. Increasing your non-starchy fruits and vegetables, and also mixing in things like flax seeds, chia seeds, and oats can help boost healthy fiber levels. Psyllium can also promote regular bowel movements by improving gut health, reducing inflammation, and bulking up the stool and helping to increase frequency of elimination.
Consider your existing hormone balance (or lack of it). While it's less common for hormone imbalances to cause constipation, it can happen. One of the most common hormone imbalances that leads to constipation is hypothyroidism or too little thyroid hormone. Without adequate thyroid hormones, the bowels don't move. So, if chronic constipation is your issue, consider having a complete thyroid lab to evaluate your health. If numbers come back wonky, be sure to come talk to us before jumping into any medications. We may be able to assist your body naturally so there's less need for medication.
Use the magic of magnesium to your advantage. If diet alone is not helping, then adding a magnesium supplement to your daily routine can be very beneficial to the digestive tract while also providing other hundreds of other health benefits including calming the nervous system, promoting a good night of sleep, and supporting hormone production.
Remember, ways to balance digestive and hormonal health varies for each body, but we all have the pooping and hormonal systems in common. If you need guidance in addressing constipation and hormonal imbalances please feel free to book a one-on-one with Jamie, drop by the store and see us, or connect with us via social media. We are ready to help with more information, diet, supplement, and product recommendations!
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