By Katika Funnell – Acupuncturist

The Facts :
•    Various studies show that women experience constipation more than men.
•    Rates as high as two thirds of women were said to experience constipation from a survey conducted by Gut Foundation on 1,300 women.
•    1 in 3 people are too embarrassed to discuss constipation with their friends or family.
•    1 in 5 people say constipation stops them from exercising or engaging in social activities.
•    Research shows there are misconceptions about Constipation and the use of Laxatives to treat it.

Factors that TCM considers when it come to Constipation is: Dietary habits, stress and emotions, exercise, overwork and chronic disease. It might sound horrible to talk about, but a lot of information can be gleaned by a practitioner from signs and symptoms.

Yes, you gotta go ‘there’ and talk about your bowel movements!
Your body gives great evidence of what is happening internally through this information. Undigested food, blood, colour and so on. It can get pretty detailed, but if you want an accurate diagnosis from your TCM practitioner. The more information, the better.

What’s NOT normal:
•    Not passing a bowel motion for more than 48hrs
•    Blood
•    Abdominal Pain
•    Undigested food in stool
•    Pellet shape stool
•    Dry stool

The Acupuncture Strategy:
There are many fantastic points that help with constipation. Stomach 25 and Spleen 15 are two common points used in an Acupuncture consultation.

These points are located on the abdomen and help regulate the intestines, treat intestinal disorders and keep things moving in the lower abdomen. Moxibustion can be added to relax the bowel and encourage movement.

Really Really Easy Lifestyle considerations:
•    Of course increasing Fibre in your diet is recommended. This can be as simple as increasing vegetables in your diet. I recommend clients to avoid popular laxative and fibre products because this is easier to do by increasing fruit and vegetable intake.
•    Drink lots more Water.
•    Exercise
•    Use herbal preparations to support bowel movements, rather than laxatives. Naturopathic herbs or Chinese Herbs are fantastic addition to any regime. This isn’t as simple as taking Senna. A combo herbal preparation will address the constipation in a baanced way, often addressing several issues at once such as dry stool, abdominal discomfort, bloating, wind and difficult defaecation.

Don’t suffer in silence when it comes to Constipation. Speak to your Doctor about it, but know there are complimentary medicine options when it comes to treatment. It can be as simple as relaxing the bowel. For more chronic, ongoing cases see your health professional.