Laxative Alternatives When You Can’t Poop

by Sara Banta | Jun 7, 2024 | AHP News, Gut Health

When you have a baby, you are concerned with three things: if they are eating, sleeping and pooping.

When you have aging parents, you focus on the same three things: if they are eating, sleeping, and pooping. These are the fundamental bodily functions.

Constipation is defined as having less than three poops per week; would you worry if your baby or aging parent was only having three bowel movements a week? I would.

The goal for optimal digestion, detox and overall health is to have 2-3 bowel movements per day. But most people suffer from constipation and think the “norm” is less than 1 per day.

Poop and constipation can not only pose serious health risks, but it can derail your mood, activities for the day, and alter your quality of daily life.

Causes of Constipation

There can be many reasons for constipation, let’s take a look at the most common causes of constipation.

Microbes

In your digestive system, approximately 4-5 pounds of microbes handle about 90 percent of the food breakdown during digestion. However, if you’ve taken antibiotics at any point or experienced stress (who hasn’t?), your microbial balance may be compromised.

For some individuals, an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the gut can worsen with excessive fermentation from foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and drinks like kombucha. Feeling bloated after taking probiotics might indicate an imbalance in your gut microbiome.

Bile

Produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, bile’s job is to help fat digestion. If your gallbladder is sluggish or if you have gallstones, digesting fat may become challenging.

Symptoms such as nausea, constipation, right shoulder pain, or bloating after consuming fat could signify low bile levels. Beta TCP and Choline Inositol can assist in fat metabolism. Most people have sluggish livers and inhibited fat metabolism, so I usually don’t recommend a high fat ketogenic diet until they have addressed their liver health.

Stomach Acid

Insufficient stomach acid can lead to indigestion or heartburn and may contribute to constipation. As we age, stomach acid, or HCL, decreases. Contrary to popular belief, acid reflux in older adults is often due to too LITTLE stomach acid, not too much.

Fiber

Fiber feeds your microbes and is not solely for promoting bowel movements. But, too much or too little can cause constipation. Opt for fiber from vegetables rather than grains to prevent issues like leaky gut, inflammation, and nutrient malabsorption.

The Wrong Vegetables

Certain vegetables can exacerbate constipation, leaky gut, and bloating, depending on individual genetics and current state of health. If you experience bloating, gas, or constipation, consider eliminating these problematic vegetables from your diet.

Common groups of vegetables known to cause issues include those containing sulfur, lectins, oxalates, and those from the nightshade family. While these vegetables offer nutrients beneficial to some, they may pose significant health challenges for others, including constipation and interference with detoxification pathways.

Health Complications from Constipation

suplements to ease coonstipation_sara banta health

Constipation can pose several risks and complications if left untreated or chronic:

      • Discomfort and Pain: Constipation can induce abdominal pain, cramping, and discomfort as stool accumulates in the colon. Straining during bowel movements may exacerbate rectal pain.
      • Bloating and Gas: Accumulation of stool and mucoid plaque in the colon can trigger bloating and excessive gas production, causing discomfort and a sensation of fullness.
      • Bad Breath: Stagnation of waste and toxins due to constipation may contribute to halitosis or bad breath.
      • Decreased Appetite: Some individuals with constipation may experience reduced appetite and feelings of fullness, making it difficult to maintain a balanced diet.
      • Fatigue and Irritability: Discomfort and disrupted sleep associated with constipation can lead to fatigue, irritability, and mood swings.
      • Incomplete Evacuation: Constipation and colon congestion may result in incomplete bowel emptying, leaving a sensation of residual stool and discomfort.
      • Estrogen Dominance: Without regular waste elimination, excess estrogens can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream, leading to hormone imbalances in both men and women.
      • Toxic Overload: Bowel movements are the primary way the body rids itself of toxins from the food, GMO’s, heavy metals, radiation, and other environmental toxins. When constipation occurs, these toxins get reabsorbed into the body, compounding the toxic burden on the system.  These toxins lead to chronic disease including obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease, cognitive decline, and more.
      • Impaired Quality of Life: Chronic constipation can significantly impact daily activities, work performance, social interactions, and overall well-being.
      • Anal Fissures: Constipation may cause small tears in the anus lining, known as anal fissures, resulting in pain and bleeding, particularly during bowel movements.
      • Changes in Bowel Habits: Long-term constipation may lead to dependency on laxatives or enemas for bowel movements, altering normal bowel habits.
      • Hemorrhoids: Straining during bowel movements due to constipation can increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids, which are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum and anus.
      • Rectal Prolapse: Chronic straining during bowel movements can weaken the muscles and tissues in the rectum, leading to rectal prolapse, where part of the rectum protrudes from the anus.
      • Fecal Impaction: In some cases of severe constipation, a large, hard mass of stool can become lodged in the rectum or colon, known as fecal impaction. This can cause extreme pain, abdominal swelling, nausea, and vomiting, and may require medical intervention for removal.
      • Increased Risk of Colon Cancer: Chronic constipation may be associated with an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, although the exact relationship is not fully understood. However, it’s thought that prolonged exposure of the colon to toxins and waste products may contribute to this increased risk.
      • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Constipation can lead to difficulty emptying the bladder fully, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to bacteria buildup in the urinary tract.
      • Rectal Bleeding: Straining during bowel movements can cause small tears in the rectum or anus, leading to rectal bleeding. While usually minor, persistent bleeding should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to rule out more serious conditions.
      • Hernias: Chronic constipation can increase intra-abdominal pressure, which may contribute to the development of hernias, particularly in the groin or abdominal wall.

With all of the risks above, some are confused about whether to take supplements to help with bowel movements or whether to abstain from them because they are dangerous and the body can become dependent on them.  

The answer is both.  Some you want to stay away from, but it is better to POOP then not to POOP! 

First let’s look at the possible side effects of the wrong laxatives.

Side Effects of the Wrong Laxatives

Laxatives, while often used to relieve constipation, can pose several dangers and risks when misused or overused:

      • Dependency: Regular use of laxatives can lead to dependency, where the colon becomes reliant on laxatives to produce bowel movements. This can result in the inability to have a bowel movement without using laxatives.
      • Electrolyte Imbalance: Some laxatives work by drawing water into the intestines, leading to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Prolonged electrolyte imbalances can be dangerous and may result in symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, and even seizures in severe cases.
      • Dehydration: Laxatives that cause increased water loss through the intestines can lead to dehydration if not enough fluids are consumed. Dehydration can cause symptoms such as thirst, dry mouth, decreased urine output, and in severe cases, confusion and fainting.
      • Decreased Bowel Function: Overuse of laxatives can lead to a decrease in natural bowel function, as the colon becomes less responsive to normal stimuli that trigger bowel movements. This can worsen constipation over time and lead to a reliance on laxatives for regular bowel movements.
      • Damage to the Colon: Chronic use of stimulant laxatives, such as senna or bisacodyl, can damage the nerves and muscles in the colon, leading to a condition called cathartic colon. Cathartic colon can cause severe constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain.
      • Malabsorption: Laxatives that speed up bowel movements may decrease the absorption of nutrients from food, leading to malnutrition over time. This can result in deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals, which can have wide-ranging health effects.
      • Laxative Abuse: In some cases, individuals may misuse laxatives as a means of weight loss or to compensate for binge eating. This can lead to a dangerous cycle of laxative abuse, eating disorders, and significant health consequences.
      • Digestive System Damage: Overuse of laxatives can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the gut, leading to digestive system damage and symptoms such as bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
      • Organ Damage: Severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances caused by laxative abuse can lead to organ damage, particularly to the kidneys and heart.
      • Dependency on Laxatives for Bowel Movements: Long-term use of laxatives can lead to the body becoming dependent on them for bowel movements, making it difficult to have a bowel movement without their use.

Safe Supplements For Relieving Constipation

Although some laxatives are habit forming, the following supplements are safe to take on a daily basis, and will allow you to get back to enjoying your life.

BIOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough

Many people use magnesium for sleep, stress, muscle recovery and heart health; but there is one more very popular reason- to poop!

Magnesium can help relieve constipation for several reasons:

    1. Muscle Relaxation: Magnesium helps relax muscles, including those in the digestive tract. This relaxation can help in the movement of stool through the intestines, making bowel movements easier and more regular.
    2. Osmotic Effect: Magnesium draws water into the intestines, softening the stool and increasing its bulk. This osmotic effect can help alleviate constipation by making stools easier to pass. It is important to also take electrolytes to balance the loss of water.
    3. Stimulating Bowel Movements: Magnesium can stimulate peristalsis, the wave-like muscle contractions that propel stool through the intestines. This stimulation can help speed up the transit of stool and promote regular bowel movements.
    4. Regulating Fluid Balance: Magnesium helps regulate fluid balance in the body, which is important for maintaining healthy bowel function. Without proper hydration, stools will become hard and difficult to move through the system.
    5. Supporting Gut Health: Magnesium may also support gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. Without a healthy gut, constipation may occur.
    6. Relieving Abdominal Discomfort: By promoting regular bowel movements and softening stool, magnesium can help alleviate abdominal discomfort and bloating associated with constipation.

BIOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough is very gentle due to it having all 7 types of magnesium for different functions in the body, not just constipation.  Therefore, the effect on constipation is subtle. BiOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough is the only magnesium supplement providing all 7 types of magnesium for all functions magnesium is needed for in the body. 

Magnesium is essential for overall health, contributing to more than 600 biochemical reactions within the body. 

Fresh And Alive Oxy-Clear Digestive Cleanse Support

Fresh And Alive Oxy-Clear contains ozonated magnesium oxide to help with bowel movements. Unlike BIOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough, it only contains the one form of magnesium meant to help with constipation and detoxification. It provides a gentle natural constipation relief and helps remove the toxins out of the body safely.

HerbsForever Laxa Comfort

HerbsForever Laxa Comfort is an Ayurvedic formula to naturally help with bowel movements for those with severe constipation. It is a combination of natural herbs that help balance the body and produce comfortable bowel movements.  It can work in combination with the BIOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough and the Fresh And Alive Oxy-Clear to create a more individualized regimen.

Accelerated Ancient Salt®

Most people are dehydrated and don’t have sufficient electrolytes in their body which can make constipation worse. A “salt flush” helps with constipation through several mechanisms:

    1. Osmotic Effect: The high concentration of salt in the water draws water into the intestines through a process called osmosis. This increased fluid in the intestines helps soften stool and makes it easier to pass.
    2. Muscle Contractions: The presence of salt in the intestines may stimulate muscle contractions, known as peristalsis, which help propel stool through the digestive tract. This can help facilitate bowel movements and alleviate constipation.
    3. Colon Cleansing: The saltwater solution can act as a natural colon cleanser, flushing out waste material, toxins, and accumulated fecal matter from the colon. This cleansing action may help relieve constipation by promoting regular bowel movements.
    4. Stimulation of Digestive Secretions: Salt may stimulate the production of digestive juices and enzymes in the intestines, which can aid in the breakdown and movement of food and waste through the digestive tract.

Accelerated Ancient Salt® provides all of the needed electrolytes, with more than 62 minerals, for proper cellular hydration. This is imperative for proper bowel movements.

Enhanced with scalar frequencies, Accelerated Ancient Salt® is also designed to aid in detoxification and enhance intracellular hydration. It possesses a potent negative charge strategically utilized to attract and eliminate positively charged toxins, parasites, and undigested fats from the body.

Lifestyle Changes to Help with Constipation

Adjust Your Fiber

Too much or too little can cause constipation. Get your fiber from the vegetables approved in the Accelerated Food Guide without sulfur or oxalates to support health bowel movements. Grains could trigger inflammation, leaky gut, malabsorption of nutrients in addition to worsening constipation.

Exclude Sulfur Vegetables

Recent research suggests that sulfur-containing foods may exacerbate histamine responses. These foods include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, onions, garlic, and egg yolks. It’s crucial to remain vigilant about hidden sulfur content in certain medications and supplements.

Avoid Amyloid Proteins

Foods rich in amyloid proteins, such as chicken, pork, turkey, and conventionally raised beef, should be avoided. Amyloids can contribute to histamine intolerance and promote the growth of the Spike Protein in the body, leading to increased inflammation, gut issues, constipation, pathogenic load, and insulin dysregulation.

Eliminate Oxalate Foods

Foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, almonds, berries, kale, and most nuts, should be eliminated from the diet. Doing so helps reduce the burden on the system and help with gut issues including constipation.

Avoid High Histamine Foods

By excluding foods high in histamine, such as aged cheese, alcohol and fermented foods, the histamine burden on the body is reduced. This allows the digestive system to heal, improves bowel regularity, supports insulin regulation, and helps alleviate symptoms associated with histamine intolerance.

Minimize Seed Oils and Inflammatory Fats

Seed oils and unhealthy fats, present in processed foods and even some organic options, contribute to systemic inflammation, impair liver and detoxification pathways, cause gut issues including constipation, decrease metabolism, and increase insulin resistance. Carefully reading food labels is essential.

Prioritize Eating Wild Animal Protein

In today’s world, where soil nutrients are depleted and vegetables offer limited nutrition, wild animal protein stands out as the most nutrient-dense option. These animals lack amyloids, inflammatory fats, oxalates, or sulfur, which can disrupt nutrient absorption and detoxification pathways.

Eliminate Processed Foods

Processed foods lack nutrition and are loaded with ingredients that clog detox pathways, increase inflammation, lower ATP and mitochondrial health, and cause gut issues including constipation. 

Exercise Daily

Make daily exercise a habit! And if you hate the thought of exercising then think of it a moving.

Moving your body regularly does amazing things: it cleans out your system, helps your muscles grow and repair themselves, and even improves your mood. The benefits don’t stop there – exercise is a key player in staying healthy and living a long life. To get the most out of it, try a variety of activities like high-intensity workouts, steady cardio, strength training, walks, stretches, and even yoga.

Utilize the Accelerated Food Guide

This guide assists in navigating a healthy diet without feeling restricted, providing valuable insights into food choices. It clearly labels what foods have histamines, amyloids, sulfur, mold, oxalates and lectins.

Sara Banta

Sara Banta is a Stanford University Graduate with a Degree in Economics and Psychology, and a certified Natural Supplement Expert & Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sara is the Founder of Accelerated Health Products and host of the health & wellness podcast, Accelerated Health Radio.

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Hi, I’m Sara Banta!
I’m a certified natural supplement expert, podcaster, Health Coach, and natural wellness expert. Each week I publish articles on the latest in cutting-edge health supplements and natural health solutions. I also interview leading experts across a wide range of health topics to transform your body, mind & spirit. I’m also the Founder of Accelerated Health Products. Join my mailing list and receive 10% off your first order.

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