Constipation makes so many lives a misery – if you’re having trouble going to the loo each day, read on to discover how to stay regular.

Linda explains constipation

Emptying our bowels is an instinct. We don’t have to teach newborn babies how to empty their bowels – they just do it. Why, then, are we in the Western world plagued with constipation as we get older?

The diagnosis of constipation is usually given by a GP if there are less than three bowel movements a week. Considering that the majority of us eat two or three times daily, we should be having two or three bowel movements each day. The gut is ‘hard wired’ to the brain and when we begin to chew, the brain sends messages to the various sphincters along the digestive tract, instructing them to open, pushing the contents along. My view is that if you are having any less than one bowel movement daily, then you are constipated.

Constipation is the scourge of Western civilisation, and our Western diet contributes to the problem. Constipation can rob us of our vitality and health; it is also dangerous, as it can lead to other colorectal disorders, including painful haemorrhoids, diverticulosis and colon cancer.

Linda recommends

I recommend a good quality live bacteria supplement (sometimes called a probiotic) to ensure your bowels are colonised with lots of ‘friendly’ bacteria. My high-strength, multi-strain Live Bacteria replenishes gut flora and brings your digestive system back into balance.

I also recommend a fibre supplement to add extra bulk to your food, helping improve bowel motility.

You might also try some extra oil in your diet to help lubricate the bowel, either in the form of Omega 3 fish oil, or if you are vegetarian, flaxseed oil.

Taking a natural digestive enzyme tablet with your meals can act as a mild laxative, helping your digestive system to process your food and keep things moving along.  Try my plant-derived Digestive Enzyme tablets, especially with your evening meal to aid digestion as you sleep, resulting in a satisfactory bowel movement in the morning.

Linda’s tummy tips

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, particularly dark green ones, and whole foods.
  • Drink at least two litres of water daily.
  • Exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times every week.
  • Don’t ignore the urge to go to the loo to have a bowel movement – the bowel will lose its routine.
  • Try practising meditation and mindfulness to help you ‘switch off’ as stress contributes to a lazy bowel.
  • Try inserting a glycerine suppository to soften hardened faeces in the rectum. This can sometimes initiate a bowel movement. Most pharmacies sell glycerine suppositories.
  • Try a herbal laxative – it is a fallacy that laxatives are bad for the bowel; if used sensibly, they can be a lifesaver. Bowel obstruction from chronic constipation can be at best very uncomfortable and at worst – fatal!
  • Consider the gentle, safe treatment of colon hydrotherapy. The warm filtered colonic water gently introduced into your bowel will act as a ‘solvent’, softening the hardened waste matter. A colon hydrotherapist can also give advice on diet, lifestyle and supplements to help improve a ‘lazy’ bowel.

If you have sudden onset constipation with chronic tiredness, unexplained weight loss, or you have seen blood in your poo, then go and see your GP immediately. It may be nothing to worry about – it may be just a simple case of haemorrhoids (piles) but it is very important to get these symptoms checked out by your GP.

For more in-depth advice, our Diet Plans section includes nutrition plans and lifestyle tips, including my Constipation Plan.