When it comes to topics of the “nether regions” addressing what is happening, and more importantly, what isn’t happening down there is not a subject embraced with enthusiasm.

If the bowels aren’t functioning quite as well as they should we often grin and bare it, hoping it will work itself out eventually. Unfortunately irregular bowel movements can lead to skin breakouts, headaches, fatigue, bad breath, excess gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, irritability and cramps.

Infrequent bowel movements can leave faecal matter in the bowel for longer than necessary. This can put extra strain on the body’s natural ability to cleanse the organs thus compromising their ability to do their jobs effectively. Keeping the gastrointestinal system healthy is essential to optimum vitality and well-being.

The small intestinal system and the colon both play an important role in your digestive system. Stress, medication, poor dietary habits, inadequate fibre, dehydration and lack of exercise can wreck havoc on these.

Small intestinal systembowel

  • Reabsorbs water and electrolytes and sends them back into the blood stream
  • Eliminates cellular waste and toxins released from cells
  • Eliminates digestive by-products and indigestible substances

Colon function

  • Absorbs water and minerals
  • Formation and elimination of waste
  • Houses over 700 species of bacteria, some of which are considered friendly bacteria, that protect us against harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungus

Did you know…

  • Diet directly influences the diversity of microbes in the intestines
  • Undigested meat and other foods cause mucus build up in the colon – this build up can produce toxins that enter the blood’s circulation
  • Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement causes waste material to build up and become compacted, leading to constipation

Bowel health questions

  • Do you use tobacco?
  • Do you drink alcohol daily?
  • Do you exercise less than 3 times a week for 30 minutes?
  • Do you eat red meat more than 3 times per week?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you eat processed foods?
  • Do you have less than two bowel movements per day?
  • Is your stool hard and dry?
  • Can you have a bowel movement without straining?
  • Do you delay your bowel movements?
  • Do you eat less than 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables daily?
  • Do you consume less than 25 grams of fibre per day? (One apple contains 5 grams)
  • Do you have a stressful lifestyle?

If digestive function is poor and a there are few too many “yes” answers, then diet and lifestyle factors should be addressed. Natural supplementation can play a role in the relief of unpleasant digestive symptoms and provide support for long term, optimal digestive function.