About 15% of Americans suffer from chronic constipation.
Constipation is defined as having three or fewer bowel movements a week. In Naturopathic medicine, we ideally would like patients to have at least one bowel movement a day. This is one way our body gets rid of toxins and keeps us healthy.
What Are the Symptoms of Constipation?
When we are constipated, toxins get recycled back into the body instead of being eliminated. Having chronic constipation can cause symptoms like dry, hard stools, bleeding with stools, lack of bowel urge, incomplete evacuation, gas, bloating, and abdominal pain and cramping.
Chronic constipation can also lead to headaches, fatigue, and a coating on the tongue.
What Causes Constipation?
Constipation has a myriad of causes. The most common causes of constipation include dehydration, low fiber diet, and prescription or over-the-counter medications. SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and IMO (Intestinal Methanogen Overgrowth) are other common causes. However, there is another cause of chronic constipation that is not commonly tested for, which is fungal overgrowth in the intestines.
Fungal overgrowth, also known as Candida or yeast overgrowth, occurs when Candida or other fungal species overgrow in the small and/or large intestine and cause inflammation and nutrient deficiencies.
What Causes Fungal Overgrowth?
Certain medications such as steroids and antibiotics are a big culprit for fungal overgrowth in the gut. The antibiotics kill off a lot of our good bacteria and allows Candida to overgrow in the intestines. Fungal overgrowth can also be caused by birth control pills, a poor diet or excessive alcohol intake.
How is Fungal Overgrowth Tested?
There is a simple, at home stool test to check for fungal overgrowth. You and your doctor review the results together and come up with a treatment plan.
If you are suffering from chronic constipation, consider a consult to see what testing is right for you and your case: https://naturopathicfamilyhealth.com/consultation/