Most people in America suffer from constipation, sever or otherwise, however, few people realize that constipation can lead to a variety of illnesses from acne and bad breath to colon cancer.
The Definition of Constipation
Constipation, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is abnormally delayed or infrequent passage of usually dry hardened feces.
Many people can be constipated and still able to have a bowel movement, despite the belief that constipation means no movement at all. The colon can expand a great deal so that fecal matter can cling to the walls while still passing more through. The fecal matter left behind continues to dry and send toxins through the large intestine and into the body.
A healthy person should have 3 bowel movements a day, one for each meal if they have 3 meals a day. This can be a bit of a shock to people who are used to having 1 to 2 bowel movements a week, if they’re lucky.
Constipation can be relieved through many different types of laxatives, however, the best relief is a proper diet, which allows the body to extract nutrients and pass along waste easily.
What is The Perfect
According to Dr. Robert E. Svaboda in his book, Prakriti, a bowel movement should come easily, be odorless and light brown in color. There should be no evidence of undigested food and the stool should be solid with the consistency of a ripe banana. Undigested food could mean that the internal fire, or acids, are not strong enough, which can lead to the body not being able to digest and take in the needed nutrients from food. A hard consistency could mean that the stool has sat in the lower intestine too long and too much water has been pulled out of it.
Tonya Zavasta, author of Raw Eating and Hot Yoga, not only agrees with Dr. Svaboda but continues the explanation in her chapter called “The Perfect Bowel Movement: the key to your best health and looks”.
Zavasta agrees that the stool should be odorless, light to dark brown, and the consistency of a ripe banana. She goes into further detail by adding that the length should be 1 to 2 feet long, as long as the descending section of the colon, and 1 1/2 to 2 inches in circumference.
She also adds that a perfect bowel movement leaves little need for toilet paper. There should be no smearing and the lack of fecal matter on the toilet paper suggests lack of fecal matter clinging to the walls of the colon.
Both authors also agree that the amount of time spent passing a bowel movement should be short. Zavasta states that one should only spend about a minute in the bathroom and that five minutes or more is a sign of constipation.
Zavasta and Dr. Svaboda believe that the perfect bowel movement can be obtained by correct diet, whether that means ayurvedic, raw or otherwise is left up to the individual.