Constipation Can Invite Parasites
A Naturopathic Doctor, with functional medicine training, discusses the toxic effects of chronic constipation, how it can cause a parasitic infestation, and how to support your body.
It may sound disgusting, but did you know that constipation is one of the main ways to invite parasites into your body?
Just because you are not acutely ill doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem. However, I have seen how chronic constipation has become a huge epidemic over the years in my clinical practice. It’s not only uncomfortable but it also creates belly distension and long term major. It is extremely toxic and invites nasty microbes like parasites. Ultimately, constipation can shorten your life due to the toxic complications it causes.
Hi, my name is Dr. Jason. I’m a Board-Certified Naturopathic Doctor. I practice functional clinical naturopathy and I’m a root cause specialist.
Symptoms to look out for include brain fog, low energy, fatigue, and headaches. In simpler terms, you just don’t have that get up and go anymore. Another issue can be issues with weight loss where you can’t keep the weight off. And of course, not being able to void the colon daily and feeling like you need to go the bathroom but nothing comes out or you are straining to eliminate. Constipation often underlies all of the above.
One issue with constipation is that parasites are invited in and they love this environment. With toxic waste sitting there, not moving, it provides the ideal breeding ground. The parasites feed on this waste which include undigested food matter then multiply – the situation worsens.
I work with a lot of women and they will often experience issues with yeast, whether it be vaginal or in other areas. There is a big constipation and yeast connection as yeast thrives on the same environment as parasites. Yeast can even become parasitic if it’s allowed to grow uncontrolled. It zaps your energy and has major long term health consequences.
What causes constipation?
You may have a low-fiber diet. Fiber increases motility while you also need fiber to feed microbes in your gut. Another possible cause is not drinking enough water and low hydration levels as a result. Low activity is a major cause too; sitting around the office all day, barely moving is super common.
Dysbiosis is also a major cause. This is a major imbalance in the microbial ecology of your gut where food is not being broken down – it’s just sitting there and rotting. Plus your gut is at “war” with all the microbe colonies and they are not getting along. Harvard research suggests that US adults only consume between ten and 15 grams of fiber. That’s extremely low. We are eating too much processed food and not enough fruits and vegetables (although some fruits and vegetables are low in fiber too!). If you take a look at our ancestors, they would have consumed something like 100 grams of fiber a day! And then when you factor in the amount of activity in their lifestyle, the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, it’s a stark contrast to us today.
I’ve read stories about autopsies, often on celebrities, where their bodies are studied, and the findings are extraordinary. There can often be anywhere up to 50 pounds of impacted waste in their colon. When it comes to this level of waste, you must think it has been in there for years if not decades. There is no doubt it was a contributing factor to their demise.
Supporting gut health
How do we support our gut health? One of the main areas we can focus on is chewing your food. It may sound trivial but if you think about it, how often do you really sit there and are truly present when you are eating? On average we only spend about four to five minutes eating our meals. That’s not enough time, especially when it comes to whole foods. Fast food and processed foods are different but if you want to be healthy, by eating whole foods, you need to spend more time chewing them. My recommendation is 30 chews per bite or until liquid. That’s going to take you about 15 to 20 minutes per meal. Another benefit to this is that you will be consuming fewer calories because you will inevitably eat less and actually receive the “full” signal from your brain.
Increase your fiber intake by eating vegetables like cooked broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, and cabbages. A lot of people have turned to eating raw vegetables, but I’m not a big believer in that. If you look at communities that tend to live longer around the world, they all eat cooked food rather than the raw option. Raw hearty veggies are not able to be broken down in the human gut as we do not have enough stomach acid or transit time, compared to ruminant animals, for example. Cooking unlocks the fiber such that the microbes can get what they need.
In terms of hydration, the bowel uses roughly six to seven gallons of water as it’s accumulating waste and fecal matter in the bowel. If it doesn’t have enough water the waste just sits there and as a result the motility goes way down again. Everything gets packed in and it’s a really nasty situation for your colon. For me and my clients, I judge it by urine frequency. If they’re urinating a lot and it’s always clear, it’s a little too much water. But if you’re barely going throughout the day and your urine is dark yellow, it’s not enough water. So try to find that sweet spot – it might take some time to adjust.
Movement is another huge factor. And walking is great and it doesn’t require a fancy gym membership or joining the latest CrossFit craze. Just start walking ten to 15 minutes per day. I usually advise you to do this early in the morning or at night. Either way, schedule yourself for some self-care even if it’s brief. I rather you do a tiny amount often and sustainably than Olympic-level once in a while.
We must have peristalsis to assist all our fluids to move through it but our bowel is especially prone to lacking that peristaltic movement unless we can encourage it with total body movement. And what does movement do? Our bowels and lymphatic systems have no direct pump, unlike our cardiovascular system where it has the heart to pump blood. Our elimination systems rely on body movement to assist it.
A Client Story
I want to point out a client, we’ll call her Susie. She came to me, and like a lot of women, she had horrific PMS. I’m talking she had to go in a pain cave for three days and take medication. It was very, very toxic. She had to isolate herself from family and friends and sometimes she could not even work during her periods. It was really horrible for her. But this is so common for my female clients.
There were several complex issues but after we addressed those and got her bowels regulated, she had great bowel movement and felt amazing with no bloating, tons of energy, but she also lost about 20 pounds effortlessly. Her menses turned into a shorter and mild experience with no medication needed, being able to stay connected with her family and work.
A painful and heavy menses usually means a very toxic body, which is very often gut-based. Believe it or not, one of the main ways the female body detoxes every month is through menses. This is a topic for another video but if you’re stopping your menses with medication or lost your cycle due to a health issue, you may be building up toxicity.
The Bristol Stool Chart
Google the Bristol Stool Chart. There are seven different types of bowel movements, and we want to aim for number four on the chart. However, you need to be mindful that even despite drastic changes to your diet and exercise, it can still take months before you start to see the results. The goal is to get a daily bowel movement, at least one but ideally two or three times a day (I know a lot of you will only go a few times a week at present!).
You will often experience bowel movements around mealtime – why is that? Remember when you start to eat, your body, ideally, goes into the parasympathetic mode. We’re in that rest and digest period and our body’s relaxing and peristaltic movement is more easily attained. Our body begins to think it might want to make room to digest and absorb food, we need to move the waste along. You would preferably be making bowel movements one or two hours after your meal. But similar to the urine frequency test, this will take time to adjust. We can’t force our body to eliminate exactly when we want but when we build a good lifestyle foundation, it can certainly help.
You may indeed get some gas, some discomfort, maybe a little bloating at first. Remember, because you’re changing the ecosystem, there are microbes down there that you’re trying to adjust. Once your bowel health and constipation is gone, it’s actually completely normal to get a little daily gas but it should be odorless, painless, and should not cause distension.
If you are getting lots of bloating, distension from gas, and obviously, if it’s very foul smelling, then you have issues going on and some dysbiosis. But again, be patient with yourself.
You can still be constipated even with daily bowel movements!
About 10 years ago when I threw my back out doing some landscaping and went to urgent care because I could barely walk. I got an X-ray done and the doctor said: “Hey, back looks okay, I think it’s just inflammation. You know, we can do XYZ, but you should probably know about this.” He showed me an X-ray of my colon, and it was completely impacted with waste!!
Now what shocked me is that I go to the bathroom every day. I was having bowel movements every day, and almost half my entire life. But I was still constipated. WOW. Blew my mind. So yes, even if you eliminate daily, you can actually still be constipated. So, keep that in mind.
If you believe you are chronically constipated and do all the above for several months and it does not improve, then you should seek out a naturopathic doctor, with a functional medicine approach, to help you troubleshoot what are the underlying or root causes.
Hopefully, that helped you understand constipation better. What I want you to know is that it can shorten your life so it’s important to understand the symptoms and causes, and how you can support your own gut health. And medication is not always the cure either because even if you are given the meds and they clean you out the parasites can come back unless you are supporting your gut.
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I look forward to chatting with you again about more health topics, and in the meantime Be Well!! 😉