Constipation, or the inability to have 3 or less bowel movements a week for more than 3 months, is an uncomfortable (literally) and awkward topic for discussion. However, it is one of the most common digestive complaints and especially for those suffering from scoliosis. It is so common that it accounts for over 2.5 million medical doctor visits each year and affects more than 4 million Americans each year. Its connection to scoliosis isn’t clear, but both conditions heavily favor the female population and tend to get worse with age.
What is constipation?
There are 2 main categories within the discussion of constipation. Infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools/fecal matter. Signs and symptoms of the latter may include hard or lump stools, bowel movements that require a significant amount of straining, and or a feeling of bowel blockage. In rare cases, intestinal blockage may be related to a cancerous tumor.
Constipation related to infrequent bowel movements are much more common, but generally related to much different and many other different causes.
Causes of infrequent bowel movements
- Damage to intestinal nerves
- Stroke or spinal cord injury
- Central nervous system disease (MS, Parkinson’s, ect)
Problems with the muscles involved with bowel movements
- Weak pelvic muscles
- Coordinated muscle contractions
- Thyroid conditions
Genetics related to Scoliosis
Idiopathic scoliosis is caused by combinations of 28 functional genomic variant groups. These genetic defects decrease your body’s ability to absorb, convert, metabolize, and detoxify highly specific nutrients. Multiple published studies have found specific combinations of these variant groups are directly related to the development of idiopathic scoliosis and also play a role in many of the other health conditions that are commonly associated with idiopathic scoliosis. The MCM6, FUT2, DAO, and FAD 1-3 genetic variant groups may play a role in both idiopathic scoliosis and constipation.
The MCM6 genetic variant group helps your body produce the enzyme that breaks down the sugar in dairy products. Scoliosis patients with this variant may experience bloating, stomach ache, and constipation after eating dairy products that contain lactose. Avoiding the consumption of lactose is recommended, but often unrealistic. Most patients find a digestive enzyme like COMFORT very helpful and beneficial
The FUT2 genetic variant aids in your body’s ability to create and maintain a healthy intestinal flora or normal gut bacteria balance. This is critical for digestion and neurotransmitter conversion. A broad spectrum probiotic like ENHANCE provides a comprehensive solution.
Food sensitivities are much more common that people realize and can wreak havoc on your intestinal system, especially if you have the DAO genetic variants. Odds are you won’t be able to figure out exactly which foods you're sensitive too and which ones you aren’t, so taking a DAO supplement can break down the high levels of histamine in your gut that is throwing everything into chaos.
Most people get the necessary dietary fats from animal sources, which is fine unless you are someone with scoliosis and the FAD genetic variant groups. This can make it difficult to break down animal fats and getting dietary fats from vegetable sources (avocado, nuts, ect) is advisable.
Risk Factors for Constipation
- Genetic predisposition
- Being female or elderly
- Certain medications or a low fiber diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Depression or eating disorders
Treatment for Constipation
- An aloe-based supplement like MOVEMENT that increases and maintains water in the colon/intestinal tract
- Increased dietary fiber
- Increase fluid intake
- Maintaining a normal bowel movement routine/schedule