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INTEGRATIVE FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE

Targeting Chronic Constipation With Functional Medicine From Toronto

POSTED BY TORONTO FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CENTRE

Improving your wellness for long-term health can help prevent and manage chronic disease. This also applies to chronic constipation, which can be tackled with functional medicine from our Toronto clinic. 

Eliminating waste is needed for optimal health and functioning. But when the digestive tract gets “backed up” consistently in the human body, it can trigger chronic symptoms, such as bloating and stomach aches. 

Though chronic constipation seems like an individual health issue, it can affect many daily lives. Keep in mind that lifespan is elongating, and that constipation tends to affect seniors – with that, scientists speculate that chronic constipation may contribute to burdening the health care system in the future. 

Knowing how to prevent and manage constipation can affect various aspects of health, such as managing digestive disorders, hormonal balance, and mental health. The Toronto Functional Medicine Centre (TFMC) discloses facts about this health concern, how we address it with the functional medicine model, and details about becoming a new patient. 

 What exactly is chronic constipation? 

    • Chronic constipation is when your bowel movements happen less than three times a week, and this may last for numerous months. But it can be experienced differently between people – some people may not “poop” for several weeks, while others may release hardened stool on a regular basis. 
    • Clinical symptoms may include: straining while attempting to make a bowel movement; clumpy stool; not feeling “emptied” or relieved after a bowel movement. 
    • There are many factors that can cause chronic constipation, such as dehydration, alterations to daily routines, getting low amounts of physical activity, not eating enough fibre, taking certain medications (i.e. opioids), gluten sensitivity, pregnancy, excessive use of laxatives, hormone imbalance, and some health conditions (i.e. diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome). 

If left untreated, you may be susceptible to hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and fecal impaction, which is when stool becomes jammed inside the colon. Visiting a functional doctor for a personalized approach to treatment may help manage constipation and prevent health concerns down the road. 

How our functional clinicians can address this

Getting a modified functional and integrative medicine plan can lead to beneficial effects. This is because functional medicine focuses on individual patient needs, which means a therapy that may suit one patient may not necessarily be an effective treatment for another person. 

For exploring constipation matters, we would have a discussion on your current lifestyle (i.e. diet, exercise), medical history/genes, and your health expectations. We may also recommend core tests, such as a gut health assessment that measures for bacterial overgrowth. A DUTCH hormone test may also be advised to quantify your hormonal balance, as high amounts of estrogen are speculated to cause irregular bowel movements. Once we’ve gathered pertinent pieces of information, we can customize your therapies. Some examples of tailored advice may include: 

    • Consuming probiotics: We may recommend probiotics to nourish your gut health. According to a study from Molecules, research has shown that probiotics are handy for treating constipation and for improving neurotransmitter production. In turn, probiotics may affect both digestion and mood!
    • Stress relief methods: Stress can be the root of constipation. It can inflame the GI tract, which can increase or worsen digestive issues. So, finding new ways to reduce stress can play a role in relieving constipation, so why not try acupuncture? According to a study from Medical Acupuncture, after 10 weeks of these sessions, study participants “…showed increases in frequency of defecation and number of days during which defecation occurred at least once.”
    • Increasing physical activity: A lack of exercise is correlated with infrequent defecation. However, taking part in regular yoga classes may contribute to alleviating both anxiety and constipation. In one study of patients with IBS who also consumed a low-FODMAP diet, constipation was lessened after 12 weeks of yoga.  

Have you thought about pinpointing the cause of your constipation? Let’s introduce you to our individualized approach to health! Read below to learn how to become a patient. We also have a recent article that you may be interested in. The topic is about how functional medicine in Toronto may help with liver health.

About our functional medicine clinic

Working towards optimal health can be a unique, extensive experience. A TFMC functional medicine practitioner can guide you along the way with a personalized approach to treatment that targets your health goals only. 

In our clinic, we combine treatment modalities so that you have access to different strategies for symptom relief. Integrative and functional medicine can be applied to a wide range of conditions and concerns, especially those related to cellular health, preconception health, heart disease, hormonal disorders, insulin resistance, nutrient deficiencies, sexual health, immune function, chronic disease care, daily energy production, and more. 

Becoming a TFMC patient is easy – all you have to do is attend your initial consult! During this appointment, we’ll unravel your medical history (including genetic/family histories), current lifestyle factors, environmental surroundings, health goals, and health concerns. (We may request conducting functional lab tests, depending on your health status.) After we gather pertinent information, we can tailor a comprehensive treatment plan that is adapted for your biological needs. Your treatment plan may include Western medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, naturopathic medicine, holistic nutrition, acupuncture, herbal medicine, intravenous therapy, and more. 

If you’re struggling with lifestyle modifications or your daily life is ruled by digestive issues, this article may resonate with you. So, let’s unchain your innate potential to live a healthy lifestyle! Start your health transformation by simply clicking here to request functional medicine from our Toronto location.  

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. You should always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of information you have read from the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre website or other affiliate media. 

 

References

Andrews CN, Storr M. The pathophysiology of chronic constipation. Can J Gastroenterol. 2011 Oct;25 Suppl B(Suppl B):16B-21B. PMID: 22114753; PMCID: PMC3206564.

Bellini, M., Tonarelli, S., Barracca, F., Rettura, F., Pancetti, A., Ceccarelli, L., Ricchiuti, A., Costa, F., De Bortoli, N., Marchi, S., & Rossi, A. (2021). Chronic Constipation: Is a Nutritional Approach Reasonable? Nutrients, 13(10), 3386. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13103386

Bharucha AE, Lacy BE. Mechanisms, Evaluation, and Management of Chronic Constipation. Gastroenterology. 2020 Apr;158(5):1232-1249.e3. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2019.12.034. Epub 2020 Jan 13. PMID: 31945360; PMCID: PMC7573977.

Cheong Liu, L. W. (2011). Chronic constipation: Current treatment options. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology, 25(Suppl B), 22B. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3206558/

Forootan M, Bagheri N, Darvishi M. Chronic constipation: A review of literature. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 May;97(20):e10631. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000010631. PMID: 29768326; PMCID: PMC5976340.

He, Y., Zhu, L., Chen, J., Tang, X., Pan, M., Yuan, W., & Wang, H. (2022). Efficacy of Probiotic Compounds in Relieving Constipation and Their Colonization in Gut Microbiota. Molecules, 27(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27030666

Jessurun, J. G., G. Egberts, T. C., Pijl, Y. J., Wilting, I., & Tenback, D. E. (2016). The Relation between Psychiatric Diagnoses and Constipation in Hospitalized Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study. Psychiatry Journal, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/2459693

Pinto Sanchez, M. I., & Bercik, P. (2011). Epidemiology and burden of chronic constipation. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology, 25(Suppl B), 11B. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/974573

Schumann, D., Langhorst, J., Dobos, G., & Cramer, H. (2018). Randomised clinical trial: Yoga vs a low-FODMAP diet in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 47(2), 203-211. https://doi.org/10.1111/apt.14400

Yildirim MA, Cakir M, Bicer M, Senturk M, Yonar H, Gur MN, Akiner ZN, Guldiken A, Karagul HK, Ceri B. Lifestyle and Chronic Constipation in Medical Students. Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2021 Jan 4;2021:4752614. doi: 10.1155/2021/4752614. PMID: 33488699; PMCID: PMC7801071.

Zhang T, Chon TY, Liu B, Do A, Li G, Bauer B, Wang L, Liu Z. Efficacy of acupuncture for chronic constipation: a systematic review. Am J Chin Med. 2013;41(4):717-42. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X13500493. PMID: 23895148.

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