How Do I Cure Constipation AND Diarrhea?
I recently had a reader email me with a question similar to this.
They were dealing with constipation after going Paleo, and they’d taken eaten various foods to try to cure the constipation. And that’s great, because the alternative is being constipated (which can actually be quite dangerous) or taking laxative and supplements, many of which damage the gut lining.
Unfortunately, though, the foods they’d eaten (including prunes) had too much of the desired effect, and the result was diarrhea and an upset stomach.
The answer, unfortunately, is not a simple one.
First of all, constipation can be caused by a number of things. The most common is being dehydrated, which is relatively easy to fix. But there are plenty of other possible causes, including various gut pathologies like Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. And gut pathologies tend to take a little bit of time to properly fix.
A Few Quick Tips For Curing Constipation
In general – since it’s impossible to give any specific recommendations – the following things tend to make a lot of difference:
- Eat more fermented foods. Or at least supplement with probiotics. Rebuilding a proper balance of gut bacteria is incredibly important for everything, and it’s quite possible that constipation is either driven or exacerbated by a dysbiosis of gut bacteria.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat plenty of plants. However, you may find that you do better with only low-carb plant foods. Some starchy plants can exacerbate the problem, particularly if you have SIBO.
- Supplement with Magnesium. Most of the population is deficient in magnesium anyway, and supplementing at night can help you both sleep better and also resolve any constipation. You can take magnesium pills (like these that we get) or take baths with Epsom Salts (like these ones).
If you want more tips, the Sarah Ballantyne has written one of the better articles on this topic. Check it out.
How To Cure Diarrhea
As for the diarrhea, most often that’s a result of eating something that your body just couldn’t handle. In this case, the prunes and other foods eaten to cure the constipation have a lot of natural laxatives and fibers that cause our bodies to expel them quickly.
In other cases, though, there may be more systemic issues like too little bile, which causes fat to not be broken down in the gut, resulting in chronic diarrhea.
In both cases, the first order of business is truly healing the gut. That means eating fermented foods (which provide both prebiotics and probiotics), supplementing (probiotics and perhaps potato starch for resistant starch), eating plenty of plant matter (which provides prebiotics), and eating other foods that heal the gut (bone broth, ginger, liver, etc.).
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