Gastrointestinal disorders: Are you feeling constipated or bloated?

When you eat, first, food breaks down in your stomach. Then, it passes through your intestines. After that, the walls of your intestines absorb the nutrients from the food and what remains as waste passes along to your colon and rectum. This is the normal process of digestion. But, what happens when something goes wrong?

Stress, anxiety, bad habits, medicines and diseases are some of the causes of gastrointestinal disorders such as fecal impaction, bowel obstruction and constipation (the most common one). 

If you suffer from constipation you’re not alone. This is a very common  digestive problem  that affects many people in the world. With few changes in your diet,  lifestyle and with the help of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) you can treat the problem and improve your digestion.

Let´s go deeper.

What is constipation?

Constipation is the slow movement of food sediment through the colon. It leads to increase the absorption of fluids. As a result, it is associated with the accumulation of hard, dry stools in the descending colon. In other words, constipation is the difficulty to eliminate stools. For some people constipation is painful, you may feel bloated and uncomfortably full or inflamed. In addition, you may feel the need to go to the bathroom without being able to.

Types of constipation

Constipation can be organic or functional. 

Organic constipation occurs from pathologic conditions like neoplasms, partial intestinal obstructions, spinal cord compression, metabolic and neurological diseases and pharmacological interventions. It often requires medical or pharmacologic treatment. 

Functional constipation is associated with environmental or behavioral factors that affect your gastrointestinal function. 


Some causes of constipation are:

  • The intake of certain drugs such as pain relievers, antacids, and antidepressants.
  • Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise.
  • Poor diet, low in fiber and rich in sugars.
  • Dehydration. Inadequate water intake.
  • Stress.
  • Irregular hours between meals and inability to listen to the biological rhythm.
  • Jet lag.
  • After surgery as side effect from the anesthesia.

On the other hand, certain diseases that affect the function of the pelvic diaphragm muscles and nerves of the colon directly influence bowel movements leading to constipation, some of them are:

  • Diabetes.
  • Cancer.
  •  Parkinson’s.
  • Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Complications from pelvic or colorectal surgery.
  • Neuromuscular dysfunction of the defecation unit.
  • Spinal cord injuries.
  • Others.

According to the World Health Organization, there is constipation when fewer than three bowel movements occur per week. It is considered a common gastrointestinal disorder. That is to say that, between 2% to 20% of the general population may experience constipation at some point in their lives. Experts estimate that 15% of the population suffers from chronic constipation resulting in fecal impaction. In other words, non-treated constipation can lead to fecal impaction.

What is fecal impaction?

Fecal impaction is the accumulation of dry, hardened stool in your rectum or colon. Your feces become dry and won’t budge, making it impossible to excrete them from your body. As a result, impacted feces block the way for new waste to leave the body, causing it to back up.

One of the most important characteristics of this condition is that patients with fecal impaction may have circulatory, cardiac, or respiratory symptoms rather than gastrointestinal symptoms.  For this reason, ask your GP if you cannot go to the bathroom and you present these symptoms.

How can I treat constipation?

General treatments for constipation include non-pharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals and surgery (in extreme cases). However, simple changes in your lifestyle can make a huge difference, for example:

  • Drink enough water. Effervescent water can be even more efficient.
  • Have a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Eat more fiber.
  • Exercise.
  • Coffee and prunes may help.
  • Create a good bowel habit and listen to your own body (go to the bathroom when you need it, don´t wait).
  • Manual lymphatic drainage.

How Manual lymphatic drainage can help me to get rid of gastrointestinal disorders?

First, your therapist will perform a gentle, deep and firm massage through your abdominal wall. Then, MLD will help your bowel to contract, stretch and loose (feces). So, this process will allow your bowel to eliminate what is blocking it. Also, MLD will help you reduce stress which is one of the main causes of constipation.

Manual lymphatic drainage improves your gastrointestinal health. The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) activity influences the Gastrointestinal functions. Studies have shown that the stimulation of the PNS through Manual Lymphatic Drainage provides constipation relief by: 

  • Increasing intestinal motility .
  • Releasing gas.
  • Relaxing gastrointestinal canal sphincters. 
  • Reducing colonic transit time.
  • Increasing digestive secretions.
  • Relieving pain, inflammation and discomfort.
  • Reducing pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Stimulating the muscle contractions, it increases bowel movements.

At the clinic,  MLD is a direct-type of therapy designed specifically to target your needs, this may explain why it has better effects than other treatments. Lymphatic drainage to the abdomen can also help if you are chronically constipated, bloated, cramped and anxious.

We hope this information is useful for you. If you need advice or have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us 3 mins away from Angel station in Islington. We are always happy to help. If you like this blog, please share!

We are always happy to help!


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