Warning: This blogpost is about poop. (If you are a Cub Scout-aged boy, that means it's really awesome!) But the simple truth is we should all poop. Pooping is good for us---in fact, it is essential to our health. Unfortunately, pooping is not effortless for some people---and that's called constipation. You should have a bowel movement one to three times each day. That bowel movement should not be over-poweringly smelly. It should be well-formed and resemble a long sausage. Little stones or grape-like shape is still constipation. Watery or loose stools are diarrhea, and that's not healthy poop either.
Bowel movements are a very important way for your body to discard wastes and toxins---and it needs to do its job in order for the rest of our system to function efficiently. I read once that if you were standing behind a car that was shooting smoke out of the exhaust pipe---and that smoke smells putrid and is a horrid dark color, you pretty well know that SOMETHING is wrong with the internal workings of that vehicle. You may not know WHAT is wrong, or HOW to fix it, but you KNOW that car needs help.
Same is true for children. If what is coming out the back end isn't healthy, then something is going WRONG in the internal workings of your child. Something else I thought worthy of mention is that when you're in traffic, you want to get AWAY from the car that smells bad and is belching noxious exhause---and the same is often true of kids with constipation issues. Why? Because of the smell? Well, sometimes that is certainly an issue. But there is more.
Now we get to the heart of what I felt so strongly about writing this morning. Digestive issues, including constipation, are directly related to behavior issues! This can't be emphasized enough. Whenever a child has disruptive behavior, poor social connections, wide mood swings, depression, etc. there is a VERY high chance that digestion is the culprit. If not the sole culprit, then at the very least a partner in crime. Please do not under-estimate this important factor of health---including MENTAL health. There are endless studies pointing to nutrition combined with exercise as the most reliable CURE for depression. The side effects are all positive. Anti-depressants are proven to be riddled with terrible side effects, short-term effectivness and expensive!
There are many, many facets of good digestion and making sure you/your child is completely emptying their bowels EVERY DAY. The types of food eaten, the amount of water, the types of food to AVOID, supplements, exercise, etc. The answers are not the same for every child, but it is VERY important for you to find the answers for your child.
Recently, I had an infected tooth and was on anti-biotics for 20 days. Although I had seriously NEVER been constipated before in my entire life, the anti-biotics resulted in some real struggles in the bathroom department for me. And my attitude was in the tank! Everything and everyone annoyed me. I was impatient and frustrated easily. All of a sudden, I was much more understanding of what people with chronic digestive disorders deal with. Poop moved WAY up my priority list when I realized the stress it placed on my entire system---with the symptoms being my behavior.
Here are some good things to consider when dealing with constipation:
1. Nutrition---get ALL junk and sugar out of the diet. They are AWFUL for your system. Yes, a healthy system can detox a certain amount of poor eating. However, if there are issues, stay away from these toxic loads.
2. Water---Drink 1/2 ounce of water for every pound your/your child's weight EVERY DAY. Example: A person weighing 100 pounds should drink no less than 50 ounces of water each day.
3. Probiotics---The friendly bacteria that help with digestion. They also keep yeast at bay. I like Primal Defense by Garden of Life. There are many good ones. Do your research and take a GOOD probiotic.
4. Oxypowder---This is a natural cleanser without negative side effects frequently associated with laxatives. You will likely have to purchase this on the Internet. We've used this in our home and found it to be really effective. You can use a maintenance dose of this also.
There is a lot more information available that is important for understand and resolving constipation issues. But what I learned from my own experience is that this is an ESSENTIAL. We cannot expect our children to function happily or sometimes even function at all when there are toxins backing up in their system. If your child is struggling in any area, please monitor their bowel movements and take hasty action if you see any issues with constipation or diarrhea.
I can report a relief in my mood and attitude once I resolved this issue for myself. Consider this high on the list whenever you see any unwanted behaviors in your child.
Some good reading material: Healing & Preventing Autism by Jenny McCarthy & Dr. Jerry Kartzinel. This has an excellent chapter entitled "Poop: The Whole Story on Constipation, Diarrhea and Your Kid's Behavior".