This post is part of the Epilepsy Blog Relay™, which will run from June 1 to June 30, 2018. Follow along!
Getting real about constipation
I’ve been on medication to manage my epilepsy for more than 30 years. On Living Well With Epilepsy we have talked about some of the side effects of epilepsy medications, including sleepiness, dizzyness, forgetfulness and others. But we haven’t really addressed one that is pretty common: constipation.
It’s no surprise that taking a ton of medication every day for 30 years would make for a sensitive tummy. For starters, I have to be pretty careful about what I eat and over the years I have had found some things work better than others for me. So, I thought I would share a few ways I have learned to avoid the ucky feeling in my belly.
A few things to remember: These are tips that work for me. If you try any of the products or suggestions below, they are only my personal experience. I am not a doctor and if you have concerns you should speak to your physician. Also note, Living Well With Epilepsy has not been paid or provided with free product to endorse the products below.
Here are my five tips to help manage constipation.
Try some tea
To get things moving, I use Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move® tea. As they recommend on the box, I generally take the tea at night. I don’t want to end up out somewhere and find I have to go with no bathroom in sight. Also I prefer to add milk because it makes the tea a little sweeter without adding any sugar. The tea usually works for me within 12 hours. I try to keep the tea in the house so I can have it once or twice a week. This literally moves things along for me.
Related: Four top side effects and how to deal with them
Start the day with yogurt and flax meal
I have been having yogurt every morning for a while now because my medication affects calcium absorption. Basically I need to get calcium any way I can. We recently cut way back on carbs so I didn’t have granola in the house and was casting around for something to put in my yogurt. For whatever reason, we had Bob’s Red Mill flax meal in the cabinets. I dumped some of it in my yogurt along with honey and blueberries and was surprised by how much I liked it! Now I try to have it once a day.
I was also surprised to find the flax meal has a laxative properties similar to the senna in the tea. If I keep up with the flax seed I am able to stay on a pretty regular schedule which is not common for me!
Flax Seed Meal Yogurt
- 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup blueberries (or whatever fruit you prefer)
Eat some leafy greens
Kale and other dark leafy greens are great for moving the yuck through your system. And if you are not sure how to work kale into your diet there are some great recipes out there. Recently we started to try cauliflower rice and I was surprised to find the combo of cauliflower rice and kale is delicious! BTW I do not like cauliflower steamed. But I love it riced – who knew? Other greens include spinach which also has lots of calcium. I’ve become very friendly with this one too.
Drink some water
We have all been told to drink more water. I have to really remind myself to drink water. This is not good because it is work for my system to retain water. The least I could do is replenish it every now and again. I have considered setting an alarm to remind myself to drink a glass of water every two hours. I haven’t started doing it but Rachel’s article on side effects made me seriously consider it!
Related: Emily on Smart Monitoring her Epilepsy
Get a little exercise
I have to be honest, I am not great about this one. When the weather is nice and my walking buddy is around sure I’m up for a few miles of walking and chatting. But the rest of the time I don’t make it enough of a priority. This is not good since I need to work on strength building exercises to counteract the calcium deficiencies but that’s a different article. Anyways, I find when I do go for a walk or practice yoga then I am less likely to be constipated.
Related: How running and a keto lifestyle keeps seizures at bay
You aren’t the only one
Sometimes, especially when you have been in the bathroom for a half an hour, it can feel like you are the only one suffering like this. But I swear you are not alone. If you need proof just take a quick peek at the number of articles on the topic of constipation! If you guys have other suggestions please comment here! We could all use a few new ideas every now and then.
Disclaimer: These are tips that work for me. If you try any of the products or suggestions mentioned in the article, remember they are only suggestions from my personal experience. I am not a doctor and if you have questions or concerns you should speak to your personal physician. Also note, Living Well With Epilepsy has not been compensated in any way or provided with free product to endorse the products mentioned here.
NEXT UP: Be sure to check out the next post by Maureen at livingwellwithepilepsy.com.
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Jessica brings a unique perspective to this leading epilepsy blog as she was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teen. She also brings 20+ years experience in marketing.
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