More than 2,500 years ago Hippocrates noted that “the intestines tend to become sluggish with age.” This observation remains true today in the 21st century, with chronic constipation a common health problem, particularly as we grow older.
According to the National Institutes of Health, chronic constipation affects 26 percent of men and 34 percent of women over 65 years of age. And while everyone experiences occasional irregularity, chronic constipation has been shown to severely diminish a person’s perception of their quality of life. Chronic constipation accounts for over 2.5 million physician visits every year, and at least 75 percent of elderly hospitalized patients and nursing home residents use laxatives for bowel regulation. In addition, persons seeking relief from constipation spend more than $800 million per year on laxatives.
Causes of Constipation
Several factors are known to contribute to an age-related increase in the prevalence of chronic constipation. The low-fiber diet commonly consumed throughout the United States, in combination with a generally sedentary lifestyle and poor fluid intake, accounts for a large percentage of older citizens who suffer from chronic constipation.
Prescription medications and over-the-counter preparations can also lead to chronic constipation, especially in older patients who often take several medications on a daily basis. Additionally, health food supplements, vitamins and homeopathic remedies often contain agents that can cause constipation (e.g., anti-cholinergic agents). Additionally, many cases of chronic constipation (i.e., those lasting months or longer) are caused by underlying motility disorders or the use of constipating drugs.
Healthy digestion requires the coordination of a complex pattern of contracting and relaxing muscles in the stomach and intestines (gastric motility) for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Gastrointestinal motility is disrupted when the nerves and muscles of the GI tract fail to function in a strong or coordinated fashion. Motility can be disrupted by stress, inflammation (i.e., Crohn’s disease), disease (i.e. muscular dystrophy, systemic sclerosis and amyloidosis) and from use of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Stimulant laxatives are by far the most frequently prescribed and purchased class of laxatives. These agents promote stooling by altering electrolyte transport in the intestinal mucosa and increasing colonic motility. With chronic use, however, stimulant laxatives may damage the myenteric plexus and result in colonic dysmotility.
Daily Alternative to Laxatives
This unique herbal formula is a safe, gentle and effective herbal laxative for occasional constipation and irregular bowel movements. Chinese doctors have historically treated constipation as an important symptom that needs to be resolved for improved health. After identifying numerous syndromes and causes of constipation they set out to identify those herbs most effective for alleviating constipation.
Dr. Jake Fratkin designed the formula utilizing traditional approaches to regularity. Instead of the strong, harsh purgative effects commonly experienced with western laxatives, the formula works with the body to lubricate and moisten the intestines to provide gentle relief from constipation.