The colon and liver may not be the first things to come to mind when you think about hormonal balance. But if it weren’t for the liver inactivating hormones such as estrogen and your large intestine ushering out the deactivated hormones, they would recirculate through the bloodstream sending outdated messages. Get this, the liver inactivates estrogen by a process called conjugation, but if you have a gut flora imbalance, the nasty buggers can deconjugate the estrogen making then active again and cause estrogen excess!
Do you poop in the morning? When you poop those broken down hormones are disposed of along with the byproducts of what you ate, dead cells, and gut bacteria. The liver processes yesterday’s waste overnight, so ideally, you should have a bowel movement in the morning shortly after waking. “The lining of your large intestine is osmotic in nature, meaning that things can travel in and out through the membrane. If you don’t have an efficient transit time because your liver or large intestine is congested or you’re lacking the necessary nutrients for them to perform their function efficiently, the toxins and other chemicals working their way through this pathway can be reabsorbed into your bloodstream and continue circulating throughout the body. It’s essential that all toxins and hormones be removed, and quickly. In particular, if you’re not metabolizing, breaking down, and removing estrogen as efficiently as possible, an excessive amount will accumulate in the blood stream and lead to menstrual, fertility, and libido issues.” Alisa Vitti WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source
Tip #1 My morning ritual: First thing in the morning (after brushing my teeth) I drink one to two 12 ounce glasses of water with freshly squeezed lemon. Lemon stimulates the bile. Bile is a natural laxative. Make sure you smell the lemon to stimulate your saliva glands. Saliva protects the tooth enable from the incoming acid, it also signals the rest of the digestive tract of incoming substances and to prepare accordingly (read more about the brain and digestion HERE). The filling of the stomach signals the digestive tract to make room by moving out the old through the larger peristaltic (wave-like action) of the colon.
Tip #2 Proper nutrients from whole foods: The liver needs vitamin B6, B12, folate and C, glutathione, zinc, selenium and amino acids from whole foods for proper detoxification. Chronic constipation can be a sign of gut dysbiosis, so see your ND or Functional Medicine practitioner for the proper tests. Once you’ve ruled out a gut flora imbalance, yeast and parasites make sure you are getting enough fermented foods and prebiotic foods. You may also be interested in the fun and informative book, What’s Your Poo Telling You? You will learn, for example, that a poo that looks like soft serve ice-cream, also known as the “Soft Serve” or “Jabba the Poo” may indicate that you have a lactose intolerance. The book also covers poos like the “Snake, Log Jam, Chocolate Surprise, Corn-Backed Rattler and more. 🙂
Tip #3 Sit less, move more: When we sit all day our internal organs suffer. Especially if we sit slumped in a chair! Check out the Don’t Just Sit There program, your guts (butt and pelvis) will love you for it.
Tip #4 Belly Massage: Getting an abdominal massage from a skilled practitioner can help with transit time and organ motility. I often combine specific colon motility techniques with gentle liver “pumping” to aid in the detoxification process. Belly massage also helps us to move out unprocessed emotions that may be getting in the way of our digestive process.
Still constipated? Check out my Constipation A.K.A. Log Jam article.