Hello -

I've got a lot of constipation frustrations but this is number one.

First of all, before we even start, take a deep breath, relax, and realize that you're not all alone here. And you're definitely not helpless, even if it sometimes feels that way. Constipation tends to be one of the most frustrating IBS symptoms, and it does take longer to resolve than diarrhea. But - there are many, many ways to help constipation, it just takes a little patience and persistence.

Here's my top frustration: 1. Why aren't soluble fiber supplements overnight wonder drugs?

Soluble fiber supplements (like Acacia Tummy Fiber) can work wonders for constipation, yes. But they are NOT an overnight solution, and they're definitely not drugs. It matters HOW you take them, and it's well worth the time and effort to do it right.)

Here are the best ways to NOT get the results you want:

* Take at a low dose for a few days, then give up because there's no change.

* Go from zero to the maximum dose in one week flat, then give up because it's not working and now you're all bloated and gassy on top of it.

* Start taking one at the same time you stop taking laxatives, enemas, or colon cleanses you've been using regularly, then give up because your constipation is suddenly worse, not better.

The cardinal rule with any soluble fiber supplement is to start at a low dose (for Acacia Tummy Fiber, just 1/2 a level measuring teaspoon, twice daily), and increase gradually. And then KEEP gradually increasing, maybe - eventually - all the way up to 4-5 tablespoons per day. That is not a goal, but it shows you the wide dose range.

Constipation often requires a much higher daily dose than diarrhea, and it can take several weeks, or even a few months, to slowly work your way up to the dose your gut needs.

Soluble fibers are not laxatives, and they will not give "overnight relief", so taking a low dose of one for a few days will not alleviate your symptoms. What it will do is begin to acclimate your gut to a higher daily dose of fiber, and this is the goal. Don't give up as soon as you start - just realize that this is a slow, steady process. You will see improvements along the way.

It's tempting to think that if you need to reach the maximum dose to see the best results, you can just force your body to adjust to a high dose as fast as possible. After all, if your constipation will resolve on a dose of, say, 25 grams a day, and it might typically take someone, say, 8 weeks to reach that dose, you'll be way ahead of the game if you race your way up to that dose in your very first week - right? Nope - wrong.

By definition, if you have IBS, you do not have a normally functioning gut. No matter what your IBS symptoms (constipation or diarrhea, bloating or pain) your GI tract - and specifically, your gastrocolic reflex - is hyper-reactive to normal stimuli.

Your goal should always be to keep your gastrocolic reflex stable so you can soothe and regulate your gut function.

Suddenly overloading your bowel with a fiber dose that is possibly ten times what you were taking before you started will do nothing but give you bloating and gas, as your gut struggles to deal with all of this unexpected fiber. Fiber is, after all, indigestible, and your body needs to work to process it through your digestive tract.

Stop this constipation frustration: Don't ask your gut to go from no soluble fiber supplement to a maximum daily dose too quickly. It's like trying to become a marathon runner by sprinting as hard and as fast as you can without rest. It won't work, you'll be frustrated, and you'll give up.

Instead, go slowly, increase your dose gradually, and keep gradually increasing. Give your body the time and gentle approach it needs to adjust to the increase. You can't beat your colon into submission with IBS. You need to kindly, patiently, and consistently coax it into normal motility. A good tummy fiber can help do this for you if you give it a fair chance.

You are not alone!

P.S. If you have questions or comments I'd love to hear them - just reply to this email to reach me directly. I am overwhelmed with requests but try to answer everyone. For help today please join my private IBS coaching.

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To taming your tummy,

Heather Van Vorous
Heather Van Vorous
Over 40 years dealing with IBS
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