Constipation – it’s not sexy but we do need to let go!

By Jane Keep, London, UK. 

As a little girl I was regularly constipated. It was painful and uncomfortable. On and off through my life I continued to have bouts of constipation, although this is very rare nowadays.

When I was constipated, I could feel the strain and tension this put on my whole body, not just my bowels and their opening (or not)! I felt sluggish, lethargic, at times restless and my skin and hair were dull.

It’s odd when you consider it – if someone asked me to store my garbage bin in my bedroom I’d shriek with horror. Or if someone asked me to have a bath in water amongst the contents of my food recycle bin I’d cringe with disgust, yet, constipation is holding onto waste material that is no longer natural for the body to hold onto. If we would not have our garbage in our bedroom, then why would we want to hold onto waste in our body longer than is natural? We can shower, bathe and be clean on the outside, but if we are holding onto waste on the inside, our health will still be affected despite the outer appearances.

Constipation is a common condition, affecting people of all ages. Simply defined it means that we are not passing stools regularly, or that we are unable to completely empty our bowel. Other symptoms can include stomach aches, cramps, feeling bloated, nauseous, sick, and a loss of appetite.1

It is difficult to put statistics onto constipation, but “it’s estimated that around one in every seven adults and up to one in every three children in the UK has constipation at any one time. The condition affects twice as many women as men and is also more common in older adults and during pregnancy”.2 The figures are probably a lot higher as it is possible that constipation is just accepted as a ‘normal’ consequence of daily living nowadays and not mentioned to doctors or medical practitioners.

There are a number of lifestyle factors that can contribute to constipation including lack of exercise and dietary fibre, dehydration, inadequate rest and sleep and ignoring or overriding the body’s natural urge to pass stools. In addition, there can be medical conditions like anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions as well as side effects of medications that contribute to constipation.

As well as the way we live, the way we are in the world also has a role to play here – as constipation is also the consequence of holding on to our hurts and literally not letting go of things in our life that no longer serve us.

In modern times there are many ‘remedies’ for constipation, such as diets high in fibre, laxatives, suppositories, and enemas. There are people who have lived on laxatives all their lives because of constipation – yet they are still stuck in a cycle of constipation, as the underlying issues have not been addressed.

If we are willing to address these issues, listening to our body will support us, as will becoming aware of whether there are any patterns to our constipation; are there any times of day, the week, or the year when it becomes more prevalent? Does it come on after a difficult experience or really stressful time? Does it come on when we have been too busy to take care of our basic physiological needs?

But the question still remains… why do we choose to hold onto waste longer than is natural? Why are we not ‘letting go’? More so, perhaps there is a simple question to be asked at these times: What am I holding onto? What do I not want to let go of? It may well be that whilst there are physical factors to constipation, the way we are in life, our ability to ‘let go’ literally could be a key underlying factor in many, if not all, causes of constipation and one that is worthy of deeper consideration. Clues to this may also be whether we dwell on things from the past, undealt with resentments for example, or do we hold onto material possessions that are ‘past their sell by date’ and no longer serve us – do we hold onto clutter in our daily lives? Do we bury issues or hurts so deeply, and in that hold onto them more than we consciously realise?

Constipation is possibly one of the most unsexy topics of conversation to have(!) yet, it is much needed. If we spoke with one another honestly about these so called common ailments – and found a place of honesty about whether we are holding on, or not letting go, or burying our issues, or not allowing our life to flow in some way… we may just find that it is not medication, fibre, enemas etc that we need to free us up – but, a different way of being in the world, with a new relationship with ourselves of understanding, allowing, and letting go. I know the more honest I have become, and the more I take care of myself and my daily living choices, the more I can see if I am holding onto something, not letting go, or not in the natural, true flow of life – at which point I can deepen my understanding, make changes and new choices in my life to allow things to flow again.

Constipation may not be sexy – but we do need to let go!

Read more:

  1. What is gluten sensitivity? 
  2. The De-cluttering Diet 



722 thoughts on “Constipation – it’s not sexy but we do need to let go!

  1. Yes, I find myself really considering how much we hold on to that we actually take as normal, the ways of living, thinking and behaving that have been habits for so long we don’t even consider them to be unsupportive. As I read your blog I felt something unravel and I can see today will be a fresh opportunity to clear out some old patterns of behaviour that no longer serve. I suspect I will need to be near a bathroom!

  2. It is interesting how constipation is considered a ‘normal’ part of life, with only some consideration in relation to its connection with our lifestyle choices and very few relate it to holding onto hurts. It is highlighting how crucial it is to let go of anything in our life that no longer serves or supports us and to deepen our awareness and relationship with our body that communicates so well when we are holding onto a issue to let it go.

  3. The body is great at communicating the fact that how we think, move, act and the emotions we try to control or carry with us all has an effect on us physically. If these things affect us physically, then they must be affecting other people too. Thus, the body is a master at making life about energy in form and showing us that we are a product of our choices.

    1. I love what you say here Rachael – “Thus, the body is a master at making life about energy in form and showing us that we are a product of our choices.” So true.

  4. It is strange how we avoid conversations like constipation, menopause, death and all the other common things we all experience at one time or another. Of course not all men experience menopause directly but they still get their version or via friends. Why do we not share our experiences and look at these things that so directly affect us but are quite happy to talk about sport, the moon and the latest fad or TV show?

      1. The Unimedpedia is such an awesome resource. I love how it is encouraging me to look at the real meanings of words and to understand how their meanings have been manipulated and bastardised over time to often mean the opposite of what they originally meant. It is no wonder that we have lost the sense of truth being absolute which it is and opted for a relative truth instead and often even accepted a complete lie. When we remove the truth in words we lose our foundations so the Unimedpedia is a fundamental building block to re-establishing truth in life, for without truth in words, we are all lost.

  5. Yes we do need to talk about it and yes I agree we need to get so much better at letting go of our stuff. It is still emerging in the science world what our bodies have been sharing with us of eons. That if we ruminate and lament on things, over analyse, hold grudges against people and not let them go, they clog up our own bodies with poison. This is not a good look for us, because it just constipates us, so let’s go for it and let go.

    1. Well said Raegan. How different our appointments with doctors would be if we lived with this knowing of our body. How different our conversations would be if we brought that degree of honesty – e.g. Ive been holding onto this hurt for years and I can feel it is impacting on the way my body flows (or doesnt).

  6. It is amazing how each part of the body can tell us about the whole of our life. Unfortunately this has not been made common practice or conversation. It’s not a sexy topic, but one that can help raise the bar on the quality of life we have thus far accepted to be much less. Living with constipation is not normal, otherwise why would it be classed as a condition and not a natural state?

  7. Great to read this today Jane, thank you for sharing your experience here. I’m struck by how we talk about our ailments and how if we were to go underneath and get really honest we could offer ourselves and those around us a different perspective, so as you say with constipation, what is it we’re holding onto that we do not let go – that is such a healthy conversation to have and yes we get any medical help we need but the real medicine is how we live and if we stop and look at that we put ourselves in a place of power and take our part and ensure that over the long term we address the underlying issues which led to the physical symptoms in the first place.

  8. In order to accept and surrender to the natural flow of life and therefore in my body, I have to let go of the idea life is about struggling my way through and working on my issues etc., instead of living from the knowing everything is taking care of when I live in the fullness of who I am.

  9. Thanks for writing on a topic that is often spoken of in private or ignored even though it is a natural part of our human form and physicality. There is so much more to observe here than the medical word ‘constipation’. The feelings that are noted in the body make sense as the way we have been living – holding on to, not letting go of, or whatever may be the feeling one gets the body, remains unbiased and continues to show us the signs of our ills.

  10. Thank you Jane, for defining constipation not only as not being able to pass stools but also the poignant fact of ‘or not emptying the bowels completely’. I have regular bowel motions, however recently have felt ‘constipated’ and can feel that yes, my bowels are not emptying completely and that there are definitely aspects of life that I am holding onto, am attached to and seek comfort in and struggle to let go because to do so would be to release the control and predicated outcomes for the future and open myself up to greater uncertainty (in the temporal life). It feels time to let go of needing life to be any certain way, to expressing openly and honestly and honouring everything I feel, deeply so.

    1. Great point Susan – we can feel that we aren’t constipated just because we do have bowel motions, but there are still indicators that may say there is more to let go of, or more flow needed, or a review of our food (e.g. as I find some foods don’t flow well in my body, they ‘stuff me up’). We can actually have diarrhoea and not realise that it is because we are constipated or the bowel is so congested that we then have very loose stools because of that – not because we have true flow!

  11. When you read more than one article of constipation in a day… Well you start to feel that someone is trying to tell you something… And let’s face it there is always something more to let go of, always a little bit of control that we haven’t noticed that is affecting out life.

    1. It is simply the ‘self’ learning to let go of itself (its self) so that it can surrender back into the Divinity it/we first separated from.

  12. Does it matter if it isn’t sexy! I would say it’s really valuable to talk about what we are holding onto in our lives. So maybe expression is key in this to nominate and express to either ourselves or others what we are holding onto and why because as you share as soon as we do this we can let all the garbage go.

    1. It feels great to just express to support in letting go of what we are holding onto. The more we express the more body frees up and the body then no longer is constipated.

      1. yes! isn’t that the point – it’s not just what we eat, or drink, – if we don’t express what we feel, we are also holding on, so that is another form of holding on that can clog up our digestive and all systems in the body.

  13. It’s amazing how precisely our bodies communicate with us, each organ and part literally telling us exactly what is happening, and what is needed. From the many processes of the body we can learn much about ourselves, and if we choose to ignore the first signs, the communications will increase, e.g. constipation and further dis-eases of the bowel and body, until we listen to and act upon the information being given to us from our bodily discomforts and dis-eases.

  14. I agree that this is such an important topic to discuss between us all. Holding on that which no longer serves us is something that we all can relate to, and very likely all still do from time to time, my hand is up here. But as you have shared this is a toxic relationship to entertain, as in holding on we are holding back the greater depth of ourselves that we can be living, in connection to the flow of life we are part of. We have been bestowed with a gift in our bodies, and the more we openly, honestly, share and discuss the conditions and reflection we feel in our bodies the greater understanding we have our ourselves whether the choices we are making are supporting us to move and be with the flow of life.

  15. We hold on to patterns and behaviours as they provide a form of safety and security when issues come up in life, but this approach goes against the natural pull of evolution that is constantly asking us to digest life and let go that which is no longer needed in order to create space to be more of who we are.

  16. When I am constipated my body tells we loud and clear, I feel heavy and lethargic, my colon feels tight and I feel bloated. My body feels dehydrated and my mood feels pretty low. It’s crazy how I get all these signs and yet sometimes I just continue to ignore, until I feel really awful in my body. My body does not judge me, but it is still standing by and not giving up on me.

  17. When we are willing to see the true causes of our ailments we have an opportunity to change our bodies and the way we are in life.

  18. It is beautiful how illnesses have often a very simple and practical way of relating to life. Constipating relating to not letting go, holding onto things and not allowing flow makes sense and it is great to ask ourselves if this could be the case when we have constipation, aside from the medical support if needed.

  19. The pathway to our true evolution – returning to the great love that we are – is a process of surrender, of ‘letting go’ of all that has come to stand in the way of who we truly are. ‘Holding on’ whether it be to people, situations or certain behaviours, is a method we employ to halt this process. A process that can never be stopped, only delayed. Our journey back to Soul is inevitable but we are in control of the speed of which we do that and it is this ownership that we cling to knowing full well that when we are safely home, there is no ‘self’ in our true self, only Oneness. Hence the game is revealed.

    1. Well said Liane – and yes, it feels like constipation is a delay – as in the end it comes out – but, by holding on we delay the flow, that would be natural for our body and in that reflection we can feel that we are ‘in delay’ in our whole body, not just in the bowels.

  20. There are many people who suffer from constipation, and what you bring to light here is that we are actually contributing to the constipation ourselves, when we hold onto things physically or mentally we hold our body back from letting go too.

  21. The only way to create space in our lives is to allow ourselves to constantly let go, starting by letting go the need of controlling the process

  22. Looking at illnesses from every angle, including the way we emotionally and physically deal with life makes sense. I would love to see some practical experiments with a group of people working on letting go, over a number of months and seeing if there was any change in the condition? This is not a sexy subject but it is a needed discussion and probably one that most people feel like they cannot talk about, it’s great that you are opening up this topic for people to share or at least to open their awareness to.

  23. If constipation is not letting go of things, which makes perfect sense, then is diarrhoea the opposite? Constipation can either be short or long term and feels to be showing the same thing just the intensity changes. When diarrhoea is a short term thing that makes sense i.e. a letting go or a clearing of something but if diarrhoea is long term it no longer feels like a letting go.

  24. Holding back expression is definitely a way to block up the body when we have something to say, but choose to not express all of what we felt, or to water it down in some way.

  25. It’s extraordinary how many things we can pass off as normal just because so many more of the world experience something compared to those that do not. The question is why we accept this as being okay…. it seems as if we have lost connection with knowing that there is so much more than what we have willingly settled for… and as such have given up looking to reveal the truth under the layers we live, like you have done so brilliantly here.

    1. Absolutely Samantha, we have lost the awareness that our bodies are constantly communicating to us with the purpose of pulling us up and raising us to a higher degree of awareness.

  26. This feels a very important topic to highlight and bring to people’s attention and linking the fact that the way in which we are living and the choices we make all have an huge effect on our body. The more we listen and honour how we are feeling within our body the more our body naturally lets go of what does not belong and that does not truly support us.

    1. I agree Linda, it may seem obvious in some ways that the way we are, our daily choices impact on how our body flows (or not) but many years ago I was so busy I never stopped to consider that there is always cause and effect – a ripple effect of everything we do is felt/held in our body.

  27. I would love to be in a world where we could be open, honest and true without certain conversations being uncomfortable, like constipation for the more we can talk about things the less of an issue they are.

  28. Constipation is just one of many ways in which the body communicates with us that there is something in our lives that we need to look at and specifically to let go of because holding on to it is harming us.

    1. I agree Doug – as simple as that – in addition to all the other signs it gives us like the colour of our urine, or whether we have a runny nose, or spots etc – yet how often do we really listen to what the body is showing us?

  29. Constipation does have a big drain on the whole body, it makes it difficult to concentrate, you feel sluggish and tired and easily distracted. This is the same with holding onto emotional issues, it takes a toll on the body. Learning to live and let go is key and to allow things to be as they are, not needing to control or have things a certain way.

  30. I became aware today – thanks to the wisdom of an esoteric healing practitioner – of my normalisiation of constipation (having been a condition that has been present for much of my adult life) is more than not letting go, although this has been a significant part of it. Underlying this is an attachment to my physicality, to feeling full, for what better way to feel full than to literally not clear out the waste. I have been feeling much much lighter within myself, and deeply enjoying the space I’ve been allowing within my body, so this current ‘episode’ of constipation is a reaction to feeling this space. A reaction to formlessness. Makes so much sense and is supporting me to be super-understanding of myself.

    1. Thank you for sharing Lucy, this makes sense to me. Not wanting to feel the space, the lightness that is just there when we accept and allow this connection to being divine. I can eat in this way, to be full and holding on to this ‘fullness’ by not letting it go when it needs to go is definitely something I will look at as being constipated is something I experience quite a lot.

  31. We can even hold onto tension in our body and I find this doesn’t help my digestion and subsequent release. Like holding my jaw tight or going about my day with scrunched toes. If theres a refusal to let go of how I hold my body there can be constipation.

  32. ” What am I holding onto? What do I not want to let go of?” Although not a constipation sufferer I am aware I have ‘stuff’ in my house that I am unwilling to let go of – stuff that no longer serves me. Just this week I have asked for support in this arena – and although I feel trepidation I know I need to be to tackling this area of my life right now.

  33. With the amount of holding on that goes on in the world… Surely constipation must be much more rife then we know about… Maybe it’s one of those things that people just don’t talk about.

    1. or maybe it is ‘normal’ not to go regularly – so it is not actually thought of as constipation, just that some people go more regularly than others and that is ‘normal’.

  34. Holding back starts from when we are very young as I work with very young children and they even suffer from it, and I will bring it up with parents by asking, so is anything happening at home thats changed, so that they get to see, it may not just be food that is causing it.

  35. ‘I know the more honest I have become, and the more I take care of myself and my daily living choices, the more I can see if I am holding onto something, not letting go, or not in the natural, true flow of life – at which point I can deepen my understanding, make changes and new choices in my life to allow things to flow again.’ Recently I became aware, and reading your blog Jane is confirming this, that my body is giving me very clear messages to deepen the relationship I have with my body which means to honour what it is showing me in all kind of ways and start to be more honest and take care for what has been given me, a vehicle of expression for all that I am.

  36. I find there are times I have to urge to have a poo in the most inconvenient of times. Yet when I honour this urge I realise the timing is perfect as it is literally a moment my body is asking me to take for me to let go and come back to me. Our bodies really do love us!

    1. Its a great indicator isn’t it Joshua when our body asks us to pay attention e.g. in going to the toilet. The body never does things for nothing so there is always something to pay attention to.

  37. There really is so much to appreciate about our bodies, they do such an amazing job under some harsh circumstances at times, but they still keep us going lovingly.

  38. To be chronically constipated is a bit like suffering from insomnia. When you go to sleep you are not sure that you will be able to sleep at all and then you do not and you carry that through the whole day with you. You go to the bathroom with the uncertainty of will this work? And it may not work and you carry it with you all day long. What we learn is to naturalize the fact of not being able to sleep and of not being able to poo, when there is nothing natural about either one of them. This is also what we have to let go if we want to move forward.

  39. It is a great understanding Jane, that constipation is a message that there could be some underlying issues of life which have not been addressed. If GP’s took this wisdom into their consulting rooms, there would be a brilliant change of the present culture where most people who visit the GP come out with packets of tablets to sort out the problem.

    1. I agree Gill – and a potentially different conversation with the GP if they asked us – ‘what have you been holding onto?’ or ‘what are you not willing to let go of’?

  40. Having had constipation on and off throughout my life, having understanding that it’s about letting go, is truly supportive. When I have a bout of constipation, I ask myself ‘what am I holding onto’? When I am able to read this accurately, the constipation ceases… every time!

  41. So many issues need to be expressed openly so we can work-out how we can release and let go with an openness so we can all evolve without reacting but responding, then we can release what ever we have been holding onto..

  42. Thank you Jane for taking the conversation about constipation to a deeper level! The exploration of the relationship between disharmony in the body and our lifestyle is a worthy one in my view – and our bodies have a lot to say if we are willing to listen and ‘read’ their messages.

  43. I love this Jane, and realise reading it that we need a whole other approach to body ailments, that it’s not just about getting whatever medical assistance we may need, but having those conversations with each other where we ask in the case of constipation where are we not letting go. We could really support and expand each other if we talked in this way.

  44. I agree there is certainly more to constipation than just what we eat, drink, how we exercise or not… those are all factors and valid ones at that that do need attention but there is also the way we are in the world as you say, how we react or respond to life, it’s situations, experiences, relationships, that have just as real an effect on our health.

  45. You have started a great conversation here Jane, and I bet the more we talk about subjects like this and the more open we can all be, the more we would find that people are suffering quite unnecessarily and with just a few lifestyle changes could lead much different healthier lives.

  46. A great point to highlight Jane, when we relate constipation to holding onto hurts and things that do not belong in our body it underlines the importance of taking care and nurturing ourselves by listening to and developing a deeper relationship with our body so that we feel impulsed to make more loving choices that truly support us and willingly let go of what we have taken on that is not true.

  47. Talking about patterns of constipation. When I was very young, I would suffer from constipation as we moved a lot up until the age of 14, but it has only been the last five years that I realised it was the anxiousness of moving that stopped everything. Even though I do not feel anxious in myself and feel confident in my abilities to travel, even to this day, I will not be able to go the morning I travel and then hold on until I get where I am going. While writing this, I have also realised that it is only on the outward bound journey and not the return journey.

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