My previous post about toilet bidets focused on the end of the digestive process. Today, let's go back to the beginning.

The pain of constipation

Arthritic hip pain impacts my quality of life less than a few days of constipation. Fortunately, the frequent bouts of unpleasant irregularity that plagued much of my life practically disappeared when I started taking the over-the-counter, serotonin-boosting supplement 5-HTP after my Parkinson's diagnosis in 2009.

Since constipation is a common non-motor symptom of PD, the relief from 5-HTP was a special blessing.

Late last year, I tried going without that supplement for a month. Within a few days, constipation came roaring back. My geriatrician recommended Senokot—the non-prescription laxative containing senna—and the stool softener Colace. Neither did much good.

The only thing that helped was returning to 5-HTP. But it needs help to keep me regular.

I've used Metamucil crackers at bedtime, but they require lots of fluid to wash them down . . . intake that means additional bathroom visits during the night.

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Recently, I've found the most effective, natural bedtime concoction to keep things moving.

Just before hitting the sack, I mix several tablespoons of applesauce with a tablespoon of powdered Metamucil and a tablespoon of chia seeds. This combo works better than anything else I've ever tried.

Chia seeds

My housemates introduced me to chia seeds. Never heard of chia seeds? They were a dietary staple for Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs. Chia is the Mayan word for strength.

Internet reports from nutritionists suggest that chia seeds can do more than promote regularity. Other reported benefits:

  • Two times more protein than any other seed or grain
  • Almost all the carbohydrates in the seeds are fiber, which is not digested by the body
  • High in calcium
  • Helps with thyroid conditions
  • Keeps blood sugar levels balanced
  • Can help with weight loss
  • Benefits those who have diabetes and those for whom diabetes runs in the family