Constipation in Thyroid Health

Are you eating enough?

Stand up for a moment and place your hands on your hips.  Now put your right hand above the hip on the soft part of your waist, that is about the area when your large intestine begins, then trace your hand up to your ribs (ascending colon) to below your breasts then go across to the left side of the ribs (transverse colon) and straight down (descending colon) to where your left hand is on your hip.  It is about 1.5 metres long.

This large tube is a succession of pouches called Haustra.  Like these Roman Blinds with the cords that when you pull, the curtain goes up and forms pouches.

Haustra looking blinds with folds like the colon


Two types of movement propels the semi-fluid mixture called chyme (say KIM) along to its’ final destination.

The first is when these pouches are filled up enough, the distention causes the walls to contract and the contents are pushed onto the next pouch.  The second is the muscles of the intestine (like the cords in the roman blinds) that provide contractions along the whole of the large intestine squeezing the chyme along called peristalsis.

Can you now understand why you need volume for this process to work?  The large intestine requires that distention of the walls for the contraction to propel the chyme along.Are you eating regularly?

Peristalsis, mentioned earlier, is initiated by food in the stomach.  During or after a  meal a mass pertistaltic action takes place which quickly propels the sitting chyme from the transverse colon (the part of the colon going across from right to left) down to the end of the colon to the rectum.


Are you drinking enough water?

If you are not passing a stool daily, straining or sitting on the toilet too long it may be due to lack of fluid.

My textbook tells me that about 9.3 Litres of water enter the small intestine each day coming from ingestion of liquids 2.3 Litres and other gastrointestinal secretions (7.0 Litres).1   Did you read that………. “Ingestion from liquids 2.3 Litres.”  Do you drink that much?  Do you drink extra water for every coffee or tea (herbals okay) that you drink?

Constipation caused by dehydration also affects thyroid function

The body’s secretions in a day are 1 litre for saliva, 2 Litres for gastric juice, Bile 1 Litre, Pancreatic juices 2 Litres, Intestinal juice 1 Litre, Small Intestine a whooping 8.3 Litres and Large Intestine 900ml.  Total 9.2 Litres.   Only 100ml is excreted with feces.1

You don’t get good results by cleaning your dishes in minimal dirty dishwater, why treat your body that way.  Drink fresh filtered (no plastics please) water.

By the way, dehydration has already occurred before the sensation of thirst is noticed. 1


Are you toilet trained?

Do you listen and act on your urges?  Are you rushing out the door and don’t have time or hate going anywhere but to your own toilet.

As you are aware you can control when to open the bowel. If you do not ‘go’ when the green lights say too, the stool will sit back and wait until you are ready.  This can cause excessive water re-absorption causing hard dry stools which make the end result take longer and may cause haemorrhoids from straining.

Pick a time of a day that suits and routinely take time to retrain the bowel.

Thyroid function causes constipation with long times in the outhouse


Are you exercising?

Regular physical activity tones up the muscles and reflexes and keeps peristalsis active.


Do you take Medications?

Some medications that may be causing constipation are 15

Prescription – Opiates, Anticholinergics, Tricyclic antidepressants, Calcium channel blockers, Sympathomimetics, Antipsychotics, Diuretics, Antihistamines.

Over the Counter (OTC) – Antacids, especially calcium containing, Calcium supplements, Iron supplements, Antidiarrheal agents, NSAIDS.

Drugs that may cause constipation and affect Thyroid function


Are you getting enough fibre?

There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fibre has a gel consistency and tends to slow the movement of digested matter through the tract. Examples are beans, oats, barley, broccoli, prunes, apples and citrus fruits.1

Insoluble fibre is structural parts of plants which tend to sweep through the colon unchanged and increases the speed through the tract. Examples are fruit and vegetable skins and bran coating around wheat and corn kernels.1

 Nutrient dense vegetables to enhance Thyroid Function


Are you holding on to emotions?

Louise Hay writes that for every condition in the body there is a NEED FOR IT. Otherwise, we would not have it.  The symptom is only an outer effect. We must go within to dissolve the mental cause.  Work on the WILLINGNESS TO RELEASE THE NEED for constipation, prior to begin the new thought pattern affirmation.8

Her interpretation of Constipation is “Refusing to release old ideas. Stuck in the past.  Sometimes stinginess.”8

Affirmation:  As I release the past, the new and fresh and vital enter.  I allow life to flow through me.8

Annette Noontil in her book The Body is the Barometer of the Soul, So Be Your Own Doctor II, writes that constipation is “A bottling up of what you want to say, and not saying it.9


What can I do to improve my bowel action?

Eat more foods that lubricate the Intestine3

Alfalfa sprouts











Pine nut



Sesame seed/oil




Eat more foods which promote bowel movement3


Black sesame seed

Bran from oats, wheat or rice


Castor oil





Sweet potato


Eat more Flora enhancing foods3


Chlorophyll-rich foods – wheat grass, dark greens, micro-algae (wild blue-green and spirulina) and alfalfa greens

Dairy yoghurt





Seed yoghurt


Try these probiome enriching Recipes

Lactobacillus Starter Culture – Whey Derived11

1 Ingredient

1 jar


  • 1 litre milk (biodynamic, organic, unhomgenised, unpasteurised)


It is critical to use unhomogenised, unpasteurised milk to make your culture, as these processes kill the friendly bacteria which you need to make whey.

Place the milk in a warm place away from direct sunlight.  Leave the milk for 2-4 days.  The milk will curdle and separate, giving you half curds and half whey.

Whey is the clear yellowy liquid.  Strain the mixture through a strainer lined with cheesecloth, muslin or a clean tea towel.

Gather the cheesecloth up and tie some string around it and hand it up so that whey strains out.  (You can use the curds as a delicious soft cheese by adding a pinch of celtic sea salt).

Store the whey in the fridge as needed.  It will keep for up to 6 months.

They whey is your lactobacillus starter culture, from which you can develop your own healthy lactobacillus drinks, supplements, vegetables and ferments.

** You can also purchase potent probiotic cultures to obtain natural and friendly bacteria.

** With all ferments, if they start smelling bad, discard them.  Bad Bacteria smell – Good bacteria don’t!



To make approximately 3 Cups

1 Cup Wheat berries (organic wheat)

3 Cups spring or filtered water

A container – a glass jar with a wide mouth

Gluten in Wheat affects Thyroid function


  1. Wash seed by rinsing well and scrub seeds with hands to remove any out residue in a bowl. Allow dead seeds to float to top and skim them off and discard – they will not promote fermentation.
  2. Place the wheat in the large glass jar and fill with the filtered water
  3. Soak the wheat berries for the first time for 48 hours. (The seed is becoming porous)
  4. Cover the jar with a sprouting screen top or muslin
  5. Keep in a dark quiet place. You will start to notice that the water water will get cloudy and little bubbles will start forming.
  6. After 48 hours pour off your rejuvelac. Use for that day.  It needn’t be refrigerated, but will keep several days if it is.
  7. Pour another 2 cups of spring or filtered water into the jar. Allow water to ferment only 24 hours before pouring off.
  8. Repeat 24hr cycles for 3 days, so wheat berries are soaked a total of 3 times.

In summer the warmer temperature will increase the fermentation time.  Reduce the first 48 hours to 36 and the following 24 hour cycles to 16 hours each. You may like to experiment with millet, oats, rice, barley, rye, buckwheat etc.


Simple Sauerkraut11

2 Ingredients

2 large jars

60 Minutes Total Time

Saurkraut beneficial for gut microbiome in Thyroid health


  • 2 Kilograms cabbage (2-3 kg of shredded cabbage)
  • 2 Tablespoons sea salt


You will also need: Mason jars with airlocks.

Finely shred the cabbage and place it in a bowl in batches, sprinkling each batch with a layer of sea salt. When you are finished with the shredding, use your hands to massage it well until it breaks down and becomes soft (about 10 minutes). Pack very tightly into jars, pushing all of the cabbage down until it is completely submerged by liquid.

Tighten the lid and ensure the airlock is installed properly. Let ferment on the countertop for 3-4 weeks, at which point you can remove the airlock and put a regular lid on it. It will keep for a few months in the refrigerator.

Variations: The possibilities of fermented vegetables are endless – you can use different types of cabbage, carrots, beets, garlic, ginger, and many other vegetables in different combinations to make a rich array of probiotic foods.


 Avoid these foods3

All products with baking soda/powder, alcohol, tea, yeasted breads, refined white foods – white flour products, white sugar, white rice

This is a general guide, those with coeliacs or non-coelic gluten sensitivity should avoid gluten in oats, barley and bran coating on wheat and corn kernals


Other Remedies to check out if you are still ‘stuck’

Powerful Laxative (Cathartic) herbs

Cascara bark – acts on the peristaltic movement4

Rhubarb root – taken in small doses it tones the intestinal wall, promotes appetite and can disperse any developing gas4

Senna – promotes peristalsis movement via the blood stream rather than local irritation6

Aloe – In small doses, it gives tone to intestinal muscle. In larger doses, it becomes a strong purgative, increasing colonic secretions and peristaltic contractions in the large intestine. It is harsher on the system than other anthraquinone laxatives, such as cascara and senna.15

The above herbs should be used in extreme cases and under qualified supervision.7 They are not to be prescribed for long term use and Contra-Indications may apply.


Bulk Catharthic Herbs

 These work by absorbing fluid, creating bulk and thus stimulating fecal movement.7

Slippery Elm – is also a source of water soluble and insoluble fibre5

Flax, fenugreek13 and psyllium – are highly nourishing demulcent seeds.3

Mix equal portions

Soak 3 Tblsp and eat once or twice daily

If you just have one of the seeds then do the same as above once or    twice daily

These are a preferred option to dependence on bran.7


Living Flower Essences

Dampiera  “The freedom of letting go”

Physically – apply to lower abdomen to relieve constipation, oral doses for chronic problem. 10


These essences to be used in combination on the Ear (Auricular) – Acu point for constipation10

Red Beak Orchid – Embracing wholeness

Red & Green Kangaroo Paw – The quality of closeness

Start’s Spider Orchid – The direct approach


Homoepathics  indicated with Constipation symptom14

Alumina – (Oxide of Aluminium) – Hard, dry knotty, no desire

Apis Mellifica (The Honey-Bee) – feels as if something would break on straining

Arsenicum Album (Arsenious Acid) – Burning pain and pressure in rectum and anus, stool small, offensive, dark

Bryonia (Wild Hops) – stools hard, dry, as if burnt, seem too large

Calcarea Carbonica (Arsenite of Lime) – stool large and hard, stool at first hard, then pasty, then liquid

Causticum  – soft and small, size of goose-quill, hard, tough

Graphitis (Black Lead) – large, difficult, knotty stools united by mucus threads

Lachesis (Bushmaster) – offensive stool

Lycopodium (Club Moss) – stool hard, difficult, small, incomplete

Natrum Muriaticum (Chloride of Sodium) – stool dry, crumbling

Nux Vomica ( Poison Nut) – incomplete and unsatisfactory, with frequent ineffectual urging, feeling as if part remained unexpelled

Opium (Dried Latex of the Poppy) – obstinate, no desire to go to stool, round, hard black balls

Phophorus  – very fetid stools and flatus, long, narrow, hard, like a dog’s, difficult to expel

Plumbum Metallicum (Lead) – stools hard, lumpy, black, with urging and spasms of anus

Sepia (Inky Juice of Cutlefish) – large, hard stools, feeling of a ball in rectum, cannot strain

Silicea (Silica) – always before and during menses

Thuja (Arbor Vitae) – with violent rectal pain, causing stool to recede

Zincum Metallicum (Zinc) – hard, small, constipated stool

Homoepathic remedies may assist constipation in hypothyroidism


Homoepathics taken singularly are usually prescribed constitutionally.  That is the remedy is best suited to the whole person, not just one symptom.  However taken at 30C, a physical dose may help for the short term.  Prolonged use of the incorrect homeopathic or a higher dose may see other symptoms of that remedy emerge, however, these will stop once the remedy is no longer taken.  Often, retail homoepathics are combinations of many remedies and are designed to treat a symptom, not the whole person.


Oh and to close, in case you were wondering what is fecal matter actually is..

Chemically feces consists of water, inorganic salts, sloughed off epithelial cells from the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract, bacteria, products of bacterial decomposition and undigested parts of food.1

The colour comes from a by product of bile which is produced by the liver and breaks down fats.  The main colour of bile is bilirubin that gets recycled and eventually finally broken down in the intestine.  One of the by products of that process is stercobilin which is the colour of the feces.1


Atributions & References
1 Totora GJ & Grabowski SR (1996) PRINCIPLES of anatomy and physiology (8th
Edition) USA: Harper Collins
3 Ptichford Paul (1993) HEALING with Wholefoods Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books
4 Hoffman David (2002) COMPLETE Illustrated Guide to The holistic herbal   London: Element Books         Limited
6 Fisher Carole, Painter, Gilian ((1996) MATERIA Medica of Western Herbs for the Southern          Hemisphere  Australia
7 Anderhuber Ricki (2002) HERBAL Therapeutics Course notes for students of Herbal Medicine Perth        WA
8 Hay Louise (1984) HEAL your Body NSW Australia: Specialist Publications
9 Noontil Annette (1998) THE body is the barometer of the soul II Australia: McPherson’s Printing             Group
10 Barnao Vasudeva & Kadambii (1997) AUSTRALIAN flower essences for the 21st century
Perth: Advance Press
12 Wigmore Anne (1978) RECIPES for Longer Life Anne Wigmore and Hippocrates Health Institute            USA
14 Kent James Tyler (1998) REPERTORY of the homoeopathic materia medica and a
work index New Delhi: B. Jain Publishers Pvt Ltd

Beth Klenner
Beth Klenner
Beth Klenner is a fully qualified Naturopath and owner of Naturally Thyroid with a passion to help people identify and address probable causes for their low functioning Thyroid condition.
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