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In Part I of What Your Symptoms are Telling You, we read about how symptoms, whether they are just annoying or life-changing, have meaning. Symptoms are the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. The more subtle symptoms, such as constipation, can have multiple causes.


In Part I we discussed what normal is and some of the causes such as lack of water, fat or fiber in the diet, even lack of food, digestive insufficiency, and lack of muscle tone because of certain diseases.


Here are some other reasons for constipation:

Stress can become a cause of constipation either due to inactivity, making poor food and liquid choices and even rushing around, not taking the time to go.


We train ourselves to be constipated. Painful bowel movements due to hemorrhoids, fissures or chronic constipation cause people to hold it in, until it is chronically held in. We also learn early on as kids that we can’t leave a classroom when we have to go. When we work, we can’t always leave someone standing while we make a quick dash. Certain sports activities make it difficult to respond immediately to the call, so we actually train ourselves to be constipated.


Antacids and other medications, especially diuretics, opioids for pain and others are constipating. Even laxatives can be constipating due to excessive usage over time. causing a rebound resistance to laxatives.


Endocrine orders such as diabetes and hypothyroidism can affect metabolism and thereby stools.


All this and we’re just talking about one “simple” disorder. But like all disorders, simple or complex, there are reasons for it. Our job is to dissect it and figure out what the body is trying to tell us.


Some symptoms are actually trying to help us. Such as high cholesterol. The body doesn’t elevate cholesterol just because it wants to. The notion that eating cholesterol makes your cholesterol go up was debunked nearly 2 decades ago! High cholesterol combined with high glucose levels and/or dehydration cause thick blood that can initiate a stroke or heart attack. But why are the cholesterol levels elevated? Cholesterol is a healing serum of the body. If it is high, what is it trying to heal? This is an example of the body trying to help, but in helping, creates a new problem.


Inflammation is another example. Inflammation is a necessary part of the healing process. It is good. However, if the levels increase too much, then runaway inflammation creates new problems, such as auto-immune disorders.


In taking a patient’s history, I like to be thorough. I want to know everything that is going on with their body. Like a picture puzzle, every puzzle piece provides a clue as to what may be going on with them under the surface. Often, when I ask, “Is there anything else?”, they say, “Only a couple minor things”. Things they have acclimated to, or don’t consider too important because they are more of an annoyance than a “problem”. Many times, these “annoying” symptoms are a vital key – even they have a reason. The body tells us in more than one way what is wrong with it. We have to be the detectives and ask what the symptom/group of symptoms, is trying to tell us. Only by listening to what the symptoms are telling us can we truly make a difference in total health.


© 2018 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.




What Your Symptoms Are Telling You - Part II

Doctor of Oriental Medicine

Licensed Acupuncturist

Doctor of Naturopathy

Clinical Nutritionist

Master Herbologist



Dr. Holly A. Carling

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Dr. Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience.  Dr. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Dr. Carling considers herself a “professional student” – she has attended more than 600 post-secondary education courses related to health and healing. Dr. Carling gives lectures here in the U.S. and internationally and has been noted as the “Doctor’s Doctor”. When other healthcare practitioners hit a roadblock when treating their patients nutritionally, Dr. Carling is who they call. Dr. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’ Alene clinic.  Visit Dr. Carling’s website at to learn more about Dr. Carling, join our e-mail list and read other informative articles.  Dr. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 or and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.