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INTESTINAL HEALTH INSTITUTE
E 5 St Tucson AZ 85711
by Sheila Shea © 2000 All Rights Reserved
Constipation is a reflection of diet, fluid, breathing, emotions, thoughts, genes and culture. Constipation can be lifelong and the basis for other seemingly unrelated illnesses. Many friends and clients with serious or chronic conditions say coincidentally, "Oh, I've had constipation most of my life!" Or as long as they can remember. Or all of their life. Constipation can be short term and have obvious and immediate causes. Others might cycle in and out of it ignorant or knowledgeable about why it is happening. According to Sylvester Yong, an MD from Singapore and overseeing a study on constipation and colon hydrotherapy , "Constipation is a problem that affects almost everyone at varying periods of their lives." For many people, "constipation" is the most common sign their digestive system is out of balance.
Typically, constipation is any form of congestion and can be accompanied by dehydration. It extends to the cellular level. Some signs of constipation are one bowel movement a day or less and/or incomplete elimination. Some symptoms are overweight, fatigue, irritability, mental confusion, bloat, gas, indigestion, lethargy, headaches, migraines, earaches, sinus drainage, allergies, cellulite, anxiety, depression, pessimism, whining, unsatisfied hunger, poor circulation, rashes, anti-social behavior and brain fog.
According to the Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in an article by Susan C. McMillan, PhD and RN , "An acceptable definition of constipation for clinical practice would be the following: a decrease in the frequency of passage of formed stools and characterized by stools that are hard and difficult to pass. This definition suggests four characteristics that may be presented in the acronym DISH: difficult to pass, infrequent compared to normal, smaller than normal, and hard."
In the same article, McMillan quotes two additional medical studies that offer a more comprehensive list of signs of constipation. McShane and McLane  (1985) and McMillan andWilliams (1989)  list 21 characteristics:
In addition says Sharon McMillan, a change in mental status with confusion and increased agitation, elevated temperature, incontinence and unexplained falls may sometimes be the only presenting symptoms of constipation in the elderly.
The Stanford study includes fecal soiling and incontinence of feces and urine.
Constipation can create an accumulation of fecal matter throughout the intestines, an increase in mucus production and be a potential feeding ground for pathogenic bacteria, fungi, virus and parasites. These pathogens excrete toxic enzymes, acids and gasses - substances which can cause inflammation and degradation of the intestinal walls. They ultimately absorb and circulate to the cell level. Constipation slows circulation. Un-eliminated waste finds storage space throughout the body via the blood and lymph and eventually effects circulation to the organs and tissue including the head, feet and hands.
Candida, an intestinal and residential yeast, will grow out of healthy proportion to other resident bacteria in the presence of antibiotics, birth control pills, cortisone, diabetes mellitus, nutritional deficiencies, chronic constipation or diarrhea, and physical or emotional stress.
Socializing, studying and exercising while constipated is stressful because of the discomfort and muscle tension. Eating food can be painful. Quality of life is clearly affected.
Symptoms of detoxifying from constipation might occur is some and vary according to the materials being discarded by your body, the area being cleansed, the condition of the organs involved in the elimination and the amount of available energy. They can include headaches, fever, chills, colds, skin eruptions and more constipation!
Goals in a constipation program are to get peristalsis or muscle motion of the intestinal walls working, to heal the walls, to remove waste that is inhibiting assimilation, digestion, and secretion, to resolve unfinished emotional and mental issues and to remove causes. Another goal of a constipation program is to decrease transit time of stools, the time it takes food to pass from mouth to anus. A shorter transit time lessens the effect of auto-intoxication and its side effects.
One inquirer asks how many bowel movements a day a 'healthy person' has? A wide range of possibilities exists and will reflect our uniqueness. BM's are going to vary based on quantity and quality of food eaten, exercise, fluids and mental, emotional and environmental states . Ideally, the colon would empty within an hour after each meal with a total transit time of 24 hours or less. Taking in food triggers the peristaltic (muscle movement of intestines) wave that goes from mouth to anus. You will not eliminate what you have immediately eaten but meals eaten earlier in the day or previous day. Most people are lucky if they eliminate once a day. For most people, gravity moves material through the intestines. More input pushes what is already there a little bit farther down the 'pipe' and hopefully out.
Each person is unique and has their own individual path in ending constipation. The road out is challenging, filled with trial and error, full of feedback and rewarding.
The McMillan Medscape study divides causes of constipation into 3 main categories: Primary, Secondary and Iatrogenic.
Primary is due to lack of fiber, exercise, fluid or time and privacy for defecating.
Secondary causes are due to pathologies or diseases such as Parkinson's, intestinal obstruction such as tumors, volvulus, adhesions, stroke, hypercalcemia (calcium), hypokalemia (potassium), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) including diverticulosis, colitis, Crohn's and celiac, spinal cord compression and rectocele. Sylvester Wong MD, in his article Case Histories, Constipation , adds a further refinement to secondary with categories of endocrine and metabolic disorders, systemic sclerosis and other connective tissue diseases, psychological disorders, neurogenic or nervous system derived, strictures, hernias, endometriosis and surgery and lastly rectal, anal and pelvic floor disorders such as fissure and perianal abcess.
Iatrogenic are pharmaceutical or substance induced potentially by antacids, anticholinergics, antidepressants, antihistamines, barium sulfate, calcium channel blockers, drugs for Parkinsonism, ganglionic blockers, hypotensives, iron supplements, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, opiates, psychotherapeutic drugs and vinca alkaloids.
Stanford University has prepared a Primary Care Teaching Module for Constipation. They list some of the following causes. Which of the three above categories do they relate to? For the complete study, go to:
(The University puts up new modules weekly and this one is no longer available.)
1. Pregnancy which causes increased progesterone and decreased motility.
2. Slow transit of unknown origin which deal mainly with women, generally 14 weeks between bowel movements, rectum usually empty, normal colonic diameter, upper GI motility disturbance, mesenteric plexus abnormal, higher incidence of psychological problems. The doctors indicate that dietary fiber may worsen, stimulants are more effective, and behavior modification for pelvic floor musculature may help.
3. Defecatory disorder with normal transit the characteristics of which also include mostly women with rectal evacuation abnormal, many hours on toilet, frequent digitation to aid defecation, often followed or made worse by pelvic surgery nerve damage, worsened by prolonged straining, weakening of pelvic muscles. Doctors feel that stimulants or small enemas and biofeedback may help.
4. Chagas' disease. The organism, trypanosoma cruzi, is a common cause of dilated gut in South America. It creates inflammatory changes around ganglion and severe constipation if it involves the colon. Laxatives are used initially, surgery if necessary and treat the infection.
5. Megarectum/megacolon effects both sexes usually with childhood onset.
6. Polypharmacy Anticholinergic drugs reduce contractility, Ca++ channel blockers reduce smooth muscle motility, NSAIDs may inhibit motility via prostaglandin block, ACE inhibitors inhibit smooth muscle relaxation, diuretics reduce ability to hydrate feces in colon, aluminum antacids, anticonvulsants, narcotics.
7. Geriatric Constipation The self-reported rate of constipation goes up to 60% of patients in some studies with 30% report of healthy elderly using laxatives regularly ($400 million sales/year of laxatives). Depression and dementia predispose the elderly to rectal impactions.
8. History of prior and current laxative use plus surreptitious use of laxatives.
9. History of depression
10. History of physical abuse can manifest as abdominal/bowel symptoms
1. Dehydration. Low volume of fluids can cause build-up in the intestines, weaken the immune system and set up a breeding ground for parasites. Signs are wrinkled skin, burning eyes, sticky eyes in the morning, a heavy feeling all over and headaches.
2. Lack of exercise and insufficient breathing.
3. Inappropriate diet.
4. pH and electrolyte imbalance.
5. Restricting intestinal muscles. Guys and girls are told to hold in their abdomens. I was told at fourteen years old that I would be popular with boys if I could hold my stomach in. Women frequently wear tight clothes around their abdomen and waist. The effect of these messages can create a layer of intestinal paralysis.
6. Long distance travel.
7. Parasites can obstruct passage through the intestines and obstruct the ducts leading from the pancreas, liver and gall bladder. Some people get tested for candida albicans, a common fungi, and other floral irregularities.
8. Dysbiosis or imbalance of intestinal microorganisms when bad outweigh good.
9. Adrenalization. Energy leaves our core when we are upset. Energy goes into the musculo-skeletal system to mobilize for action. Major regenerative organs like the heart, intestines and kidneys slow down or shut down. The intestines can slow down or become dysfunctional with continuous emergency, fear, threat or abuse. It's best not to eat when angry, upset, emotionally strung out or fatigued until we calm down and energy returns to our heart, intestines, kidneys and other core organs.
10. Unsuccessful toilet training. I learned to hold in my elimination and feelings during toilet training. This event can be the source of adult shame, humiliation and constipation.
11. Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, bingeing and overeating and food addiction.
12. Difficult transit. Some people have extra length of intestines, twisting, looped or coiled areas of intestines, weak muscle tone, narrowing of the intestines due to waste build up," spasm, genetics, disease and so forth.
13. Shape of Intestines. You might be a person that was born with extra length of intestines . I see this in many barium x-rays clients bring to me. The barium xray of a child or adult intestines highlights if there are any extra twists, turns and intestines. I compare the shape of the intestines in the x-ray to the ability of that person to eliminate.
15. Hemorrhoids. The Ciba Collection, Vol 3, by Netter MD says that an anal irritation such as hemorrhoids can cause constipation due to a "reflex spasm of the sphincters." Constipation is a double-edged sword because it can also lead to hemorrhoids!
16. Carbohydrate indigestion. Inability to digest complex carbohydrates mainly grains, starchy roots, milk and sugar. See Diet SCD.
17. Physical, sexual, emotional, mental abuse. Toilet-training comes under this category and I'm sure some of Stanford's categories in which women are the main sufferers come from abuse somewhere in their life. Adrenalization is part of this complex. Eating disorders are generally related to an abuse complex. These are the least looked at aspects of constipation. It is my opinion based on personal experience, feedback from clients and research that this area needs more investigation to more clearly correlate with constipation.
17. Radiation, chemotherapy
18. Neurotoxins such as aspartame and msg.
19. Laxative addiction
20. Metal poisoning (lead, cadmium, mercury)
I had unsuccessful toilet training and from infancy began to withhold my elimination both physical and emotional. This had a cascading effect on my physical and emotional health due to auto-intoxication. Numerous streptococcus infections mark my early years. Headaches began at 7 years and earaches at 9 years. My first migraine was senior year in college. When I began cleansing in 1974 at 29 years old, I had migraines regularly for another 10 years. The toxins were in circulation for elimination and the pain was periodically intense.
My memories of bowel movements are few and far between: diarrhea at 4, intestinal flu in college, from food poisoning in Chil e in 1966, after a family marriage, once in 1970 from drinking too much. Senior year in high school, I had to pull some feces out with my fingers because the waste was so hard. My anorexia began freshman year in college as an attempt to get rid of a very distended abdomen. One friend felt it alleviated the constipation temporarily because I reduced my food intake.
During one college vacation, a friend gave me one of her 'tablets' for elimination and I eliminated later. She gave me a word for my condition, 'constipation'. However the scourge was so great I COULD NOT TALK about it. I did mention it to my mother and she took me to the doctor. The issue got dropped again until 1970 when I was 26.
That year, I had PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) and I feel it was exacerbated due to my lifelong constipation. My intestines were a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus to reproduce, travel and poison neighboring organs thereby weakening them. My level of pain, gas and intestinal toxins was so high that I would have to lay down on the floor of the bathroom at my office with the door locked. At best I would pass gas. It was a dark time.
The same year, I became bulimic in an attempt to stem the constipation as well as deal with an extraordinary food addiction I felt since 10 years old. I began to throw up my food after meals and at the same time I sought to get to the healing core of both constipation and eating disorders.
I screwed up the courage to confide in a dear friend and nurse about my 'curse' of constipation. She exclaimed, 'My dear, if you don't eliminate regularly you will become AUTOINTOXICATED after 3 or 4 days. You must take enemas.' I thought to myself, how about 25 years of autointoxication! I began taking enemas as she suggested and then forgot about it until I began cleansing in earnest in 1974.
That year, I finally began to tackle my constipation following Arnold Ehret's ideas in Mucus Free Diet Healing System. I juiced fasted every weekend for nearly two years, ate more living foods and took regular enemas and occasional colonics. Gas pain was a constant companion. My first conscious awareness of not having regular gas pain happened after two years of cleansing. I had such a build-up of mucus secretion layers that when I started the raw juices including citrus I would get 10 to 20 feet of mucous cords out with my evening enema.
At the same time, I was healing eating disorders . However, I began using laxatives as a break from the enemas and colonics and I became addicted. Constipation and eating disorders created intense irritation to my intestinal walls. My eating disorder actually exacerbated my constipation. A double whammy! I feel it's important to continue enemas and/or colonics in recovering from serious constipation rather that rely on any consistent use of laxatives.
I'm beginning to eliminate on my own for the first time since infancy. I am toning the tissue, regaining feeling in the intestinal muscles and beginning to feel some peristalsis. I still take regular enemas and colonics. The colonics are most helpful in training good bowel habits and rehabilitating muscles. Enemas are convenient and useful when I feel incomplete elimination or pain.
For my constipation, I try to follow one, Instinctive Eating according to Serveren Schaefer's book, two, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) which excludes complex carbohydrates and coincides with blood type O, three, make raw food over 50% of diet, four, eat only when I'm hungry (that's a tough one for me), five, eat foods I know help my elimination ( the blood type is aligned on that one - prunes, plums, kale, spinach, pineapple, papaya, flaxseed, figs with the exception of red meat and fish), six, drink a gallon of fluid daily, seven, work out daily and do abdominal exercises. I have spent many years cleansing my GI tract and I am still continuing to cleanse recently incorporating psyllium and bentonite. I did my first 2 parasite cleanses and a liver flush in 1998.
I use abdominal and other breath techniques via yoga and Chi Nei Tsang classes. I practice meditation to become peaceful inside and release any unconscious tension in the abdomen. I incorporate therapy as a way to release old psychosomatic patterns and repressed emotions and thoughts. Constipation has many faces and levels and I deal with it in many different ways.
Colon hydrotherapy, colemas and/or enemas can be very helpful for constipation to help restore tone, reposition the intestines, relax muscles, create successful bowel habits and loosen and remove waste. The therapist or individual can use abdominal massage, lymph drainage, breath techniques and aromatherapy oils to accompany the intestinal hydrotherapies .
Frequency and length of hydrotherapy depends on the condition, desire and discipline of the person. Many options are available and I share of few of them. The idea is to 'keep the flow going' in the GI tract. One has to be sensitive to their own progress and that will help to determine the frequency and length of therapy. For anyone suffering from chronic constipation, 10 colon hydrotherapy sessions will not be a cure! It will be a beginning. It takes months and years to cleanse and restore the GI tract, rehabilitate the muscles and restore bacterial balance. The article Intestinal Hydrotherapies at my website defines the hydrotherapy procedures I discuss below.
a. High Frequency
Individuals with parasite infestations, chronic constipation, environmental illnesses and various degenerative disorders might take several enemas, colemas or colon hydrotherapies daily initially for a period of time or during a crisis. Some people detoxify so strongly they need daily enemas or colemas and sometimes 2 - 3 daily. In the book Cleanse and Purify Thyself, Rich Anderson suggests 1 - 2 enemas daily when aggressively cleansing. Many individuals undertake an intestinal cleansing program when healing constipation in order to cleanse the intestines from years of built up and dehydrated waste.
b. Moderate Frequency
When one is fasting, detoxifying or working with a difficult intestinal situation such as chronic constipation, then a daily or every other day colon hydrotherapy or colema or enema session can be helpful. The use of an enema or colema every other day used in conjunction with colon hydrotherapy is also an excellent way to work with constipation. If you have severe constipation you initially might want to get more than one colon hydrotherapy session each week because it is helpful in loosening up the muscles and allowing a backlog of waste to release plus it gives the intestinal muscles a jump start. One can then graduate to once a week, once every two weeks, once a month and then on an as-needed basis.
c. Low Frequency
Some individuals take the intestinal hydrotherapies weekly to cleanse and tonify the intestinal tissue. Others use them occasionally to correct temporary constipation, reduce flu symptoms, relieve gas, undo a spasm or before and/or after a trip, surgery, medical procedure, athletic event, performance. People fast, cleanse, change their diet from time to time and accompany it with colon hydrotherapy, colemas or enemas.
The open-basin Colon Hydrotherapy equipment works especially well with spina bifida, some elderly, para and quadriplegics, stroke or other populations that have loose sphincter muscles, intense constipation, dehydration, impaction or urgency.
Constipation resulting from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS ) responds well to colon hydrotherapy using body temperature water and accompanied by abdominal massage. One goal is to get the spasms to open up and let go and to restore a 'balanced' peristalsis according to Margaret Wright, an Australian ND and colon hydrotherapist.
'After seeing dozens of doctors no none ever considered my constipation or colon to be an issue. After I began colonics, 3 times a week, almost a year later, we began seeing parasites come out. Dr. Bernard Jensen says it takes about 60 colonics to reach the layers where they live.'
Thanks so much for posting the 4 articles from Monica's wonderful website! Great education. Hope to get more FAQ's on my website. The need for education is tremendous. Learning how to take an enema is so important. So many of my clients can't even bear the thought. I introduce nearly everyone to the idea. It's a primary form of self-help and the most inexpensive route to go. I like that Monica states it so clearly step by step.
I brought my enema bag to Florida with me. Spent 4 days in Boca on the ocean, at the beach and visiting my mother who is in a nursing home. Got the bag out once a day. Tried to drink a lot of fluids and eat simply. Two hour workout on the beach. I still get intestinal pain almost daily and now it passes more easily. The enema will relieve the pain for me quicker than anything. I also used some H2O2 in the solution plus an herbal formula with propolis and other anti-bacterial herbs mainly due to a tooth infection. When I took the enema the first night, I had a large volume of liver bile - big time. So I was obviously cleansing.'
Sometimes with constipation it is helpful to introduce substances into the hydrotherapy water either as an additive or retention implant. It depends on the cause of the constipation to know which substance will be the most useful to work with the condition.
Retentions and additives are also a way to get nutrition into the intestines when one's digestion, assimilation and elimination ability are deficient or compromised.
Anything you can get into liquid form can be used for retention or in addition to the hydrotherapy water. Flora, chlorophyll, coffee, nystatin (for candida), herbs and wheat grass are some of the more common substances that people use. The substance(s) and dosage chosen depend on the intention of the receiver.
A prescription is required when a Colon Hydrotherapist uses an additive or implant at the office. At home, you make your own choices.
Retention is for the purpose of rapid and heightened absorption in the rectum of the particular herb(s), vitamin(s), flora and mineral(s) used.
When doing a retention, the person first clears their colon with an enema or colonic. The implant fluid is prepared and used in a small amount usually no greater than 3 cups. The fluid is placed in a syringe or appropriate device for inflow. The fluid is then allowed to flow slowly into the rectum and is retained there. The person rests on their side, focuses on breath, relaxes and attempts to hold the implant for 20 minutes maximum.
Although coffee retention implants can relieve constipation, Gerson in his book A Cancer Cure cautions: 'Patients have to know that the coffee enemas are not given for the function of the intestines but for the stimulation of the liver.' Studies have shown that acidophilus is accepted more quickly and better with rectal implants than orally.
Sometimes, substances called additives are introduced into the enema, colema or colon hydrotherapy water during the session. A little of the additive flows in with the water each time or at decided times . This differs from a retention enema orimplant because the substance comes out during releases. For an enema or colonic, I need something that gets my peristalsis going like cayenne or H2O2 or to open spasms like valerian or catnip. I have been using a few teaspoons of 3% H2O2 in my enema water and that triggers excellent peristalsis.
A concern with frequent intestinal hydrotherapies is replenishing minerals and trace elements (electrolytes) and friendly bacteria or flora. Be careful to fill yourself full of high quality minerals daily, for example raw juices, grasses and algaes, and eat cultured fermented foods or take acidophilus and bifidus cultures .
'Lower abdominal breath is essential for good elimination.'
'Consistent and deep breath is the key.'
I remember finding and perusing a book on breathing in my father's library when I was 10. It planted a seed in my mind. I recall listening to others breathing realizing I hardly breathed at all. In my path of healing my intestines from 'severe and profound' constipation and healing my emotional body, I have learned the importance of continuous focused breath. The key paths I have used to learn breathing and breath focus are yoga, meditation, martial arts, rebirthing, hiking and backpacking. I am currently in a therapy that uses breath and meditation as the container for the emotions. This has reinforced remembering breath in the 'small' situations in life like driving my car, walking across a parking lot and sitting at the computer.
Each moment is an opportunity to return to the breath. The deeper it goes into the pelvic floor and abdomen, the better it is for elimination. Very often my intestinal blocks are a result of constricting my intestinal muscles and going into spasm from fright, offense or performance anxiety. I have usually reduced my breathing and restricted it to the upper lungs. It never reaches my lower body and abdomen and therefore my upper body and brain are disconnected from my lower body and abdomen. Sexual, physical, emotional and toilet-training abuse can also restrict one's breath from the lower body and put it into a state of deep freeze. The deep-freeze can be reversed and focused breath is a direct route to connect and unite the upper and lower body.
Chi Gung and Chi Lel are other forms people use to learn breath practice.
Hydration is considered more important that exercise and diet. Also sufficient fluids are necessary for skin, mucosal and immune health. Yours Body's Many Cries For Water by F Batmanghelidj MD is subtitled 'You are not sick, you are thirsty! Don't treat thirst with medications.' We have lost our sense of thirst. I mistook it for hunger and ate instead. Steadily building up our intake of fluids restores our sense of thirst. I feel that 4 - 6 quarts is what my body needs daily from water, herb teas, raw or bottled juices. I originally thought 2 quarts was plenty however I have learned through how I feel and function that it has to be twice as much.
Hydration or drinking sufficient fluids is key to healing constipation. So often constipation is accompanied by dehydration, not current dehydration but long-standing dehydration. It will take time to rehydrate the GI tract and deliver a positive effect on elimination. That which has hardened and stagnated through dehydration leading to constipation has to be broken down and dissovled with water and juices. The fresh juices of acid fruit have the strongest dissolving effects of all fruits. The key acid fruits are lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, tomato and pineapple.
Exercise is a major factor in healthy elimination. As Richard Simmonds says, if you eat everyday, you work out everyday! The Stanford study promotes exercise habits stating that immobility is a documented risk factor in constipation. The study reports that lack of movement can increase transit time from 3 days to 3 weeks! Each person has to find their own way with movement and especially something they like or love. It can begin slow and for short periods of time and build up. I include testimonials of a few individuals and plus Dr. Stone's thoughts on 'squatting', the natural way to eliminate!
Dr Randolph Stone, an osteopath and chiropractor, in his book Health Building, The Conscious Art Of Living Well, devotes 3 pages to squatting (134 - 136). He says it is ideal for the release of gases, constipation, excessive abdominal fat and for toning the walls of the abdomen by the muscular exertion and squeezing by the thighs, which also protects the muscles from excess strain in the posture.
'I have an abdominal workout with 4 variations of exercises to tone the muscles.'
'I am an athlete in my own way taking time daily to hike, backpack, dance, do yoga or swim. Occasionally, I use the weight room at my complex or do housework or gardening. I count those too. Even playing with my kids gives me great delight not to mention a good work out. My energy is a great gift!'
'I'm home again after a great and strenuous backpack on the Colorado Plateau. The good news. I began eliminating on a regular basis, 2 times a day. I was off track eliminating before I left and taking an enema every few days. On the first and second day of the backpack, I eliminated once and very little. On the third day, generous, easy and well-formed stool kicked in.
I also noticed that I lengthened my lower back as I hiked and lifted the abdominal muscles. An advance for me. I found I had the habit of tilting back my pelvis which cuts off the energy to the intestines and allows the intestinal packet to pouch out in front. Aligning my pelvis aligned the intestines over it and allowed for better elimination.'
'I'm back from a 2 day archeological backpack in AZ. One issue when I travel is how will I poop. My intestines are still recovering from childhood constipation. I carried in 2 gallons of water and was still dehydrated when we finished. I did well intestinally, meaning no major indigestion or pain. I took an enema Friday before I left and didn't poop until Monday morning however the backpack helped me take a break from the enemas for a few days. I go through periods of minor pain however I pass gas and have pooped regularly for 3 mornings now. I know the elimination is incomplete however I'm not bloated! I feel the strenuous exercise is a big help for my intestinal health. I'm a blood type O and that's what is prescribed. The big workouts. Plus I follow a diet that promotes elimination and I am learning to drink nearly a gallon of fluids a day. I found that I was getting bad headaches after some hikes and I realized it was due to dehydration! Simple as increasing fluids.'
Information is abundant on diet and constipation relief. I find that the Raw Food Diet, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Instinctive Eating, Blood Type Diet and The Zone are a few of the programs that have provided help and valuable information to help educate people on making better choices for themselves. They have also been my personal choices for healing constipation. One can test out, try out and find out what works for them. Atkin's Diet, Carbohydrate Addicts Diet and the Paleodiet (Neanderthin) also provide alternative choices for food intake and elimination ideas.
One major factor in success is the ability to eliminate food addiction and eating disorders. For most people, food runs them and they feel incapable of making the intelligent choices they know will resolve their constipation. Eating disorders including overeating and bingeing are some of the major hidden causes of constipation. I have found that continually choosing to eat more and more natural and living foods has decreased dramatically my food addictions and cravings to inappropriate substances .
Raw foods are those that are uncooked, unpasteurized and unprocessed. They include fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, seeds and sprouts, unpasteurized milk, cheese and honey and uncooked fish, fowl and meat. A preferred diet for elimination is high in fresh fruits and vegetables and their raw fresh unpasteurized juices because of their high water content, minerals and enzymes .
Fermented foods are a subset of raw foods and can be made inexpensively from seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables and milk. The fermentation process allows the growth of beneficial bacteria that promote intestinal health and elimination. Victoras Kulvinskas' book Survival into the 21st Century is a classic work on living foods and ferments mainly grain 'rejuvelac', seed and nut yogurts and cheeses and sauerkraut. The rejuvelac has been debunked recently for containing unhealthy bacteria. My intestines do well with wheat berry based rejuvelac. Robert Gray's book Colon Health Handbook has a recipe for cabbage rejuvelac. I find his recipe easy, safe and effective. It is rich in naturally occurring positive bacteria. Recipes for homemade yogurt are in Gottschall's book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle.
According to Kulvinskas, a liquid whey settles out in the bottom of the ferment container. (I found this when fermenting nuts or seeds.) The whey is mixed into the sauce to obtain a ferment with a more sour taste. Science has established that whey has similar qualities to yogurt and when used regularly will correct internal sluggishness, gas, bowel putrefaction and constipation. It particularly helps in the absorption of minerals into the system, especially calcium.
See my website article on Candida for 2 book titles on fermented foods.
Specific Carbohydrate Diet And Constipation
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is specific for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Candida and Leaky Gut Syndrome. Very often constipation is a result of these conditions. The main food group to avoid is Complex Carbohydrates. IBS is alternating constipation and diarrhea with stomach pain. The constipation part of this syndrome responds well to fiber or bulk that is not a complex carbohydrate.
'I've suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS ) since I was a child. It has grown considerably worse since I moved here and entered an MFA program 3 years ago. My stress levels sky rocketed paralleling my battle with constipation. I'm looking for an alternative solution. I turned 25 a couple months ago and I feel like I'm 90. Can you give me further information?'
Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall is the bible for IBD and IBS plus candida and other conditions such as constipation that people do not associate with intestinal inflammation. Many individuals are recovering from it and a newsgroup and homepage are available on the internet.
Website for SCD
Listserve for SCD
Send a blank e-mail (no subject, no message) to
mailto:SCDfirstname.lastname@example.org (regular subscription) OR
mailto:SCDemail@example.com (digest subscription).
Word from Elaine Gottschall on Constipation
'I asked Elaine what to do about constipation. She said the homemade chicken soup with lots of pureed carrots would be good and that you could add pureed zucchini to thicken it up. Homemade apple sauce is also supposed to help. For fast action, she said try 1/2 cup prune nectar (Welch's) and 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice. She said to do this when you know you're going be around the house for awhile, apparently it can be rather explosive!'
The Zone And Constipation
Dr. Sears recommends fish oil to fix constipation. He recommends fish oil in increasing quantities until the stool floats. One correspondent determined that Arachidonic Acid in eggs and redmeat really constipates him. You can read about AA in two articles plus others found in the search.
Blood Type Diet by D'Adamo
Some people do well on a Macrobiotic Diet which is primarily cooked and based on whole grains. Blood type A does well on grains. However, grains might be contraindicated with allergies, intestinal gas and bloat, inflammatory bowel disease or candida. The blood type O is a protein based diet which includes nuts, seeds, beans, fish and meat. Other beneficial foods for blood type O compensate for the potential constipating properties of meat with foods like prunes, plums, figs, tomatoes, cherries, pineapples, ginger, garlic and cayenne!
Foods Known to Relieve Constipation
Magnesium is the major element in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in leaves, grasses and algaes. All chlorophyll-containing plants such as wheat and barley grass, marine and lake algaes, Essiac and culinary greens help elimination, absorption, cleansing, rebuilding and inflammation plus they provide a rich environment for positive flora or bacteria. You might want to see what kind of fresh and steamed greens you, your friends and family are willing to eat! Greens can also be taken juiced, powdered and in capsules and tablets. I feel it is my most important food for healing constipation.
Spinach is know to help heal constipation. It's high in oxalic acid which helps trigger peristalsis. According to Norman Walker, in his book Raw Vegetable Juices, the combination of spinach and carrot juice is specific for constipation. Walker said that one pint of spinach juice daily for 2 weeks would cure the most serious case of constipation. I never made it past 7 days! Red chard, celery and beet leaves with the carrot are high in organic sodium and help calm the nerves and stimulate peristalsis. Pineapple, grapes, endive, and escarole are also specific for constipation. Flax seeds powdered are a more effective substitute for me than bran and flax oil is beneficial for the integrity of the intestinal walls.
Jethro Kloss in his famous book Back To Eden written in l939 writes: 'Cow's milk is not suited for human consumption. Milk causes constipation, biliousness, coated tongue, headache and these are the symptoms of intestinal auto-intoxication. Soybean milk and nut milks are excellent substitutes and have practically the same analyses and the danger of disease is removed.'
Electrolytes are the essentials minerals, trace elements and cell salts necessary to sustain all the functions of the body and mind. Consumption of a high volume of quality electrolytes is taken during a constipation program to replenish and balance whether through diet or supplements. This also complements an intestinal hydrotherapy cleansing program. Raw juices, algaes, grasses and liquid minerals are well known sources. Many people are undermineralized and toxic when they begin to make changes and need to create a consistent and quality program to rebuild.
Iodine RDA: 100-150 mcg (micrograms) per day. Natural sources are fish, seaweed, kelp plus water and vegetables in iodine rich soils. Iodine is required for proper thyroid gland function, is an important constituent of thyroxine and other hormones and important for regulating energy metabolism throughout the body. A deficiency can cause hypothyroidism characterized by fatigue, weight gain, dryness of skin, headaches and constipation.
Phosphate Of Iron (Ferr. phos.) is part of blood and other body cells with exception of nerve cells. An imbalance or deficiency can cause continuous diarrhea or paradoxically, constipation. A homeopathic cell salt.
Caution: Herbal laxatives can weaken the mus cles, deplete minerals and can have deleterious side effects on the heart, liver, and other organs.
One listserve member contributed information for constipation and candida. 'Cascara Sagrada will help with the constipation and will also help the peristaltic action of your colon. It will also increase bile flow. I would suggest taking it with ginger to cut down on griping. It is also tonic for the liver and the gall bladder. If colitis or any other inflammatory condition is present disregard the suggestion for Cascara Sagrada.' Kenny
A milder yet effective herbal laxative is turkey rhubarb root.
Magnesium oxide and other magnesium based laxatives and vitamin C are other laxatives used.
During intestinal hydrotherapies, the client participates in the cleansing and rebuilding by taking orally the herb, powdered psyllium seed husks and the volcanic ash, bentonite to draw out old waste and clean the walls. A daily dose for a beginner is usually 1 heaping teaspoon of each daily. I see results with myself and clients when we take a minimum of 1 heaping tablespoon of each two times daily.
Psyllium is not a laxative but a cleanser, bulking agent and lubricant. The use of psyllium for the 'constipated' person can go two ways. One constipated type will feel more constipated, miserable, bloated or gaseous. The second constipated type will benefit from the lubricating properties of the psyllium and eliminate better. The lubricating quality will help matter slide through the intestines and reduce transit time.
Discomfort with the psyllium can mean two things. One your transit is compromised and/or two the volume of waste build-up is extensive. Psyllium has difficulty moving through the intestines in both cases. A difficult transit means a 'tortuous' (an onomatopoetic medical word) intestines that includes extra lengths and redundancies which are extra spirals or coiling of the intestines.
Anderson is his book Cleanse and Purify Thyself calls for daily intestinal hydrotherapies, laxatives and a gallon of fluid to avoid the discomfort that many feel with psyllium and bentonite use.
Castor Oil Packs
'I am using the castor oil packs daily plus colonics because I have a bad case of candida and poor colon peristalsis. For me, this helps relieve constipation because it helps break down old material in the colon and promotes better releases during the colonic. It works for me to get things moving, even gas.'
Read Palma Cristi by Edgar Cayce for instructions. Exclusive use of castor oil packs is good for the person who will not use psyllium.
Intestinal flora is essential for healing constipation. One must restore intestinal flora with acidophilus or bifidus after taking antibiotics or any other circumstance that changes the flora balance. If not, constipation, lowered immunity to more infections and general fatigue might add more insult to injury. Some use the flora for related bladder infections. See V. Bowmann protocol.
Mucosal Health and Herbs
Very often constipation implies that the integrity or health of the intestinal wall is deficient. The purpose of the diet, supplements, fluid is to restore this health. Many herbs are also helpful in creating this integrity via their various properties. The bitters, astringents, anti-inflammatories and blood-purifiers are a few.
Some believe the Ayurvedic compound Triphala, three Indian fruits, is the best colon conditioner available and helps restore muscle tone to the bowels. Dashamoola, 10 Indian roots, is used as an implant to restore bowel function and in conjunction with triphala in ayurvedic panchakarma cleansing program.
One friend reported that herbal bitters are her favorite means of stimulating peristalsis without causing dependency. Christopher Hobbs, a foremost GI herbalist, writes that bitters work in 3 ways. One, they activate gastric secretion of HCL and other digestive enzymes such as bile. Two, they increase the strength and tone of the autonomic nervous system which energizes all the digestive organs . Three, they activate the immune system. Bitters are ideal to incorporate in a constipation healing program. Hobbs lists the following herbs as bitters: angelica root, artichoke leaf, bitter orange peel, blessed thistle, cascara sagrada (laxative), gentian root, goldenseal rhizome, lemon peel, mugwort, wormwood and devil's claw. Hobbs goes into greater depth in his book Foundations of Health. One could key out all the bitters.
Slippery elm bark is used to soothe the walls of the intestines , is nutritious and contraindicated for IBD because of the polysaccharide content. Marshmallow root, comfrey leaf and root and aloe are other demulcent herbs used to soothe the tissue of the walls . Aloe is not allowed on the SCD because some varieties and products have laxative effects and contain polysaccharides.
Enzymes can assist in digesting foods which in turn relieve constipation. However, it's going to be the quality of enzymes.
Essential fatty acids (EFA) and vitamin A are necessary for mucosal health.
L-Glutamine helps to build the bowel wall.
Prozac and its relatives prevent the uptake of serotonin by the target cells and it remains in the cranial and intestinal brains in high quantities. Higher levels in the intestines can lead to nausea, diarrhea and constipation. Prozac increases the speed at which matter passes through the intestines and has even been used in small doses to treat chronic constipation. But it has also been shown to freeze the colon.
Morphine and heroin attach to the intestine's opiate receptors and produce constipation. The cranial and intestinal brains can both be addicted to opiates. Other pain killers and muscle relaxants given as prescriptions cause a genuine slowing down or halting of peristalsis temporarily.
1. Educate about acceptable bowel habits (12/week without straining)
2. Discourage OTC medications, discuss the possibility of positive feedback cycle.
3. Cultivate good toileting habits: comfort, privacy, allow time, take advantage of gastrocolic reflex, elevate legs while on toilet to facilitate use of weakened pelvic/abdominal muscles.
4. Fiber diet with minimum 30 grams a day.
5. Drink minimum 1.5 liters of fluids per day and more in the summer.
6. Assess the need for disimpaction be it digital or surgical.
7. Use bulk laxatives such as psyllium, ispaghula husk and methylcellulose. Bran is cheaper but bloating may be worse. Risk of impaction occurs if inadequate fluid intake.
A Plan For Constipation by Victoria Bowmann BS, DHM
VBowmann@aol.com fax 602-788-7557 or POB 31464 Phoenix AZ 85046
l. Consume 64 ounces of water or 1/2 your body weight in ounces per day. Eliminate coffee with chronic constipation, it contributes to dehydration. Water amount should also be evaluated in terms of the person's lifestyle, weight and environment.
2. Consume healthy oils particularly 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil minimum daily. Use olive oil in salads and for sautéing.
3. Include sufficient bulk. Psyllium, raw foods, fruits and vegetables and their juices.
4. Appropriate reflorastation per protocol. She uses rectal implants of flora and depending on the constipation case as often as daily for 30 days.
5. Nutritional support with raw goat whey or dairy protein or FOS (depending on allergies ) to feed newly introduced intestinal flora. Elaine Gottschall favors lactose over FOS. Anderson favors the whey for the high concentration of naturally occurring sodium.
'I hope this helps, but will not work unless all 5 points are addressed simultaneously. Then the results are 85% or better.'
The Enterohepatic Circuit (EC) of veins continuously cycles substances, toxic or nutritious, from the rectum to the liver increasing or decreasing liver health or damage on each pass. Years of constipation will cause this recycling of toxins to become more concentrated and damaging.
The liver is a major organ of the GI system and empties into the small intestines. The health and circulation of the liver is effected by constipation. Plus, a weak liver can lead to further constipation due to lack of digestive bile secretions. Liver flushes, parasite cleanses and coffee enemas complement any program for constipation and cleansing because they help restore the liver.
Body-based: Chi Nei Tsang, Cranial-Sacral, Abdominal Visceral Manipulation, and Chiropractic can be helpful in opening up the energy of the intestines. Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Body-Mind Centering work, is excellent for children and adults. Massage is excellent to relax the muscles.
Spiritual-Emotional based: 'I personally realized I had to work on planes beyond the physical to heal my constipation. This insight lead me to meditate, visualize healing, live out my life and dreams, develop and listen to my instincts and intuition and incorporate emotional therapy and expressive arts mainly dance, poetry and cartooning. Each person will find their own way to healing.'
Naturopthic physicians from a US Department of Education accredited school are resourceful working with natural means as well as viewing constipation from the greater holistic perspective.
Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old system of natural healing from India. The Ayurvedic Institute located in Albuquerque NM is run by Vasant Lad MS. (505.291.9698). They offer a study program, seminars, correspondence courses, panchakarma, ayuryoga and ayurvedic and western herbs and products. Panchakarma is the ayurvedic system of cleansing that includes five techniques. They use medicated enemas and understand cleansing very deeply. I met an 'employee' of the 'Panchakarma' department and he gave me some suggestions for my intestinal issues. One is an herbal formula of 10 Indian roots that is used as a rectal implant. He suggested I come and take their program for myself and the greater benefit of my clients. Apparently in the Ayurvedic tradition, warm sesame oil enemas of one-half to one cup are administered for chronic constipation. The book, Ayurveda, The Science of Self-Healing by Dr. Vasant Lad has nine pages on Panchakarma.
The writer tells a touching story of a baby with Hirschsprung's disease with minimal if any elimination. He was taken to a homeopath at age 7 after exhausting all medical alternatives. A prescription of a single medium-potency dose of Plumbum Metallicum 200c, homeopathic lead, was given and the child responded with 80% recovery within 2 weeks. You may refer to the following source for more details in this case and homeopathy in general.
Sujata Owens, LCEH (Bom), RS Hom (NA), A Case of Severe Constipation with Colic and Congenital Deformities, Small Remedies & Interesting Cases VII, Proceedings of the 1995 Professional Case Conference, Edited byStephen King ND, et al, International Foundation for Homeopathy 2366 Eastlake East Suite 325 Seattle WA 98102 Phone: 206-324-8230.
Iridology is the study of the iris of the eye that indicates the condition of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies present and past. Germany is considered to have the most scientific treatises on it and Bernard Jensen has written most extensively on it in the US. I recently had my iridology done. The Iridologist said that many of my organs were in acute to sub-acute condition but my intestines and heart were chronically weak, even more serious in their hierarchy. Many organs throughout my body including the heart, CNS (Central Nervous System), glands and kidneys have been affected by the condition of my intestines predominantly the effects of severe and profound constipation with an overlay of equally serious eating disorders. The iridologist is able to determine origins of issues whether genetic, intestinal or trauma/accident.
Colonoscopy, Barium X-rays, Sigmoidoscopy, Proctoscopy, Cat Scans are various measures to view the intestines and give health feedback.
This condition may also be a cause of constipation. Hirschsprung's disease occurs in 1 in 5000 births and is the absence of ganglion in variable lengths of the intestines. One friend writes, 'The specialist I saw about 15 years ago explained to me that like most diseases there were degrees of seriousness and that only the worst cases of Hirschsprungs were treated by surgery. Milder cases were usually treated by medical management like regular enemas including oil enemas many of which I was given. He also said that in the past many milder cases had probably been misdiagnosed and that a number of people like me had gone through life suffering from bowel dysfunction without knowing the cause. He was of the opinion that many cases of chronic, intractable constipation were probably mild forms of Hirschsprung's disease. One important factor is that one of the popular remedies, taking regular doses of bran, does not help because it causes a lot of gas which in turn appears to be particularly difficult for people with this sort of bowel dysfunction to handle.'
One superlative listserv subscriber commented to a newly pregnant women.
'It is wonderful to read an email from someone young and pregnant and concerned about intestinal health! Congratulations on your upcoming most special event.
The problem seems to be constipation whether simple or chronic will likely become more difficult as pregnancy advances. As a retired RN and mother of two sons, who at birth each tipped the scales at ten pounds plus, I believe I have a little inside information as to the potential problems. First of all, I personally do not believe in laxatives, herbal or regular over-the-counter types. If one thinks enemas can contribute to miscarriages, then look at the probability of straining with bowel movements and dramatic peristalsis that can accompany constipation and laxative effects. Of course, straining of any kind is not good for a person, pregnant or not. Whether a maintenance daily dose of a mild herbal laxative or stool softener product is ever warranted, I don't know. I wouldn't recommend it. Ask a doctor you trust to have the best interests of you and your baby in mind. A history of severe constipation *may* tip the scales in favor of such a product? I can't imagine that any special aggressive cleansing regimes would be recommended during pregnancy without constant blood work monitoring. Keeping the electrolytes balanced is even more critical during pregnancy. The stirring up of toxins could be another risk. Perhaps I am an alarmist. But, I do think it is best to keep things simple and natural whenever possible, especially during pregnancy.
Clear water enemas have lost popularity with pregnancy, labor, and delivery events. Too bad. I certainly believe they are a better choice than laxatives or chemical enemas. The chemical enema seems to be in favor these days thanks to its convenience and the pharmaceutical influences! In general, I do not recommend chemical enemas. Why would anyone want to introduce more chemicals such as a Fleets-type enema into the body when plain water can alleviate bowel distress at little or minimal cost? Yes, gentle washing with lukewarm water is what I recommend. And don't raise the enema bag higher than 24 inches above the waist. The keyword is gentle in whatever you do! Don't allow constipation to make relief a major accomplishment.
I believe the two most important things you can do for yourself is to drink at least two quarts of pure water a day and eat many soluble and insoluble-rich fiber foods. Stay away from foods and drinks that dehydrate you. Consuming salty and sugary foods and beverages do you no good. One needn't have a high blood pressure risk to adhere to those warnings. I am opposed to all soft drinks. Read the labels! I think we all agree that ingesting caffeine, carbonation, artificial flavors and artificial sweetening are poor choices. When you are thirsty, try squeezing a lemon into a quart of safe filtered water. If you must have a little sweetener, try adding just a little fructose or pure honey. I start my day drinking a quart of unsweetened lemon water! Not only does it help to hydrate my body, it seems to correct my pH, strip mucous, and soothe the liver and gallbladder perhaps softening stone deposits. I have known about lemon juice as a healthy beverage for a long time and was convinced that it was a great way to begin my day. It is discussed at the following web site:
I breast fed both my sons and tried my best to eat and drink healthy foods. Yes, iron supplementation does tend to constipate. So try to eat foods that will counteract the problem. Drinking prune juice and eating a bran muffin every day should do wonders for keeping things moving.
I believe an occasional small 1-2 quart plain water enema done before there is a major crisis will keep you more comfortable and cause no harm to you or the baby. But, please, always use clean (as with personal, carefully cleansed equipment) technique. Use hot soapy water to wash all your enema equipment, followed by soaking it with 3% hydrogen peroxide, after each use. Although some people choose to disinfect with a solution of Clorox, I do not. However, whatever soaps or disinfecting solutions you use, please rinse and rinse some more. Special care with hygiene and disinfecting is a must. Remember, the anal to urethra and/or vagina routes for possible infection warrants even more diligence and precaution during pregnancy than at any other time.
Moderate exercise and relaxation techniques can also help the intestines. A brisk walk followed by a warm bath may be all that is needed to improve intestinal mobility, circulation, and general well-being.' Many thanks to a dear former subscriber for her great written contribution!
I realize from my own situation that constipation is a prevalent problem with babies and children. I feel it is still a taboo topic and not on the list for acceptable discussion. It's even a blind spot for some parents and some parents are 'in denial'. Formulas, refined food diets, insufficient fluids, birth trauma, vaccinations and inherited situations can be creating factors. The constipation possibility increases even more when one considers the abuse that babies and young children might receive. I include below the plaintive voices of a few concerned parents then a few questions and answers.
'My son has constipation. We are trying acidophilus and magnesium. I have been trying this for a few days and have seen much improvement. I am going to watch the next week and see how it goes. Then we plan to take him off the acidophilis and see if he stays regular.'
'My son is three and since two years old has been holding in his bowel movements. It started out to be once or twice a week and now he can hold it for two weeks. When he finally does go, he cries and complains of tummy aches. For an hour or more before elimination he finally will go into a pull-up. He verbally made it very clear he just doesn't want to let it out, afraid it will hurt. His stools are loose, never hard and more like soft putty or clay.'
'I have a five year old that has increasing trouble with eliminating waste...The diameter is way too big and hard for him to pass. My son sits on the stool all day, on and off attempting to go. He knows it is going to hurt and I now believe he is trying to NOT go out of fear of pain. He is so sore after elimination I have to be extremely gentle in wiping him. The slightest pressure causes pain. Kindergarten is approaching this fall and I can't even get him to wipe himself. If this isn't solved by the fall I know he will hold it in while at school! Plus I hate to seem him in so much pain!'
Q What age is it healthful for children to begin colonics? Might it be helpful to children who suffer from bowel holding?
A I have given colon hydrotherapy sessions to children as young as two to three years of age. I feel that it can be very helpful for children who hold their bowels and it is important to be accompanied by massage of the abdomen. The child needs to be fully informed about what will happen, have the treatment voluntarily and the parent(s) should be present.
Q Is cow's milk good for babies and children?
A. I will quote from an article written on this subject. The New England Journal of Medicine, October 15, 1998, Volume 339, # 16 has an article by G. Iacono, F. Cavataio, G. Montalto and A. Florena entitled Intolerance of Cow's Milk and Chronic Constipation in Children .
Intolerance of cow's milk can cause severe perianal lesions with pain on defecation and consequent constipation in young children.
We performed a ... study comparing cow's milk with soy milk in 65 children (age range, 11 to 72 months) with chronic constipation (defined as having one bowel movement every 3 to 15 days). All had been referred to a pediatric gastroenterology clinic and had previously been treated with laxatives without success. Forty-nine had anal fissures and perianal erythema or edema. After 15 days of observation, the patients received cow's milk or soy milk for 2 weeks. After a one-week washout period, the feedings were reversed. A response was defined as eight or more bowel movements during a treatment period.
Forty-four of the 65 children (68 percent) had a response while receiving soy milk. Anal fissures and pain with defecation resolved. None of the children who received cow's milk had a response. In all 44 children with a response, the response was confirmed with a double-blind challenge with cow's milk. Children with a response had a higher frequency of coexistent rhinitis, dermatitis, or bronchospasm than those with no response (11 of 44 children vs. 1 of 21, P=0.05); they were also more likely to have anal fissures and erythema or edema at base line (40 of 44 vs. 9 of 21, P<0.001), evidence of inflammation of the rectal mucosa on biopsy (26 of 44 vs. 5 of 21, P=0.008), and signs of hypersensitivity, such as specific IgE antibodies to cow's-milk antigens (31 of 44 vs. 4 of 21, P<0.001).
In young children, chronic constipation can be a manifestation of intolerance of cow's milk. (N Engl J Med 1998;339:1100-4.) © 1998 MA Medical Society.'
As I read this over, I also notice a correlation between lactose and bowel inflammation and this speaks to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet as suggested by Elaine Gottschall.
For more information:
University of Virginia on Chronic Constipation and Encopresis in Children
Mayo Clinic Health Letter on Children and Constipation
Mayo Clinic on Toilet-training
'Jane, 19 years old. I have had digestion problems ever since I could remember. I had my gall bladder removed in August due to gall stones. I continue to have problems with digestion. I mainly suffer from constipation...If I stop having a BM, after a almost a week of not having one, I start to feel very sick due to the toxins. I had my gall bladder removed in August of last year due to gall stones.'
'I have had a constipation problem for many years, although found it more noticeable since I quit smoking 3 years ago.'
'I took today off work because I have been severely constipated for the past 5 days. I have done 4 enemas, metamucil-type fiber laxative drinks, drank 60 ml of castor oil twice, lots of water and fluids, and fruits. I'm still very abnormally bloated, feel light-headed, weak and sometimes dizzy...I have had minor problems with constipation before. The last enema I did was painful to insert, and after expelling, I was bleeding minorly from the rectum...I'm a little concerned about the possibility of a tumor. I'm only 32 (male), in good health, a little overweight but have had thyroid removal due to cancer at age 25.'
'My wife has always suffered from constipation. She is 54 years old. Please give us some ideas as to how she can kick the laxative habit.'
'Have had some recent surgery, 2 disks removed and fusion in my neck. Because of the surgery have been on a lot of drugs that are causing me major concerns with constipation. Have tried laxatives and even enemas, with no good results. Have been reading a lot about colonic irrigation and think it may help...!'
Q I am 28 years old and have HODGKIN'S DISEASE, and have been constipated for a great part of my life. Are there any natural remedies I should be using to promote regularity and maximize nutrient absorption (even while on chemo)? As for eating a well balanced, fiber rich diet, drinking plenty of water and exercising to the best of my daily energy supplies, I think I have all the bases covered. So is there any help or advice you can offer?
A Thanks so much for sharing your story. I used the Hodgkin's disease juice formulas in Norman Walker's book, Raw Vegetable Juices. Since that time many more juicing books have been written and they are found in healthfood stores. More and more often I hear my clients who have immune-compromised diseases tell me that they have been constipated most or all of their life. I believe there is a connection between the constipation and the disease. Constipation is stagnation and a breeding ground for virus, bacteria, fungi, and other parasites all of which can weaken the immune system.
One priority would be to cleanse the GI tract and deal with the constipation.
Q Is the colon hydrotherapy useful in my particular case? I suffer from bright spots, appearing continuously in my visual field for short time and disappearing soon (but rarely they become small permanent damages of the visual field). Also I feel sometimes mild headaches. Finally, I have suffered from chronic hard constipation for 3 years. I use laxatives continuously. The doctors do not know the cause of my visual disturbances, but do you think, is it possible, that they are caused by intoxication from the colon? Do you knowthe similar cases?
A I have had a history of headache and migraines and some of the visual patterns you describe I associate with migraines. I feel my 'head' pain was and is due to initial and long-standing constipation both emotional and physical.
Laxatives, including herbal, are known to have some deleterious side-effects such as electrolyte imbalance and dehydration...My headaches started to decline after improving diet, receiving rolfing, consuming wheat grass juice and raw juices, practicing intestinal cleansing, stopping vomiting, removing trigger foods like additives, preservatives, wine and salt, and emotional work.
Q Can help for my allergies be found through colonics?
I have always suffered terribly from allergies to pollen and ragweed. I thought my problem would be related to my former chronic constipation to the point of hemorrhoids .
A The old phrase goes 'allergies are a weakened immune system and a weakened immune system is a result of a toxic intestines.' Many authorities feel that allergies are due to an over-permeability of the intestinal wall that is the beginning of an inflammatory response. The over-permeability of the walls allows substances into the blood and lymph and sets up an immune reaction. Clearly, the intestines are congested and upset with this irritated condition. Constipation can cause or be the result of this situation. Colon hydrotherapy can be part of an overall program to undermine the allergies. Go to the following site for 'permeability' information.
Sometimes it seems best to find a place to check ourselves into so that we can devote full time to healing our constipation. I have found some wonderful spas that offer the colonics, wheat grass, yoga, mineral springs. I know a few others exist in Thailand and other countries. Do a search under colon hydrotherapy!
If anyone finds any other resorts offering colon hydrotherapy, please let me know.
Royal Inn Bed & Breakfast, Christina Lake BC Canada
Ubud Sari Health Resort in Bali
Hotel St George Health Care Center, Bad Hofgastein near Salzburg Austria
Anuhea Bed & Breakfast Health Retreat, Maui Hawaii
We Care Health Center and Retreat, Desert Hot Springs CA
Hippocrates Health Institute West Palm Beach FL Brian Clements Director
Optimum Hea lth Institute in San Diego CA and Austin TX
I did not have time to track down these 2 items. Anyone willing to find sources or the original article? I'll publish results in future newsletters.
Breast Cancer And Constipation Studies
I have heard of studies that associate breast cancer with constipation. It has to do with estrogen-uptake particles secreted by the liver. If too many are taken back into the system because of constipation, the flood of extra estrogen in the body can contribute to the creation of breast cancer.
Violence and Constipation
Carl Schultz wrote an article for Acres, The Eco-Agricultural Journal (in the 70's or 80's) on a visit he made to a prison to talk to some high security prisoners. He asked them how many had a BM daily and no one raised their hand. He kept upping the time and thought the guys were uncooperative until he got up to about 2 weeks. Then more men began raising their hands. Long and short, he attributed the 'violent behavior' to internal toxicity from constipation.
Norman Shealy MD, PhD on Constipation
The Yoga Cleansing Techniques
Detoxification By Ted H. Spence DDS, ND, PhD/DSc, MPH
Interview with Medical Herbalist Dr Schulze by Stan Biser on Intestinal Cleansing.
Caution: Big laxative use.
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2. McMillan, Susan C PhD, RN, FAAN. Assessing and Managing Narcotic-Induced Constipation in Adults with Cancer. Cancer Control; JMCC 6(2) 198-204, 1999. ©1999 Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute.
3. McShane RE, McLane AM. Constipation: consensual and empirical validation. Nurs Clin North Am. 1985;20:801-808.
4. McMillan SC, Williams FA. Validity tipation. I-ACT Quarterly. Fall 1999;10,24,28, Insert.and reliability of the Constipation Assessment Scale. Cancer Nurs. 1989;12:183-188.
5. Wong, Sylvester. Case Histories - Cons