Ok, I want to write this not just for myself, but maybe to help others that are having bowel problems. I have no idea if it will help anyone but anything is worth a shot hey! Anyone reading these needs to take into account a few things: everyone is different, what worked for me may not necessarily work for you. There may be many other factors why you are not having regular bowel movements. Remember, I am not a doctor this is just my account of what I have been through.
I have no idea whether this bowel problem is because of my endometriosis, fibromyalgia, my stupid body in general or psychological stuffs. I think the problem began from childhood the more I think about it, but I will never know. My past is a whole other barrel of laughs that maybe one day I will share.
There are many things the Doctors say can cause constipation: hyperparathyroidism, hypothyroidism, prescription painkillers, laxatives, antidepressants, antacids, high blood pressure medications, irritable bowel disease (IBD), diabetes, supplements and disease of the colon (Yes some of these I knew but some I did not, so nabbed them off a website, more information in the links below.)
In the beginning I had tried everything to make my bowel movements regular. The doctors thought my bouts of fainting were due to the toxins rising to my brain and into my blood stream. I was going once or twice a month. I was vomiting on a regular basis and it was becoming more and more regular as days passed. I was crying because I was literally full of Sh**t and I didn’t know what to do about it. At times I was pleading and hoping that I would get some sort of food poisoning to just empty me out. But I rarely ever got loose bowel movements like that. I thought I was going to die. I know that sounds very dramatic, but this is how I felt. I had already tried the usual stuff eating a high fibre diet and taking regular medications (Movicol (and those types of powders that come under so many different names,) Senna, Senokot, Picolox, Pico-sulphate, Lactulose, Dulcolax, micro enemas, Glycerin (rectal), large enema’s, bowel preps) To add to the list I also took Buscopan regularly for the spasms my stomach was having pretty much twenty four seven. These are just what I can remember medication wise, there is probably more to add to the list. Nothing was working! I spent so much time back and forth to the doctors. It was doing me in physically and mentally and with the belly swellings I looked like I was ready to give birth at any moment. If anybody else asked when I was due! I swear they would have been having a close encounter with my fist and that is not the appropriate behaviour to have, but at this point enough was enough.
I remember once as a small child even having soap inserted up there, it was unpleasant, but it worked, erm….kind of! But I would not recommend it!
I know during all this chaos I had many visits and some admissions to hospital for this. With most hospital visits they want to do anal examinations. This one time, I made a doctor blush so much, bless his heart. He was trying to calm me down as I was in pain and didn’t want to go through with it. He was thinking I was embarrassed. I was not; I was just in so much pain. I said to him “It’s ok Doc everyone’s been up in here am that use to it.” With that he burst out laughing, so did my husband and the nurse.
I did eventually see a specialist after tests. Oh my god the tests! I try to wipe them from my memory, but still they linger there like a torturous memory.
* I had dye stuff injected into me and they did scans.
*They strapped me onto a table and tilted me upright then did scans.
*They injected me with dye stuff and I had to sit on a commode with cameras on it to see how fast the stuff left my system.
I have had cameras up there many times, been prodded and tested. The end conclusion to all of this was that my bowel in fact is lazy, spasmatic and full of Sh*t. I was soon after discharged from the specialist being told there is nothing they can do for me.
As years went on I still suffered with this, still taking the stuff , which never worked properly, needing enemas to clear me out every so often that did not do the job properly. Bleeding on and off when I did manage to go.
I went to a different doctor. I broke down crying, yes crying! I said I can’t take it no more. I feel so sick and I am in constant pain. I couldn’t believe something as simple as not going for a number two, had become this bad and became a hindrance on my life. He gave me some very good advice and this advice actually worked. He took away the powders (as they were blocking me from the top), he took away my gycerin and enemas (as they were causing bleeding and pain from the bottom) and told me to go away and do this: “Grab a book and spend at least about an hour on the toilet a day. Even if you don’t need to go, just sit there and read a book. This process is about training your body to go again. After years and years of your body not use to going on its own it needs to be re-trained.” I automatically argued with him and told him “It is stupid and my backside would be numb sitting on the toilet that long.” He replied again that I need to retrain my bowel as it is so use to having stuff to go, it has become immune to it and no longer works. So off I went home to spend my hour on the loo, and the next day and the next day and the next day. Hey I got so much reading done, that was a bonus. I felt awful! I was being sick more. I was in more pain. I can’t remember if I phoned or visited the doctor again, knowing me I probably did, but I kept at it at. It wasn’t easy but, it started to work. Within a month I was going nearly every day. I was amazed and happy that my bowel for once was behaving itself.
The past few months have been hell for me bowel wise. I have reverted back to how I was but now it is even worse. Not too long ago I ended up back in hospital this was when I was in England, living in France now. They did a scan/x-ray and found that my bowel was impacted and sent me home again after having two enemas that did not work. They did give me some lactulose though, that was nice of them. Things have got worse since that admission I am in so much pain. So I visited a French Doctor, he is fantastic he gave me many tips on what to eat, and what not to eat and what medication to take and not to take. He gave me some oh my gosh I can’t remember the name of it, it was very sugary and tasted yucky! And some lactulose syrup stuff but it is different to the UK. The exact name is Lactulose Ratiopharm 10mg and its in sachets (you add it to water.)
I am going a lot better since taking the medications above. The only problem now is the pain and the fact I am bleeding, by bleeding I mean the white toilet bowl being red when I have finished and bleeding when I am not even passing a bowel movement. If you find you are bleeding and find this abnormal for you seek medical attention please. I am awaiting results to see if I have inflammation.
Here are some foods the doctor has told me to cut out:
- Apple (The Peel)
- Raw veg such as carrots to only eat them boiled.
- Tomatoes (Pretty sure he means just the skins, if not then erm…well I loves tinned ones)
- Chocolate (sorry girls but it is very bad for ladies with constipation)
- Pasta (I’ve gone to having gluten free, every so often)
- Rice (Gone to having beans and cous cous)
“The exact mechanism isn’t known, but it is thought that the large amount of fat in chocolate can slow the digestion process. It is thought to slow down muscle contractions (peristalsis) and thus foods moving through the bowel.”
- Cut down on Dairy products (I for example only eat sheep cheese now once a week, and only a splash of milk on my cereal, but changing over to another type of milk soon. No yoghurts as the cold on your stomach bad.)
- Red Meat (I knew this anyway and don’t eat it anyway as partly vegetarian as I do eat fish)
Here are some foods the doctor told me to eat:
- Sheep Cheese
- Beans (baked beans,black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, lima beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans.)
- Rye Bread
I also previously cut out medications such as codeine that tend to work as a trigger.
So in a nutshell eat healthy, be active, and drink plenty. Easier said than done I know. I am working on it. If like me you are prone to constipation or bowel problems then an idea is to keep a diary of what you eat and drink, plus a record of your bowel motions (Was it difficult to pass, blood? Include description.) This way you can check out for patterns, what your triggers are and have information to show the doctor if need be. Note to self I must do this. Also I am not saying don’t take medication, as sometimes you just need it! Also I am not saying do not take bowel medication I am saying do not just rely on it and if problems arise maybe a new way to handling your constipation problem is in order.
Food stuffs in more detail, information & tips:
A useful link that an endo sister posted: Self –Adminstered Colonic Massage