Colon Health

About 6 months ago, I got very serious about my colon health and started a serious colon cleanse. You can read all about what book I read and products I used here.

The program lasted about 3 months and by the end, I have to admit that my colon felt better than it ever did.

So now it’s time to share the full story. I don’t like to talk about this shiz, but the fact of the matter is that it is important to get these topics on the table.

My Personal Colon Health Story

As a child, I was The World’s Pickiest Eater. Unfortunately, there was no award. I could happily have lived on stuff like cereal, soda, Pop Tarts, spaghetti, cake, and ice cream. Getting any other food into me was a battle. There were occasionally cold salads eaten (chicken, tuna, potato, cole slaw) but nary a vegetable passed my gullet.

Junk Food Junkie

Since it was the 1970s or maybe it was because I was raised by my father who didn’t overstock the pantry, I often went without eating at all, so at least I was lean and my system got breaks but I was a weak, sickly child who couldn’t manage any physical activity and was definitely picked last in gym class.

At 13, I moved in with my mom and became an ethical vegetarian. By the age of 16, I was so weak and sickly that I was fainting a good 20 times a day. I remember at summer camp, not pooping once for the whole two weeks, and not especially thinking much of it. I just could not poop in a stall or with others within earshot. Or with anyone aware of where I was and what I was up to. Or with any kind of time constraint. I was quite used to my tummy pooching out and with typical girl insanity thinking, I thought this was fat so I kept myself lean in an effort to flatten my belly. Meanwhile, I stretched my colon out and continued to rarely experience proper bowel function.

“I was quite used to my tummy pooching out and with typical girl insanity thinking, I thought this was fat so I kept myself lean in an effort to flatten my belly.”

Constipation is Not Normal!

Many of my friends live their lives with poor bowel function.

Some signs of poor bowel function:

  • feeling bloated or uncomfortable
  • not having at least one daily bowel movement (some say 2 or more),
  • small pellets or
  • diarrhea

Scary X-ray!

Late last summer, I had an x-ray that revealed I had too much in my colon. I was not surprised as I went in quite constipated. The mainstream advice went thusly:

  • have 42g fiber/day (they supplied a list of fiber rich foods, none of which I can tolerate)
  • take a stool softener
  • see a GI specialist

I tried that path. Here is the problem with the fiber recommendation. Pretty much all of the foods they recommended are pure agony to my belly and there was no way I was going to get even close on a diet comprised of so little refined flour and legumes without supplementing. Unfortunately, the supplements are, guess what: bloating! So that was out. Further, I am pretty sure that advice is to counter the horrible standard American diet we have come to accept as normal.

The stool softener seems a fine idea but I don’t agree with their mainstream mystery pellets because A) I couldn’t figure out what the heck was in them and B) they didn’t actually work for me! I use magnesium citrate instead.

As to seeing a GI specialist, the waiting list was many months, the price was a minimum of $600, and we don’t have insurance, so I decided to just tackle this on my own. That brings us to my last post where I began the 3 month cleanse.

But Detoxing is Not Normal!

Some will say we are not meant to do a cleanse (or detox). I would argue that it is not healthy nor normal to carry around crap in our colon. I don’t care how mainstream you are; I am sure you can agree that if it shows up on an x-ray, that’s bad! If the bowels are not functioning normally, it clearly becomes necessary to do the following:

  • clear them the heck out
  • fix the problem going forward

People have been autopsied with up to 40 pounds of junk stuck to their colon walls. Clearly, detoxing is part of the “new normal” after all the mess we’re putting our poor systems through!

One of the issues with our guts is with all the crap we eat. You can take all the probiotics in the world but they can’t take hold in the gut because all the, um, bad biotics (what the heck are those guys called) have taken hold so strongly. You see what I’m getting at? There is just no real estate left for the good doobies so they just make for some expensive poop.

So step one to proper gut health is to clear that crap out of the way!

Detox Results

I’m sure you are all wondering how my big cleanse went! Well, actually, it went great! The book warned me that I might have many bowel movements each day and to progress to each step only as ready. In fact, I tended to only have 1 a day, in the morning, and if I didn’t have magnesium citrate the night before, I needed to take special action to ensure a bowel movement (more on that later).

Towards the end of the 3 months, I decided to test my progress and have a few colonics. A colonic is basically a non-stop series of enemas. If there was still a lot of old, impacted fecal matter up in my colon, I would expect to see crazy amounts of stuff coming out. I have nothing to compare this experience to but I didn’t notice all that much in the view tube in any of my 3 sessions so I can only assume that I was already pretty well cleaned out by that point.

Colon Health Post Detox

Once I completed the cleanse, I noticed that although I felt better overall, including my attitude about life, I still had to be super careful about eating. My main caveat is I cannot just throw down enormous quantities of food. I can party once in a while and overindulge but it’s really better for me in general to stick to whole, healthy foods and keep the portion size reasonable.

Further, I do better if I continually strive to toss down science projects. Ya know, counter top experiments? Not sure what I’m talking about? Stuff like

  • kombucha,
  • kimchi,
  • saurkraut,
  • beet k’vass,
  • yogurt,
  • and anything else that might have live cultures and restore the gut health.

How to Ensure A Bowel Movement

If you are not having at least one healthy bowel movement a day (some would say more), here is what I recommend you do.

  • take at least 400 mg of magnesium citrate about 1/2 hour before bed (I dissolve it in water)
  • in the morning, have a big glass of water (a splash of lemon juice helps)
  • learn whether you’re better off eating, not eating, and/or having some coffee to help get things moving (I choose coffee)
  • Now Listen! There are 2 ways the urge to poop happens. Either it’s like someone taking you by the collar and marching you down the hall, or it’s a gentle tap as if by a ghost on the shoulder. If you are one of the former types, well good for you and your well-spoken colon. If you are one of the latter types, like me, listen for that tiny soft reminder and get the heck to the bathroom post haste.
  • lock the door
  • relax
  • use a squatty potty or stool to raise your feet if that helps
  • and under no circumstances should you strain! That can cause a cycle of hemorrhoids¬†which leads to pain which leads to holding back which leads to constipation (ask me how I know!)

If you find you are constipated, before you even think of taking something like senna, I would strongly recommend using Vitamin C in high dosages to force a bowel movement. If you try that and still find yourself constipated, then take an enema (if you’re brave – I’ve never tried that), a colonic (braver still), or try some senna but do not do the latter more than once every rare once in a while! Senna is habit forming and will cause the exact opposite of what we’re after which is a toned, healthy functioning colon, not a weak lazy clogged one!

Colon Maintenance

I am not under any delusions that my colon is all great and wonderful. What I’m likely living with is a stretched out saggy nasty looking thing with pockets that like to hide stuff. Further, the colon walls may not be the best at absorbing nutrients and I still need to rebuild good gut health.

The focus will continue to be on my science project probiotics and taking some probiotic pills periodically. This is for life.

I will also continue to take regular breaks from eating. There is nothing better for the feeling of cement in the belly than just not throwing down anything else for a while!

I will have a colonic series done again in a few months to take a baseline of what’s going on and repeat the cleanse in another 3 months for at least 3 months. It is a very big commitment but I have to do everything I can to continue to heal because my gut health is still not right! There are days when I hear noises and experience discomfort. Worst are the days when the belly pooches out so much that I have to cancel plans; there is no way I am going to leave the house with it hanging out like that!

What about you? How is your colon health doing? What have you tried or what testing have you undergone? Would you consider trying any of the ideas posted above? Do you have any suggestions on other ways to restore colon health?

1 comment to Colon Health