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Defining constipation is a battle ground. If asked about constipation, most modern medical doctors answer that if the stool is soft, there is no constipation, even if bowel movements occur only once a week.
I think the medical definition of having soft stools is partially right. If the stools are soft and odor is not excessive, then the movement is probably adequate when considering only function of the colon in passing through waste in that individuals system. It may not indicate ideal health. This particular definition is dependent on fluid intake. If insufficient water is taken in, the colon removes more water from the feces than it should. This causes hard stools, and dehydration constipation. This can also be caused by deliberately holding on to feces and not answering the call of nature. If the feces remain in the bowel too long, they tend to continue dehydrating and get hard. If the stools are soft constipation being defined as hard stools, is a good one.
However, the colon is much more than just a simple conduit for the expelling of waste. Beyond just the issue of whether feces transit time and consistency we need to look at the colon's over all function and evaluate that as well. You should also feel good. If you feel "toxic," headachey, or other problems and are having less than your normal bowel movements it may not be from the accumulation of feces in the colon, but can very well be from the accumulation of waste in the body. I think that this too must be added to the thinking about a clear complete definition of constipation.
Some great modern scientists in medicine like, Dr. Dennis Burkitt MD, famous for defining Burkitt's Lymphoma in 1957, a particularly vicious form of childhood cancer in Africa, agree. He is one of the more famous physicians in this century for his scientific research. He was interested in bowel health and lectured on this at the University of California School of Medicine at San Francisco during the 1980s. His work was primarily in Africa and India, areas noted for excellent bowel health. Colon cancer is virtually unknown in rural Africa and India, as are most other bowel disorders that are so common in the "civilized" world. He studied the diet and habits of the natives. Dr. Burkitt found that they had larger, softer, more frequent bowel movements than people from more advanced cultures. Their diet was primarily fresh, vegetarian with animal products only used as flavorings or an occasional feast. They also had a bowel movement following each meal.
Dr. John Kellogg MD, America's most successful promoter of diet and healthful living and developer of electric blankets and a larger percentage of modern physical medicine, also felt that we should have a bowel movement following each meal, and developed this idea from studying these same peoples of Asia and Africa noted for superior bowel health. So apparently living with a natural life style and diet, having a bowel movement following each meal is normal. These same peoples, when they move to the cities and adopt a more Western life style, are no longer free of colon disease. Their bowel habits change. They develop colon cancer and other diseases unknown to their rural relatives.
Part of the problem in defining constipation is environment. In an ideal setting, where people live very naturally, several bowel movements a day are normal. Having only one would be considered constipation. In fact that is how these natives spot Europeans. The native peoples of those areas move with a fluid easy walk. Europeans do not. We have a stiff jarring form of ambulation. We walk as they do when constipated. They can see a European style of walking in the distance and they describe this as a "constipated" walk. This is how black guerilla fighters would spot Rhodesian white soldiers during the war there. Modern doctors consider long periods between bowel movements normal. Of course the huge amount of colon cancer and other colon diseases among people that are "normal" may be a deterrent to believing this. On a low roughage diet going much longer between bowel movements is normal. Having diverticulosis at fifty is also normal, as is dying of colon cancer.
This whole pattern is just wrong. We were not put here on earth to seek to be average members of a sick society. We were put here to attempt to be the best we can be. We will never be able to define natural health and constipation as less than daily or following each meal, to the satisfaction of modern medicine, so long as they insist on taking average function as normal rather than looking at ideal function. We see the same thing with blood pressure and most other measures of health. The figures taken as normal in conventional medicine are not normal but average. People in primitive societies with healthful lifestyles not only have healthier bowels. They do not usually have increasing blood pressure with age. Having blood pressures similar to young people is common for people in their 80s. Those who have unhealthful lifestyles do have a gradual increase with blood pressure with age. I am a strict vegan and exercise. Every time I pass a blood pressure screening, I stop to have my blood pressure checked. It is usually 100 over 70. The same reading it has been since I was a teenager. When they see my gray hair, they usually tell me my blood pressure is too low. It is normal for a 20-year-old in our culture, but not for someone in their 50s. However I live in a healthful manner, and have little or no atherosclerotic deposits in my arteries. This is normal for a person that lives in a healthful manner, whether they are twenty or eighty! Plugging up of the arteries and all the diseases this causes are usually due to diet. Those that eat a more ideal diet do not develop cardiovascular problems until a very advanced age. The gradual increase in what is considered normal blood pressure in our society, is not normal. It is just considered normal gradually to develop hardening of the arteries with age. Since not everyone does this, it is not normal. It is just that as a society, few people in America live truly healthful lifestyles. We are expected to be normally sick and develop chronic diseases as we age. We are not expected to live as long or as well as we can if we seek a higher road to health.
Normal bowel movements are the same. What is considered normal in America, is not normal, but average. The average person in the advanced countries is constipated if considering ideal function, rather than average. The average person, is constipated throughout life. The average person becomes senile, has high blood pressure, arthritis, diverticulosis, and a host of other degenerative diseases requiring a medicine cabinet full of prescription drugs to control by age sixty in America, Europe, Australia and other developed countries. Viagra, to restore middle age impotent men to short term ability to perform sexually, is the most exciting new drug in our society! If this is the kind of normal life that you seek to live, you will have a lot of company. That fits the current medical model of normal.
V. E. Irons, a leader of the natural health care
movement always quoted, "Death Begins in the Colon." As a founding member
of the Natural Health Federation, V. E. Irons was a major promoter of colon
health. He lived a healthful lifestyle and never sought to be average.
Mr. Irons lived a long vigorous life. His booming voice echoed through
convention centers all over America until well into his nineties as he
advocated colon health. His youngest son was born when he was in
his eighties! Which sort of normal life would you prefer?
If you want to live long and prosper— if you want to live to great
age with a clear mind, sexually active, free of pain, and in
good health, I strongly recommend that you seek a normal that represents
ideal function for your body, rather than seek to be average.
Being average is not only not desirable, it is not possible. Attempting to be average just will not work. All of us are unique. No two people are duplicates of each other. Even identical twins change in response to their environment as their environments differ. We all have habits, injuries, illnesses and stresses that knock our ideal functions away from that ideal function. If we pursue being average, that may mean that this may be the maximum we can expect to achieve. If we do not seek good health, we can live to be about seventy in America. We have to consider also that included in that average are people that do not follow the typical pattern. This means that those strict vegans that live to be 95+ in good health are averaged in as well, so the real potential of those who do not follow good health practices may not even have the average potential. All of us carry an average of six defective genes. Sometimes when we abandon seeking our ideal mode of operation, we activate one of those defects. There is no guarantee that cancer, heart disease, diabetes of some other dread disease may not be activated by living on the Standard American Diet and remove us much sooner than seventy.
A child raised in rural Africa, running around outside all day, eating a very healthful diet, and in a stable happy culture is going to have a better function than one confined in a smoggy city, sitting all day in classrooms and under the stress of an unstable culture. One of the things that changes is bowel function. A tree grows as it is bent. If a child grows up in a less that desirable situation, they adapt. We all do. One of the adaptations is the structure of organs. If we exercise constantly as kids we get larger hearts and develop more physical strength. If we use the power of our mind to learn, we can develop greater intellectual skills. When we seek to live a healthful life, we must seek to live in a way that is ideal for us. Most of us did not grow up living ideal lives, that changes what we can do as adults as well.
We can do more and be more healthful if we develop in the best environment. We can develop undesirable things as easily as desirable ones. One of the things that we can enlarge is our colons. The colon in a more natural state is designed to pass through material for disposal rather rapidly. Chyme (the mix of food & digestive juices starting in the mouth) reaches the colon in from one to four hours. Once waste material reaches the colon it can be pushed through or retained. We can hold back for a period of time to find a proper disposal site. The colon is designed to rid of us of waste in a timely manner. In an ideal society, the previous meal's waste is expelled after consuming the next meal, or waking up. We can change that normal transit time in a child by the way they are raised. Once we are grown, like most things we do have an individual ideal transit time that should not change without trauma to the GI tract. A child that grows up on a low residue diet, with the pressures of indoor toilets and toilet training can't be expected to have the ideal function of a child raised more healthfully. The pressure to conform to the artificial lifestyle of civilization will inhibit this process. They will have less waste material to expel. They will retain it longer. This increases the transit time through the GI tract. It enlarges the colon. The harder masses of undigested food in a child that is constantly constipated causes the colon to grow larger than it would if they were living a more healthful life style with more frequent softer bowel movements. This occurs even though they will have smaller bowel movements than their more natural living counterparts in other parts of the world. So as adults we may not be able to return to Eden nor have ideal bowel health either, without some sort of crutches.
The colon of a person on a low residue diet requires increased pressure to propel the feces through the colon. This increased pressure eventually causes small herniations in the lining of the bowel. This is diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is considered normal by age fifty in the United States. It is very very rare in rural Africa and other healthful living cultures who have multiple bowel movements per day. If you grew up in America, Europe, Australia, etc., or on a Western diet and lifestyle, you cannot expect to return to the colonic function of that of someone raised in a healthful primitive culture. What is normal for them is not normal for you. You were never there, or at least did not have that level of function at any point beyond infancy. What is normal for you can be improved, but it will reach a point of best function for you. Considering that, expecting that most people from advanced nations to ever approach the ideal function is not reasonable. We should seek what is ideal for us? If needed to be healthful, we should use supports to enhance function.
I encountered an important example of this failure to use standards appropriate to the individual when I was practicing in Scotland. I had several Scottish patients suffering from ankle problems referred from a local yoga group. The difficult was an Indian Yogi from India was teaching them. He had grown up sitting on the floor and being quite flexible. He could squat, quite comfortably, flat footed on the floor. He tried to encourage his students to do all the same moves that he could do. The better students worked and stretched to achieve this, then they began to have injuries. When I saw these patients, I flashed back to a lecture in chiropractic college. The source of the problem was easily identified on the skeletons we used in graduate school to study the anatomy of the bones. The instructor asked us to guess where two different skeletons had come from. One was larger, bigger boned etc. The other was small. It was definitely an adult, but was child size by our standards. It was an easy guess that the larger one was European and the other from India. Until recently, a bustling business was selling Indian skeletons to Western health care schools. Part of the reason for this is that Indians, from India, and Europeans are the same race. There are some differences between races in the skeletal structure, but basically Europeans and Indian Indians are very close, except in size. This makes their skeletons more valuable in teaching students who will be dealing with a primarily European patient base. So our guess was right.
Then the professor took off showing differences in the skeletons, an area of his interest. Indians grow up with a different culture and society. Part of that difference is the use of chairs. Among the poor in India it is more common to squat than it is to use chairs. In the villages groups of men or women squatting to work, or just to chat with their friends are always seen. These poor people are the source of skeletons. Take a young child and have them always sit in chairs as is done in Europe, they develop a shorter talus joint. Their ankle joints are never stressed as they would be if they constantly squatted as children do in India. Little kids are very plastic. It is easy to shape their joints, minds and bodies. By age five or so the bones form to function as they have been doing in these early years. Their structure is set in bone. The joint will no longer grow or stretch changing shape. So being able to squat with their feet flat on the floor is usual for Indians. Europeans cannot usually do this. We squat, but have to balance on our toes because the ankle joint will not bend that far. Those yoga students that tried to force their joints beyond their normal range of motion damaged their ankles, and still could not squat flat footed.
If you had chronic constipation as a child and this was not dealt with, you may never have more than daily bowel movements. You may need to continue to use means to control and deal with this as an adult. It is very important, that we live as healthfully as possible. We must live in a way that is healthful for us. That way is slightly different for every person. It is very important to be aware that the health and way our children are growing up can affect their lives forever, and may leave them with problems that cannot be corrected as adults. Scoliosis caused by a fixation in the spine during puberty is a common problem among women. If it is caught early, at about 10 to 12 for most girls, and they receive proper chiropractic care, it is possible that most cases can be reversed. Dr. Frederic Barge, DC, a chiropractor has pre and post x-rays of hundreds of patients showing the correction of spinal curvature by chiropractic adjustments in his office. If it is not caught or treated improperly, the child becomes a woman with a twisted back. No amount of care can ever make their back straight and they require a life time of care to keep their spines working properly if this window of opportunity during the rapid growth of bones is missed. Unfortunately not all forms of scoliosis can be corrected this easily. Only about 80 to 90% or these patients can be cured by chiropractic care. Some forms of scoliosis cannot be this easily corrected. Among boys, forms of scoliosis that are from genetically misshapen vertebra is more common. This is not changed by manipulation of the spine. Nevertheless, the great majority of curvature in teen age girls and some boys can be prevented by appropriate chiropractic care.
Large dysfunctional colons are usually similar. If a child remains constipated, their colon is stretched. If it grows stretched, it will enlarge to meet the load put in it, and the child will never have completely normal bowel movements. So being solicitous over the functions of children's bowels is important after all. If you correct the problem and keep them into a diet that keeps their bowels working several times a day, the health of their colons can remain good throughout life. If you allow them to go days between bowel movements as kids, and don't question why they don't feel good, they may never be able to have normal bowel movements as adults. You want to correct the cause of the problem. You also do not want to wait to correct problems until permanent damage is done. Allowing children to spend days constipated can cause irreversible negative changes. These changes can follow them throughout life. Detecting and preventing these problems in advanced countries requires conscious vigilance.
These sorts of chronic problems usually begin in areas of decreased sensation. The colon does not have the warning system alerting you to problems. The colon does not have the nerve supply that the skin has. The skin is richly supplied with all sorts of sensing nerve tissue. It can tell, touch, pain, heat or pressure. The colon is only sensitive to rapid stretching. It will not let you know overtly that there is a constant stretching of its wall or if it is being damaged by toxins or irritants. As an adult or child, there is usually no direct pain from constipation. The first signs may be quite subtle. Signs of constipation may be just gas, or commonly moodiness, nervousness and ill temper. Gastritis, or indigestion, is defined as a vague abdominal discomfort, a bad taste in the mouth, ranging up to nausea, lack of appetite, headache, etc. This may be a manifestation of constipation. The first treatment recommended for acute gastritis in the pre 1960 home medical books was a large warm saline enema to clear the bowel. Bowel disorders are very indirect in presenting symptoms. A mother that knows her children may come to know instinctively the state of her children's bowels by their emotional state. As we all grow older and learn to control our functions, more and more layers of camouflage cover our inner feelings, both physical and mental. If we remember to recognize and read these internal signals of bowel malfunction, it can be a great help in living long and well.
The colon rarely gives any direct indication of what is going on there other than by not moving at all, or diarrhea. It reflexes signs of problems to other systems. There are pain centers and surface areas that are reflex points to the colon. Some of these are the very top of the head, a spot about one inch lateral the fifth lumbar vertebra bilaterally, and the general area below the naval. These points can hurt, ache or just cause a dull steady pain. It does not mean that there is anything causing the pain in those areas themselves. We frequently see patients with constipation, colitis, or other bowel disorders in chiropractic offices complaining of low back pain or headaches. If that pain is in a colon reflex area, questioning of the patient to rule out bowel disease or constipation is part of the examination. There are others reflex points. These are all listed in a number of older neurology texts in my library. This article will be reprinted for paid subscribers with an in depth section on this. I will include illustrations and a comprehensive list in the final reprint of this article along with several pages of references to support the statements made here.
In addition to reflexes that can be caused by direct stimulation of the nerve fibers of the colon, there are systemic changes. The colon is an endothelial tissue, so is the brain. These tissues having developed in the same general tissue share some basic chemical functions. Most of the specialized neurotransmitter chemicals that the brain uses to transmit information are also produced in the GI tract. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter. It is of particular importance in depression and migraine headaches. There are more than ten neurotransmitters used in the brain by specialized brain cells, all with different general functions and interacting with each other. These transmitters carry information from cell to cell in the brain. These functions and their interactions are so complex that we barely have a handle on how they work. Even the most brilliant scientists cannot form working models of the interactions of all these chemical interactions within the brain. It is very complex. Our brains are designed to abstract only three dimensional problems, these interactions involve ten or more dimensional interactions. Our dealing with these interactions comes down to changing one or a few inputs and seeing what happens. Supplements or prescriptions to alter these systems artificially can have unexpected and unwanted side effects. Some of what we do know is that it is common for more of these neurotransmitters to be produced in the GI tract than the brain. Ten times as much serotonin is produced in the gut as is produced in the brain. We know that generally the systemic levels of these neurotransmitters altered by conditions in the gut affects the function of the brain.
In the Bible it states that the colon is the seat of the personality. We know that the function of the GI tract affects the gut's production of these neurotransmitters, which are then circulated in the system and can affect the brain. Thousands of years ago when the Bible was being written down there was not a lot of discussion about neurotransmitters. They did know that constipated people lacked good personalities! They knew that what we eat and how the colon is functioning affected the mental state of everyone. I will also include a full neurological explanation of all this listing the neurotransmitters, and hopefully what stimulates or inhibits their production and how this may alter the brain function in the final edition of this article that will be distributed to paid subscribers. In English— constipation causes a crappy attitude! Constipated people are nervous, irritable and hard to get along with. People with good bowel function tend to be congenial, relaxed and themselves. Everyone that has ever done colon therapy has noticed a tremendous difference in patients after a colonic irrigation or enema. People that are not constipated are just more mellow. If they are constipated, they can be very ill natured, tense, nervous, very rigid in their personality, etc. Then following removal of the waste from the colon, they are different people. They are much nicer to be around. Sometimes this is the best indicator of constipation, and its correction.
There is an old story about the parts of the body. They were debating which was the most important. The brain of course claimed to be most important, as various others. The anus claimed it was the most important. As an impasse developed the anus went on strike and closed down. After about three days the brain was in pain, the stomach was not working and it was acknowledged that the anus was the most important part of the body. Seriously, we don't always think about the function of things until there is a very overt problem. This may be correct in many ways. It certainly is with ideal bowel or GI function. I am sure that among those natives observed by Dr. Burkitt and Dr. Kellogg, there is very little attention to the bowels. They just work. It is unlikely that a laxative company could make enough money in those countries to justify marketing their products. It is much more of an issue in the advanced countries where ideal function does not exist. Sale of laxatives is very high in the rich and powerful countries. Laxative ads costing millions of dollars each are routine on prime time television. The concern over bowel health is common here. The function of bowels is generally a problem here. The sale of laxatives is a many billion dollar a year industry in America alone. I think that our preoccupation with constipation as a nation, is not wrong. It is right! We know that we are not functioning as we should, and the logical thing is to assume what is needed is to flush the bowels. Any time the body is not eliminating waste appropriately most people want a flush. This is natural. It is very normal. This is what we should seek.
Being the advanced countries, we are the educated people. Being educated humans we have just succeeded in educating ourselves away from nature so well we often employ treatments that are not helpful, and may be harmful. We take laxatives and other low grade poisons to force our bowels to move rather than consider the source of the constipation. On the other hand our physicians, our best educated class, often encourage us to just ignore irregularity, all together. Both approaches are intrinsically wrong. It is not good to constantly dose the system with chemicals to force the body to work with an internal and external environment that is unhealthful. This is harmful. The harm done to the liver and GI tract by dosing on constant toxins to force bowel movements has prompted a real reason for the physicians move to discourage patients from being concerned over their bowel functions. This answer to the explosion of laxative sales has some merit, but ignores a very real problem. Some doctors have tried to characterized everyone that is concerned about constipation as neurotic. They characterize everyone that seeks to have daily bowel movements as having a mental illness! I think that it is likely that most of these doctors have bigger mental problems than their patients! One of the fundamental requirements of living is the removal of waste from the system. To describe a doctor that sees all patients suffering from constipation as having a mental problem as full of it, is far too kind! I consider this a very serious form of quackery! These statements indicate a very serious misunderstanding of the basic sciences of health. They ignore one of nature's basic laws.
Elimination of waste is a fundamental need of all living things. If a person feels that they need to get waste material out of their body, it has been my observation that they need to get waste out of their body. The body is a basic biological machine. Operating in a perfect environment, it seems to operate perfectly. It is just that we do not operate in Eden. It is not simple when we move our machines out of their designed operating environment. Probably the most unnatural part of environment is elimination. The desire to purge, in my opinion, has some basis in a real need for all the patients I have seen. It may not be being properly handled, and there may be a serious misapplication of knowledge, or a lack of knowledge driving a crave that should be addressed in a very different manner. What I believe is that if there is a desire to clean the bowels, we should seek to learn why this individual feels this way. Perhaps even more importantly for over all health, we should wonder why anyone would want to keep toxic waste inside their body when it by design should be expelled.
Would you let a horse stand on your foot for three days before you tried to get it off? Then why would you want to wait three days to empty bowels that are being stretched out of shape and permanently damaged by constipation. If you let a horse stand on your foot for three days, it might never work right again either. Why would you wait while colon is being blown up like a balloon and hope that it would do better? Why would you wait while the system is poisoned by the reabsorption of toxins that should have been expelled? Why would you allow the bowel to swell beyond its normal size and risk a torsion? A torsion of the bowel can twist and destroy a segment of the GI tract. This always resulted in death until the later half of this century. Now with modern surgery many patients can be saved to live a life of constant abdominal discomfort and GI dysfunction, following such a bowel trauma. We should be aware of our bodies and relieve ourselves when nature calls. If we know we are not functioning properly why not take care of it straight away? We should seek to understand why this system malfunctions. When we just know our bowels are not doing what they should we should not be embarrassed to get competent advice and treatment to help them function properly. I believe it is best to take a gentle enema at the onset of problems, rather than wait. If they system is not working as it usually does, treat it then. If you normally have a daily BM every morning, and it does not happen. Take an enema as soon as practical. If a side cramp and gas are present, correct it. We all, if we learn to know our bodies, know when they are not working right. When the oil light comes on in your car, you don't drive it until the engine blows. You fill it up with oil! If you check the oil regularly and treat it in a timely manner, it can run a long time. If you treat your body when you know it needs to be treated, it can run a long time.
All of us living in the first world at times have these sorts of problems. If the lifestyle is healthful, it should not be common. It is just that a healthful life style is so rare in our culture that we have trouble recognizing what normal is. We grow up in a society in which food is a dead, thick, pasty glue that "sticks to our ribs," not to mention what it does to our colons. We eat more meat and animal products than any culture outside the arctic or severely cold climates in the history of the world. If it is not frozen, canned, bottled or radiated many Americans may refuse to eat it! Occasionally the anus does go on strike or overtime and let us know that we have to get rid of this stuff. Healthful people, whether children or adults should not need assistance that often. Healthful living people like those in rural Africa and India, don't often think about constipation. It just doesn't happen that often, but when it does they try to correct it in a timely manner. The use of enemas is still a common therapy in rural Africa, India and other countries with lower rates of serious bowel disease.
If we consider only the accumulation of feces
in the colon, it is my belief that these should be removed from the body
at least daily, even if inadequate roughage is taken in to cause this.
We need to look at the function of the colon. The colon is thought of as
an organ of elimination. It is. Of course, there should be a healthful
society of flora in the colon. These bacteria do more than just break down
waste. They make things like vitamin B-12 and other nutrients needed by
the body from nutrients left in the chyme, as well as prepare the
feces for elimination. The colon is a final processing center for food.
It is also a major avenue for getting rid of waste. The other avenues are
more specific in what they can discharge. The skin loses water, and some
waste. The breath waste is almost totally carbon dioxide, sometimes with
a little halitosis. The kidneys excrete selected waste in the urine. Some
things go out that way, others can't. These systems secrete specific, selected
toxins out of the body. The colon is much more general. It is the bodies
variable and general waste removal system. By design it is the solid
garbage collector of the body. The kidneys, skin and lungs filter through
the cells of the body and emit specific waste products. The colon works
in a very different way. Of all the major elimination system it is the
only one that expels everything not used or absorbed from the food, as
well as getting rid of an array of toxins and waste products. We can get
rid of excess cholesterol in feces. We can get rid of some heavy metals
like lead and other things that can be expelled no other way.
This solid waste system, much like the solid waste systems of our cities
gets rid of everything that cannot be expelled by other specific
systems. Everything can't be flushed! The things you put in the general
garbage cannot be handled by the newspaper, can or plastic recyclers.
The kidneys specifically balance the water levels of the body. The colon reclaims water mixed with food in the small intestine. The colon withdraws more water if we get dehydrated. It is not intended to get rid of liquid waste, in fact a major function of the colon is removal of water from the feces. The only time we should be losing liquid waste via the colon is when this system fails to work or is turned off, and we have diarrhea. On entering the colon the contents are very watery. The food we eat is digested in acid in the stomach. Then on exiting the stomach a large amount of alkaline fluid is injected into the small intestine from the pancreas, and fat solvents are injected to disburse fats are injected from the liver and gall bladder. In this area the food is a thin soup. As it transits through the small intestine, it is digested by pancreatic juices and bile salts. The fragmented nutrients are pulled across the intestinal barrier into the body. What remains on reaching the colon is intended to be completely free of usable sugars, fats and most usable proteins. All that should remain is matter indigestible to the bodies own digestive mechanisms and deliberately excreted waste products. The final stage of digestion that takes place in the colon is done by friendly flora that can create products and digest materials that normally are not digestible by our own bodies. It is here that much calcium absorption takes place, and that a large colony of friendly colonic flora take a last ditch effort at to extract the last morsels of useful food sources in this waste mass.
The fact that all this enters the colon in a liquid state makes it possible to get at the nutrients and process them. However if we lost all this water in feces, as we can with cholera and other forms of severe diarrhea, we can die from dehydration very quickly. Diarrhea occurs when the GI tract is irritated by a toxin. This is what happens with cholera. The bowel excretes liquid as a response to the toxin and this is not reabsorbed. I have lived in Saudi Arabia, India and other countries where cholera and other dysentery causing microbes flourish. Dysentery is rather common. There I gained much more personal knowledge of those diseases than I desired! When you have dysentery, you hover near the bathroom, and get weaker and weaker. Usually you don't feel that bad. Occasionally you are afraid that your anus and surrounding tissue is about to spontaneously combust as it burns without flames following these very frequent bowel movements. However, except for this local pain diarrhea is not usually that painful. When you finally make it down to the clinic and get a prescription to stop the runs, you exchange diarrhea for a headache. If the headache gets extreme, all you need to do is stop the anti-diarrhea medication. The runs come back and the headache goes away. Anti diarrheal medications can have a great deal to do with causing headaches. Heads or tails, either way, you lose!
Toxins can either be gotten rid of or kept. If you keep them, they cause other problems. It is a choice. One of the tried and true treatments for diarrhea, is large warm, isotonic enemas. These relieve and sometimes remove the source of the toxicity. They may help ease some forms of both the diarrhea and headaches. These are not without risk, and with severe diarrhea may not be a good idea. Enemas should never be used unless there is a good understanding of the procedure and the pathology. You should always consult with a health care provider, to determine the right course of action and mixtures to use in the enemas. Some diarrheas require extra precautions. For this the salts added to the enema solutions may need to be very precise. Be sure the procedures being used are correct. If dysentery could be consistently cured by enemas, it would have made a very large decrease in the number of patients that died of this before this century. It does ease the symptoms, but it may be difficult to avoid electrolyte losses, or balance them properly. With diarrhea there tends to be a loss of alkali, so that baking soda is needed to replace lost bases. Sometimes it may be an acidic diarrhea. And even if the pH ( the acid base balance measure) is maintained there are other factors. You want to balance, sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, fluoride etc.
Dealing with diarrhea can be a life or death choice. This was the leading cause of death before this century, and still is in many parts of the world. World wide diarrhea is still the main cause of death in small children. Control of diarrhea has been a problem for humans throughout history. In fact a genetic defect is linked to this very common cause of death before the loss of fluid could be controlled by medications or replaced by IV drips. Cystic fibrosis is a serious genetic defect. This disorder kills the children it affects. It occurs when both parents are carriers of the defective gene. If a child inherits the defect from them both, it is fatal. About one of every 200 people of European stock carry this gene. However, is it a defective gene? You happen to be a carrier of this disease if you inherited one healthful gene from one parent, and a cystic fibrosis gene from the other parent. If you are a carrier, you have a rather remarkable genetic trait— you don't usually get diarrhea! This genetic defect was in fact a blessing to those who carried it in all the years that diarrhea was the main killer of mankind. They tended to survive, have children and pass on the trait. Now that diarrhea is controlled in modern society, this trait is not useful, and we only see the deaths that occur from the unions of carriers. Sickle cell anemia is very similar. Carriers have increased immunity to malaria. Malaria is a major killer in the area of Africa that sickle cell trait is endemic. Those of us, who do not carry sickle cell trait, are far more likely to die from malaria, and this is one reason whites have done so poorly in their efforts to colonize Africa. There are just too many diseases there that are fatal to Europeans.
In all people the small intestine pours its watery contents into the colon. A major function of the colon is to remove water from this soup leaving the solid waste and just enough water to make it pass easily. However, the colons responsibility does not stop there, its order is not just to get a perfect amount of water out. Its orders specifically are to maintain the level of water in the general circulation. So that if we become dehydrated, the colon will withdraw all the water it can from the feces, leaving a hard stool that is difficult to move on through to the rectum. We see this form of constipation on x-ray very frequently when viewing low back and abdominal films. It is illustrated by a mass of retained fecal material in the ascending colon on the right side of the abdomen. This is the sort of constipation that is so very common in spring and summer and at any time during dehydration.
There are several types of constipation. This is probably the most common, and universal is as a secondary effect of dehydration. We all can get constipated from a lack of water intake to meet environmental needs. Lets go into that a little. I have been thinking about that today. It is the first really warm day of the year. This type of constipation occurs due to the function of the colon to reabsorb water from the chyme as it transverses the ascending colon. The rate of absorption of water at this point is more than ten times as fast as is absorption of water from the small intestine. This explains why the relief of dehydration is so much faster following a large warm enema, and why the constipation can come on so rapidly. Dehydration constipation is common in summer, with excess perspiration, inadequate fluid intake and any other dehydrating condition. It occurs on the right side of the abdomen and is a little more difficult to treat due to this. While obstipation and the other forms of constipation may have no seasonal pattern, or may be slightly better in the summer if the consumption of fresh vegetables is increased, the dehydration form is more common in the summer months when a better diet and increased physical activity may increase the function of the body and bowel in general.
Typically it occurs in children who on the release from the confines of winter and being cooped up inside spring forth. They run, jump until they are lathered up like race horses, dehydrated and depleted of their salt stores. The timing of this activity has something to do with whether they will become constipated or not. If they have just eaten, the chances increase because of the presence of quantities of food in the GI tract. If they are already tending to hold back a bowel movement it also ads to the likelihood of increasing constipation already present. The loss of fluid and salt not only affects the bowels. The brain literally swells if the cerebrospinal fluid is too low in sodium chloride causing pressure on the brain and can result in a severe global headache. Kids play in the summer sun until they return home red faced and seeming near a sun stroke. If they in their excitement forget to drink water or are so busy that they don't go home or to the drinking fountain this is a common outcome. Adults fare no better. The first hot days of summer result in a highly salty sweat as these organs come alive. It is common to have global headaches during these first few days of heat even if enough water is drunk if adequate sodium chloride is not also taken in to replace that, that is sweated away. These sometimes severe headaches in those unaccustomed to living or working in the heat is readily relieved by some salt tablets and water. It is relieved faster if this is done rectally. A good warm enema with one level teaspoon of table salt, or preferably sea salt per quart of water often fixes any upper bowel constipation while rapidly restoring both the water and the salt lost in perspiration. I always see a wave of headache cases like this in my office on these first hot days of spring in the warmer climates or summer.
This summer constipation I remember as a teenager. It was in my early teens when I began to work with my father building in our trailer park during hot humid southern summers. I had some severe headaches with the heat, and some bouts of severe constipation. Digging ditches at age 13 and 14 during the summers was hot work. I sweated like a trouper. I did not even know I was constipated at times. I had no desire to go. I was much too shy as a teen age boy to tell anyone that I couldn't go to the toilet. I suffered once for about a week. I had foul-smelling gas, abdominal pain and a horrendous headache. Finally with a round of copious diarrhea I felt better. By the time I was 16 I still had these problems in summer, but often my parents would leave me alone at that age. I would slip into the bathroom while they were away from home. I pulled out the enema syringe and learned to use it on myself. That would take care of the problem. Then I would return it to its storage place never letting anyone know I had used it. If I couldn't get the privacy to sneak an enema I would suffer for days sometimes.
This form of constipation is very common in the South. It was more common in the years of my youth when we did not have air conditioning. Half the summer we slept under one sheet with a fan blowing on us to try to be cool enough to sleep. The salty sheets and pajamas of that era bore testimony of the loss of fluids every steamy Southern night. The constant drinking of water helps, as does the intake of salt. (As a disclaimer here the problems I am now describing are common, however their treatment and management are written for those without high blood pressure, kidney disease which prevents the excretion of sodium or other metabolism problems that makes the use of salt dangerous.) During the summer, good parents make sure to insure that they and their families are consuming copious amounts of liquid.
In the South the drink is a social courtesy that comes from this necessity. Providing a bucket and drinking dipper was always present in the fields and porches of the South. On stepping on the porch, it was common courtesy to offer a water dipper to visitors. On hot days visitors would down a few dippers of water, and use one to wash the sweat from their faces. Everyone drank out of the same dipper. Then we became more educated. I remember my uncle telling about concern growing about this sharing of a common drinking vessel. As the level of education grew in the South, we began to understand that we might be sharing diseases by drinking out of a commonly used dipper. He was working on a crew. One of the wives had told them that this was unsanitary, that they needed to be using a sanitary cup. One of the men went to town and brought back one of the little wax paper sanitary cups. They all drank out of that for a while, but with half a dozen men using one little cup, it got pretty grungy by the end of the day. They went back to the dipper, sanitary or not.
Somehow the offering of just plain spring water expanded to offering other drinks. We constantly offer iced tea, or other drinks. Now in many circles soft drinks are offered. This cool liquid saturated with sugar has other effects as well. Tea is mildly toxic. Coffee is more so. Coca Cola got its name from the addition of a secret ingredient that gave its drinkers a burst of energy and got them working with vigor. That secrete ingredient was cocaine. It is no longer in Coca Cola. It was years ago. Since it no longer contains cocaine, and drinking it will not result in frenzies of work activity. Alcoholic beverages are not good sources of water. Hard drinks such as whiskey and the like are definitely dehydrating if the alcohol content is too high. Beer is much less so, but the dehydrating effect of this too, makes it less ideal a drink for thirst that it is played up to be.
I am a Southerner. I want to be socially gracious to my guest and to be a good guest. Drinking with friends is a great social occasion. However finding a good social drink is difficult. Room temperature water is to be preferred over all drinks. It restores the water, naturally, and has no calories or other deleterious substances. The offering of room temperature water is not the mark of a southern gentleman. But then again neither is the sitting in a standard width chair. Southerners are noted for courtesy, hospitality and broad bottoms. Overweight is a large problem in the South. In fact in my causal observance, I believe that there is a higher degree of obesity in the South than any other region of the world as far as I know. This in my opinion is in large part because of the need for extra water living in the southern heat from March through early October. Those that drink only water do not tend to get fat. Those that drink sugared ice tea or soft drinks do. It is quite easy to consume three to four thousand calories a day from drinking soft drinks alone during a hot summer day. The consumption of coffee or unsweetened tea doesn't have this disadvantage, but it does stress the heart. Beer and alcoholic beverages can cause dehydration and have other disadvantages as well as having a lot of unneeded calories. For the prevention of dehydration--- water, lots of room temperature water, this corrects the problem of a shortage of water. Get your calories from food, not artificial drinks. To prevent summer constipation drink water—lots of it. In general, whatever your climate, you should load with plain water at least once per day enough to cause a dilute urination. This is a sign that the kidneys are working properly and flushes the system. Again in general it is good to flush each elimination system at least daily.
Another factor that can cause summer constipation is incorrect food choices. In winter the stove running in the house is fine. It warms the place up. In summer it also warms the place up. Before air conditioning in those balmy humid 100 degree plus days no one wanted the house warmed up. Our ancestors ate a lot of salads, watermelon and other foods that did not need to be cooked. Some even cooked outside. When I was growing up the first places to get air conditioning were restaurants. On hot days all the burger places would be packed with Southerners escaping the heat. My mother was a good cook. She prepared beans, greens and other good foods all during the summer. Only occasionally did she take a break from cooking and Dad would take us to town to eat. Other families lived all summer at the fast food restaurants. Then they returned home to drink tea, beer or soft drinks while watching television. Prior to this way of living, I do not believe that the South was as noted for human mass as it became then and is known now.
The type of eating done in the south is very high in calories, cholesterol and low in roughage and other necessary ingredients for good health. I had a patient that I did a barium enema on some years ago. He was 41, single and did not like to cook. In addition he had a routine diet that he liked. He ate only fast food hamburgers. With this diet he had a vegetable, actually four--- a slice of tomato, a few slices of pickles, a slice of onion and a piece of lettuce. This is all that he had reported eating for ten years. He was having regular constipation. This is the reason he had come to our office. His internist was treating him for high blood pressure and angina. On his x-ray he had irritable bowel syndrome and an area that we could not rule out as cancer. He in other ways would not have been picked as a candidate for all these diseases. He had a good frame, a history of a healthful body and no history of heart disease, etc., in his family. However, by eating this steady diet of only hamburgers he was headed for a short life.
The very high heart attack rate and cancer rate in the South is directly due to this way of eating. Constipation is only one expression of the beginnings of pathologies that eventually take the lives of those that cannot learn to live in a healthful manner. The enema is a good symptomatic treatment for those that choose to live this way, and the regular use of enemas will improve their health, but the enema will not undo all the damage done by eating in such a way. Enemas and other treatments help all of us when needed. The use of these methods to cover up or undo temporally the problems brought on by incorrect choices and lifestyle is a band aid approach. I am a child of the South. I hope to be here many more decades in good health. At 53 I am within a few years of the average lifespan for a South Carolinian.
In South Carolina we have one of the shortest life spans in the United States. However, I had a grand uncle who lived to 96, and have a grand aunt that is almost 100. Both of these people preferred vegetables, did not drink alcohol or smoke and lived healthful active lives. There are many Southerners like them. While a high proportion of the population lives on fast food, soft drinks and alcohol and die very early. Some don't. There are those like Senator Strom Thurmond, that eat sensibly, don't drink or smoke, and keep fit. He is 96 and Americas oldest senator. I had the chance to vote for him, as had my father, grandfather, great-grandfather and son. If he last another three terms my grandsons may vote for him. How many political leaders have had the opportunity to be supported by five or six generations of one family? He has been around a long time!
If you are in a situation where for whatever reason you get over heated and cannot get enough water to prevent the ascending colon from being filled with hard feces, enemas are in order. This type of constipation is centered far above the rectum on the right side of the abdomen in the ascending colon. This is as far in the colon as it is possible to get from the rectum as we follow it around. To loosen and wash out constipation from this area it is necessary to fill the cecum and hold the water for a few minutes, preferably 10 to 15 before expelling it. It may be necessary to take several injections of enema to accomplish this, and any number of small injections will not likely have any effective. One smaller enema, as much as the patient can hold followed by a full filling enema is fine, but it is necessary for the patient to take hold of enough water to fill the far end of the colon. See the procedures for a large enema at my site http://www.lifeknox.com. The amount of water will vary considerably with different patients. We all have different sizes of colons. The little chemical enemas are absolutely useless in treating this sort of condition, and could actually make it worse by increasing dehydration.
Many a hot summer day in the days before the ever present noise of TV with the family would sit on the porch feeling the slightly cooler night air blow over them. The quite of a rural Southern night in the days before electronic age and most modern conveniences was deep. Sitting on the porch watching bats dive for insects and listening to the bugs buzz outside the screened in porch was part of a lot of good evenings. After rural electrification was complete, it was still a common summer activity. As the father and children rocked and listened to the night sounds of birds, bugs and bats, sometimes another muffled sound was heard. From the darkening porch as the sun turned off the outside lights little at a time, the bugs were not the only singers in the night. In a back bedroom near the bathroom a light was on. Behind that closed door one of the older kids lying of the bed, their underwear crumpled on covers in front of them was beginning to warble to a different song. Having worked in the field all day dripping perspiration, they had come home with a catch in their side, a gas attack and a headache. Tonight inside the heat of the house their mother worked with them. The first half of the big red bag had gone in pretty easy. The second half was being a lot harder. As she held the bag up sweat was still forming small beads on the kid's forehead. They panted and pleaded, singing out various verses of "I gotta go!" The nozzle stayed put. The water kept coming until momma knew it was done. Finally, with a summer time shiver their calves quivered. It was all in. Then squeezing back for another 15 minutes they held the big enema. The silence of the summer night was at last broken. Quick footsteps on a creaking wood floor, the slamming of the bathroom door and the sounds of cascading water seeped though the sweltering house. The creak of the rocker and squeak of the porch swing continued till at last the now unconstipated and headache free youngster joined the family listening to crickets sing. They would watch bats dive for bugs in the twilight sky. A serene smile would fade over their siblings face, then a rumble below sent them quick stepping to the toilet again. The headache was gone, the sky turned to a ribbon of purple, they were ready for bed.
The emptying of enema bags into dehydration constipated colons is less now than in the past with the advent of air conditioning, but the summers heat is only a door away and cannot always be avoided. Now a good air conditioner stops the beads of sweat after being indoors a few minutes, and TV and video games divert attention away from thinking about body functions or diet. Most children can be fed mud pies while playing video games and do not notice the need to relieve their bowels unless their abdomens swell large enough to block their view of the screen. Not many children work in the fields anymore. Still a day in town, on the road, playing with friends at school or just living draws out the water from young and old colons when the call of outside fun or work draws the New South residents out into the 100+ degree humid heat. The boys at football practice suffer as do the track team. Outdoor work doesn't stop because the temperature goes up. Roads are paved in blistering heat and crops still need tilling and tending. Women and girls suffer more than most. Men by nature have more stable hormonal balance. The premenstrual period adds to summers pull by creating water retention in addition to the sweats water loss. In the summer heat an active premenstrual girl may suffer more from water deprivation than a boy and subsequent ascending bowel constipation. In fact if she is not diligent about her fluid intake and salt balance, this may be a common problem year round. The increase in meat and junk food consumption worsens the consequences of errors and there is no reason to think that the need for the large warm enemas to clear this form of constipation is in any degree lessened now that it was 50 years ago.
This can also occur deliberately. When toilet training kids, it is common to restrict liquid intake for a few hours before bed to help prevent bed wetting. I suppose this may work, but it also has another effect. In teaching a child to tolerate thirst, they learn to tolerate thirst. It is an easy habit to get into. One of my professors in chiropractic college, a PhD in neurophysiology from Loma Linda Medical School, made much ado about water intake. He said we should deliberately load up on water and force the kidneys to act frequently. He always drank his eight glasses of water a day in addition to any other fluids he took in. If we become accustomed to being mildly dehydrated, or he was right that the brain's set point for water intake was too low, it is logical to assume that many people are constantly dehydrated. This could result in a chronic upper colon constipation due to dehydration.
For the treatment of dehydration constipation first and foremost, drink water! It is very simple. When the first heat of summer hits, you may need to supplement with salt. The first heavy sweats of spring contain high amounts of salt, after this the body adapts and loses less salt. If you are working in extreme heat, you will always need salt supplementation. However once the bowel has been pumped to scavenge water, the hardened feces are a problem. You don't want to leave this in the bowel. Chronic constipation is more often the result of allowing constipation to go untreated than any other reason. Regularity requires regularity! There is an oral way of treating this. You can drink a quart of warm spring or distilled water with one level teaspoon of sea salt in it. Wait half an hour, if there is no liquid bowel movement, repeat this. If the body is dehydrated, you will just absorb the water. If your body doesn't need the water or salt it will pass through and remove the constipation with it. The same contraindication applies with this as with other salt problems. If you have high blood pressure, kidney disease or other problems in which salt may be a problem, check with your chiropractor or other primary health care provider before doing this. The other option is the use large warm baking soda or normal saline enemas. If you use these, it is very important that the patient take enough water to completely fill the colon and put water in the area where the constipation is primary, on the right side of the abdomen. They will need to be completely filled for the enemas to be effective. If they can't get this area full on the first try, just stop let them relieve themselves and repeat the enema in a half hour or so after the defecation reflexes have died down.
These enemas have the added benefit of being absorbed, quickly relieving the dehydration that caused the constipation in the first place. The small chemical enemas, or small water enemas should not be effective in treating this sort of constipation. They work only on the distal colon. There is no problem there. It is higher. In fact the chemical enemas should make the problem worse. They work by drawing water out of the system. The exact opposite of the effect wanted when dehydration is present. They also can cause mineral, particularly calcium deficiency problems.
Laxatives can correct the constipation, and can work for dehydration induced constipation, but also have the effect of increasing the dehydration unless a deliberate effort is made to drink more water. The laxatives, like cascara that work by preventing reabsorption of water from the colon are very good can be useful. The bulk forming laxatives like psyllium husk are great for other problems but not for active constipation. The increased bulk of these laxatives are great for keeping the colon open and many other things. Psyllium husk taken regularly is one of the most effective ways to lower cholesterol. On the standard American diet (SAD) far too little roughage is taken in. Roughage is necessary to remove cholesterol from the system. Psyllium husk acts naturally to absorb this. Unfortunately if a person is already constipated, the psyllium husk tends to get blocked behind the mass of constipated feces. This can ad to the discomfort rather than help. What is needed is physical removal of the constipated mass from the ascending bowel. It is very important to take extra water with the psyllium husk.
There are people who chronically do not drink
enough water. As little kids they may have been put to bed thirsty to prevent
bed wetting, or didn't drink before trips so they wouldn't have to go to
the bathroom, and this became ingrained in their thinking. A three year
old that is rewarded in part for staying thirsty may develop kidney stones,
constipation and other serious problems. Many people fail to drink enough
water as an adults totally because they maintain a steady state of mild
dehydration "to please Momma" from their childhood training. It takes conscious
effort for these folks to go into the kitchen and drink their fill of just
plain water. If you are one of these people, be sure to drink enough water
to have at least one dilute colorless urination each day. The easiest way
to do this is to drink a lot of water on getting up and again sometime
in the evening at least an hour before going to bed. It is not good to
drink large amounts of water with meals, in fact it is better to only lightly
or not at all to have drinks with meals. Water is best assimilated first
before eating then wait a few minutes or between meals. In any case a healthful
person has great difficulty drinking too much water. Drinking an extra
glass a few times a day only results more and better urination, and the
healthful flushing of the kidneys in this way is vital to life long good
Obstipation via dehydration from learning not to drink water to prevent bed wetting is common. It is more commonly thought of as constipation caused not by dehydration but by deliberate postponement of bowel movements. This form or obstipation is caused and treated very differently. Constipation caused by dehydration affects the ascending bowel. With obstipation the effect is in the sigmoid colon. It is not usually caused by any physical factor. The patient is obstinate, or they choose not to go to the bathroom. This is a choice, habit, etc. It may be part of suppression, shyness, concern over cleanliness etc. Most of us raised in the advanced countries have all sorts of phobias, and inhibitions about going to the bathroom. We learn to NOT go to the bathroom to please momma. Constipation usually follows. If you have ever taken a recently toilet trained toddler camping, you may have experienced this. If you fail to take their potty chair with you, they often refuse to go! I remember the story of one little girl that became badly constipated on a camping trip with mom and dad. It was with much coaxing and reassuring that she, when held over dad's arm finally went. Some kids just hold on until they are home and the right place where they are suppose to go is available. We all are so inhibited. We have habits, like not going unless we can put paper on public toilet seats, or not being able to go unless the toilet is completely private, or just not being able to use public toilets at all. Many kids get constipated because they refuse to go in the school bathrooms.
Every culture has their own hangups. In the west we sit on the toilet, a less than advantageous position. We are designed to squat to move our bowels. I remember traveling on the trains in India. They always provided a western toilet somewhere on the train for westerners. It was always a fine example of the worst conditions of filthiness can be imagined to be. I never used these toilets. The cars for Indians had a simple hole, and water faucet. They don't use toilet paper either. I must admit getting use to all this was not easy, but necessity is a wonderful teacher. India also has some wonderful microbes that help relieve inhibitions. Diarrhea is a terrific incentive to adaptation. The Indian toilets were used by the Indians that cleaned the western toilets. They considered us rather primitive and dirty anyway, and since they never used them, they just assume westerners do not mind sitting on feces, a very incorrect assumption! Their own toilets they kept clean. As well when squatting over the hole only the soles of your shoes touch anything so it is much cleaner wherever you are, as well as being the physiologically correct way to move the bowels. If you have difficulties, getting one of the foot elevators that fit under the front of a western toilet to put the feet up more under you to assist in putting pressure on the bowels for a good BM is an excellent idea. In general the ideas about toilets and bowel movements are much cleaner and logical in India than America. Perhaps that is the reason that disorders are much more rare in men and children there than here.
For poor women it is different. Women are not permitted to go to the bathroom outside during daylight. Men are. This causes some severe constipation problems for those too poor to have indoor toilets, they have to hold all excretory functions until dark, or find a private place to go. It is just that privacy and public toilets are not always easy to find in India. Colon disorders are generally somewhat higher among women than men. In India the ratio is much higher. It has everything to do with this social constraint on women. They do not grow up with such inhibitions so the desire to have normal bowel movements remains. Given the chance the poor return to normal function. One of the first signs of financial success is an indoor toilet. Little kids are not so inhibited. In all the villages and cities, little kids, male and female, can be seen relieving themselves in yards, streets and wherever the urge strikes. This as well as diet is part of the reason colon disease is so much more rare there and in those countries without repressive toilet training.
In our society extreme suppression of all excretory functions is considered normal. Conforming to this is all necessary to survive in society. In England where pubs are a way of life, fines and arrest for following the call of nature, unable to hold beer coupled with a lack of available public restrooms was frequent! Control of the bowels and bladder are prerequisites to almost all other social functions in the first world countries. This has both real and social reasons for existence. We live lives very separated from the natural environment. When we were simple hunter gatherers living in tents or under the trees there was very little pressure to toilet training. All a kid had to learn was to get out of the tent--- any where out of the tent! In observing more primitive societies we can observe that most of these peoples bowels function quite well, as observed by Doctors like Dr. Burkitt and Dr. Kellogg.
We can even observe this in animals. Have you ever noticed the difference between house dogs and outside ranch dogs? Outside dogs are usually just dogs. They do what dogs do. They bark, growl, chase cats, herd cows and are usually secure in themselves as dogs. This of course is because they are in their own environment. A ranch dog is usually bred for their work. They live outside and do what they do naturally. I have only known well one of these dogs that was house trained. The other ranch dogs never appeared to have any excretory problems. The one ranch dog that I knew that was house trained and most house dogs seem about as neurotic as humans. She spent a good portion of every day biting herself, and was highly nervous. These dogs have gas and are very concerned about the function of their bowels. If they could ask, I am sure that they would be buying all sorts of doggy bowel treatments, mostly to help them hold on until walk time. Going when nature calls is prohibited in their world. The design of dogs colons is quiet different than ours. They are designed to eat meat, so they have much shorter colons and are not as susceptible as humans to constipation. Bowel neuroses among dogs is rare, unless they must learn to live in the same artificial worlds we live in.
What is basic is that we must separate ourselves from our waste. Waste carries a huge amount of disease. Our own waste smells bad and is offensive. The waste of others is worse, plus it is quite dangerous to our health. For this reason in primitive societies, we all learn to go potty away from our dwellings. We are designed to hold waste until an appropriate place to deposit it can be found. This basic design of our systems is to be able to allow us to deposit waste away from our living or working areas. It was just never intended that we hold it for long periods. In nature and civilization, there tends to be a waste area away from the main village. This design is great, but when coupled with all the traumas that can occur in toilet training and teaching kids to withhold their stools and urination until a proper place can be reached, there are some problems. I go over all this in depth in my book, Love Thine Enemas & Heal Thyself. It is a subject of great significance in forming our fundamental attitudes toward life. We have basic functions that are necessary to survive. We must assimilate, eliminate and reproduce. These three functions are in increasing order more perverted by societal suppression.
I really don't believe anyone is totally uninhibited about their releasing waste unless they are seriously brain damaged. That lack of inhibition results in obstipation. The process is simple. When feces are dealt with, digested and completely ready to be discharged they are pumped around to the descending colon and into the sigmoid colon. There it produces an uncomfortable sort of fullness. About 10% of the population has a sphincter between the sigmoid and rectum, known as the sphincter O'Bernie. This can further hold back feces. If we relax and get ready to go to the bathroom it is moved into the rectum. In the rectum are usually three shelves, known as the valves of Houston. These in their normal state are held up rather straight across the rectum, holding up the feces. When we bare down these flatten out and the feces are pushed onto the anus. All these structures hold back feces from the anus until a place for a bowel movement is found. Once feces have reached the anus and are laying on it, we have an intense desire to defecate. This mechanism is voluntary, and so long as the fecal material is solid, it will be kept back from the anus as long as we want. If it is liquid or gas is present, these can be bypassed. This is why gas can be passed anytime, and liquid movements create such urgency. They go directly to the lowest point, the anus, and attempt to leak out. It takes conscious effort to hold in a liquid movement.
The problem is that the body just doesn't go into hibernation and wait for a convenient time to have a bowel movement. It continues working. The feces held above the anus, may not be stimulating a bowel movement, but they are nonetheless ready to be released. That extra time causes the feces to harden and set up in the sigmoid colon. Irritation in this area of the colon constantly signals the brain that it needs to be emptied, and in nature we would begin to circle looking for a toilet area. The colon can stretch and grow when this occurs and is suppressed while growing up. Once we effectively learn to ignore this message, we usually don't even realize we need to go. The area is slowly stretched and able to handle more feces. Then the feces behind these back up stretching and expanding that area as well. This is one way a large colon can be developed. It is a common cause of constipation. The daily removal of feces is important to prevent this. During the 1920s scientific studies found dozens of carcinogenic toxins in feces. We can be certain that the number and quantities of carcinogens found in body waste has gone up, not down, since then. We need to get rid of these and not retain them in the body.
The way of removing these is by changing the habits. Establish a set time to go to the bathroom each day, as in usually the first thing in the morning. If you can't get this going, you will need to stimulate the system. I never recommend laxatives, they just have too many side effects. If the problem is in the colon why irritate the whole GI tract and distant organs to make the colon work. It just doesn't make sense. You want to get the colon working. So unless obtaining a bowel movement by stimulation of other systems is healthful, why do it? Mild exercise is good, walking, running or whatever gets you up and mobile. This also massages the colon. Walking is good for everything. The body is meant to move. A daily brisk walk is important to having good bowel health, as well as aiding almost all the other systems of the body. Even the circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain is stimulated by walking. This is necessary to a healthful life. Some folks drink a hot drink in the morning on getting up. Taking psyllium husk in the evening is good, in that it puts bulk into the colon, and contrary to when we were little bed wetters, drinking plenty of water at night is important.
If this is not enough enemas are the next logical step. You do not have to take the quantity of enema to be effective in treating this sort of constipation. A small enema will do. The constipation is near the end of the colon, so all that is necessary is to fill the lower part of the colon. A small enema of one quart or less should be enough to stimulate clearing of this area of the colon. For this, the little chemical enemas work. Obstipation is relieved by suppositories, chemical enemas, small enemas or laxatives. This has been the source of some bad general advice about enemas. Enemas for obstipation do not require the filling of the whole colon, Enemas for dehydration constipation or for most other purposes require that the colon be completely filled, and require more water than is usually held by a modern hot water bottle for an adult. Current medical advice considers only obstipation, lower bowel type of constipation when considering enemas. So if you are considering an enema to treat constipation, and want to use a little enema or suppository, be sure this is the type of constipation you are dealing with. The large volume enemas used for almost all other purposes will work for obstipation, but the small enemas or suppositories that work for obstipation will not work for most other purposes for which enemas are recommended.
Another treatment that is good is colonic irrigation. Colonics can be used to directly stimulate the colon to increase function. As stated earlier, the major reason for expansion and lack of tone of the colon is chronic constipation. If feces are always in the colon, the colon expands to hold them. If this happens when a child is growing the colon grows to a greater size to hold more waste. This is not even remotely desirable. As kids we need to get in the habit of getting waste out of the body as quickly and efficiently as possible. Colonics are useful in treating constipation because they remove the waste very efficiently from the colon. A good colonic will usually run as much water through the colon as a dozen or more good enemas, without the fatigue that usually follows even a few good enemas. However, this cleansing is only a part of the benefit. Enemas cannot raise or lower the temperature of the water in the colon quickly, colonics can. With healthful patients our routine, as covered in the book, Love Thine Enemas & Heal Thyself, in chapter three, Colonics, the Ins and Outs, was to give a number or fills at 103 degrees Fahrenheit, then drop the temperature to 80 degrees. The colon is an autonomic muscle organ. It relaxes when heated and contracts when cooled. A good colonic therapist can use this to exercise the colon just as surely as a weight trainer exercises their biceps. This is aerobics for the colon! We always did this except on patients in too frail a condition to handle the cold fills. The results was always a good strong contraction of the colon cleaning the bowel wall. In all the years I did these treatments almost all my patients, who had a good colonic in the afternoon followed by a good high roughage meal, had a good bowel movement without assistance the next morning. As part of a program to restore bowel tone and health after a long period of problems, a series of colonics is a good idea to retrain the bowel.
The goal in treating obstipation is to
establish a learning curve and change a lifetime habit. To overcome obstipation
it is necessary to go to the toilet when nature calls, it is just that
simple and that difficult. All of us learned to be obstipated by the time
we were three years old. To relearn this childhood pattern takes a deliberate
and conscious effort, and is well worth the work. V E Irons stated,
"Death begins in the colon!" This is absolutely true. If we learn
to notice the functions of our bodies, and respond to them when they give
us signals, we can be healthful. Learning to read the signals of
the body is very important to health. Our health begins to be in
trouble when we no longer respond to the bodies needs. Our chances of living
to be healthful senior citizens greatly increases when we have all our
warning lights working and pay attention to them.
HEREDITY & CONSTIPATION
A third type of constipation is from genetics, sometimes we inherit things that seem to be problems. One of those things is commonly variations in colon structure. People all have different size colons. From my observations the size and shape of colons is at least as varied as the size and shape of people. A large colon usually results is reduced physical needs for bowel movements. That is not really constipation, but anatomy is the presence of a large colon that is inherited or other colon structure that changes the usual pattern. This is common among some ethnic groups, such as Askinazi Jews. The presence of a large colon may make going to the bathroom every few days, rather than daily or more frequently, the usual pattern. I had one patient that would go up to 11 days between bowel movements. She was in her 20s, approximately 5'4", 130 pounds, in good health, a distance runner, etc. On doing the barium enema on her, she held more than 7 qts of water with ease. She had a massive colon that appeared to be quite normal in function. On a typical diet it just took days for waste to make the trek through this colon. I believe this is the reason that many Askinazis have a syndrome in which they have idiopathic abdominal pain. It is likely people with this sort of unusual colon have twist and bends that when impacted with a hard stool causes the pain. For them having daily bowel movements would be unusual. Constipation is not a word that modern medicine would use to describe the lady I treated. She had normal bowel movements, just every eleven days.
What she did have is something I mentioned earlier. We need to look further than just the function of the colon in health. Health is the sum function of all our organs, and our lives. Her design was such that she could carry a large amount of feces in her bowels for a long time without pain or apparent difficulties. She was not rare. I don't know the percentage of people that have colons like this, but it happens. There must be some sort of genetic advantage to this. Certainly she has the opportunity to extract the smallest fractions of nutrients from the foods that pass through her GI system and there may be differences in intestinal flora. These people are often from Eastern Europe and Russia. Life can be harsh there. Winters are long. Starvation and malnutrition were common facts of life in those areas. This was particularly a problem for the Jews. They were low on the social ranking system, and in many areas were not allowed to own land or have the resources to be sure of a good year round food supply. In that environment it is no surprise that adaptations in the systems have been made to surviving deprivation.
What effect do these adaptations have on this lady now? Certainly if Armageddon occurs she and her fellow large coloned people would have an advantage in surviving the loss of food supplies. In a normal life function, I don't see an advantage. She was very envious of others that could have bowel movements on their own. She was a regular patient at several colonic irrigation clinics, and always felt much better after her colon was throughly cleaned, as we all do. It is just that with her the effect and feeling of euphoria would be expected to be much more pronounced. She had an inbuilt crave for colon cleansing. I believe this was healthful. Perhaps in rural Russia before the turn of the century storing waste in the colon would have been more healthful. Even then I have my doubts. The colon is a garbage tube. Leaving garbage to rot is not a good idea anytime within the body. On a large amount of high roughage foods she would be more healthful. What about now? How about all the pesticides, fertilizers and other additives in the food? It is a poor idea to leave the colon filled with indigestible residues, even if the colon can physically handle it. We know that there are many carcinogens that can be present in the colon. The effect and possibility of these causing cancer develop goes up if they remain in contact with the body. We need to take the garbage out of our kitchens every day. If we don't the kitchen smells. We need to get the garbage out of our colons every day. If we don't, we smell. Worse yet we may develop serious diseases by holding on to our waste.
It is for these reasons that I believe it is important to have daily bowel movements at the very least. I think Burkitt and Kellogg were right. We should have bowel movements after every meal. It is just that most of us have so much perversion of our systems that this is not part of our function now. Our colons are stretched and larger due to the constant constipation that is normal in our societies. If we can get in the habit of more frequent bowel movements that would be better. For most people, I think it is important just be sure to have at least one movement per day, and not dwell on it beyond that.
This lady took frequent colonic irrigations. This was good. She could afford it and there was no reason she should not use the services of a professional in dealing with this problem. With the size of her colon, there was no reason to believe that she would ever function daily without this sort of care. She, I believe, was treated about once or twice a week, depending on how she felt. The use of enemas would work too. For her to have a complete cleansing via enemas would require taking almost four regular enema bags of two quarts each at a single injection. That is a lot of water. I have never used more than four quarts as a routine enema. There are problems of water retention. Electrolyte imbalances can occur from taking and absorbing too much water from the colon. I am careful about this, and recommend care about it when multiple enemas are needed, a large quantity of water is taken, or the enema is not efficiently expelled. This is well covered in the chapter from the book, Love Thine Enemas & Heal Thyself on how to give an enema posted at my web site http://22.214.171.124/sample.html Check this out before giving large enemas.
This young lady I discovered had taken approximately seven quarts by doing a barium enema on her. I prepared her with about three large enemas of four quarts each and waited about half an hour for her to completely expel the last one before doing the barium. Part of my process that I developed in taking barium enemas was a way of differentiating the bowel loops by varying the content of barium as the enema was given. I used a two-quart can for the barium solution. As I injected the enema getting the patient ready for the x-ray, I continued to add water to the can. This made the first part of the water more dense as it contained more barium. Toward the end of the enema the barium was more dilute. On viewing the films when the colon was full, I could see the cecum and ascending colon as more white, and the rectum and descending bowel as more gray because of this technique. On her films the very white area was a little past mid way in her colon. The ascending bowel was still filled with mostly plain water. Enough barium mixed with it so I could see a shadow, and the rectum was on a gray scale. I always took the films and developed them prior to letting the patient go to the toilet. On seeing this, I retook a few of the films, and could see the ascending colon more clearly as the solution had mixed better over time. From this I could approximate that she was holding at least another three quarts of water, in addition to the four-quart barium enema. She never felt sick following this whole procedure, so for her there was apparently no problem with electrolyte imbalances from having this much water put into her colon.
She could probably take this large an enema without a problem, but it is a gamble with a new patient. This is not how others always react. I had one patient with Multiple Sclerosis that could go into electrolyte imbalance very easily following an enema or colonic because of paralysis of a section of bowel and inability to empty her colon resulting in absorbing most of the water injected.
Some other types of enlarged bowels are less innocuous. One is Hirschsprungs disease. In this the colon can be huge. It develops to this size as a result of chronic constipation. As I stated earlier, enemas nor colon cleansing are likely to do any harm to the colon. Chronic constipation will enlarge it. In a Hirshsprung's colon, there is a segment of the colon that does not have normal nerve supply. This segment neither contracts nor spasms, it just sits there. What happens is that feces have a difficult time crossing over this segment. Instead of being propelled along as they are in a normal colon, they must be pushed though this piece of colon. The waste backs up up stream from the non innervated segment. This is a birth defect, and the child begins life with a normal size colon, but they are constantly constipated. As they grow up the colon becomes huge.
This is the same sort of mechanism that works
with irritable bowel syndrome, except there the blockage is caused by a
spastic section of the colon usually irritated by acidic diarrhea. In that
case the patient can usually be very successfully treated by baking soda
enemas and a change of diet or lifestyle as described in the previous edition
on irritable bowel syndrome in this magazine. Hirschsprungs is different.
There is a defective segment of the bowel. To diagnose this there is a
small biopsy of the wall of the colon taken and examined for nerve tissue.
If none is found then Hirschsprungs is diagnosed. I am very much in favor
of natural, non-invasive treatments. However, in this case there is no
good natural treatment. The defective segment is not connected to the body
by nerves. It cannot be rehabilitated any more than a television unplugged
from its source of electricity can be made to work. A child with
this disorder should have surgery to remove the defective segment as early
in life as in practical. If the segment is removed, the colon is reattached
to the next normal segment, and the colon works normally. The child can
grow up with a normal size colon and never know they had any problem. If
it is not treated, the colon can never function normally.
LAXATIVES, ENEMAS & COLONICS
Constipation can also occur from laxatives, and incorrectly used enemas. I have seen a patient that had what is called a lead pipe colon, that is a colon lacking all the normal haustrations, rather than the normals segmented pattern of segments normal to the colon, from taking daily hot coffee enemas for many years. The bowel is sensitive to heat and chemicals. I have also had patients that took daily enemas for up to seventy years without any damage to the colon. This is technique. If you are going to use enemas in treatment, please, see my chapter from Love Thine Enemas & Heal Thyself on how to give an enema and use it. http://126.96.36.199/sample.html There are no good warning systems in the colon for many errors, such as using soap in enemas, heat, cold, etc., to tell you that harm is being done. This is why the colon can be damaged via enema easily by an uninformed or misinformed nurse or practitioner. It is very important that you understand the anatomy, function and how to give treatments before doing them. Once you have this understanding, you can very successfully enhance health. I have had two patients well into their 90s that took daily enemas for many decades and on examination had far better colon health than should be expected at that age.
Laxatives can cause damage to the bowel by irritation or lack of use. The colon constantly flowed by liquid movements should not function as well as if it were working as designed dealing with a solid plastic mass. It is as in weight lifting. Strength is developed working against the appropriate load. Continually bench pressing 10 pounds will not develop the strength that lifting 150 pounds will do. Also some laxatives will cause chemical burning of the colon if over used creating problems.
I remember one of the high school chemistry teachers in a neighboring high school was going to illustrate the neutralization of acids by bases once. He took a carefully measured amount of hydrochloric acid and added it to a beaker of sodium hydroxide and drank the results. All worked well. Hydrochloric acid plus an equal molar amount of sodium hydroxide produces table salt. He in effect used two moderately expensive chemicals to produce a cup full of salt water and drank it. The only real error he made was putting in a few squirts of phenolphthalein as an indicator. This turns red at the neutral point when the reaction is complete. The salt water did no harm. However, phenolphthalein is the active ingredient in ex-lax, or at least it was until it was recently found to cause liver cancer in lab animals. Ex-lax no longer contains phenolphthalein. A bar of ex-lax might have a quarter of a drop of phenolphthalein in it. He took about 10 drops. When he got out of the hospital, he swore he would never do that again, and he was very unconstipated.
Phenolphthalein works against the liver. It causes the liver to push water back into the intestines and not be absorbed so that everything flows through the colon and out. Many laxatives work like this. This one was used for a long time in America, and just recently blamed for causing liver cancer. You can be sure that many unnatural and natural herbal laxatives such as senna and cascara are also toxic to the liver. In general, I will in the completed final edition of this article sent to all paid subscribers give the methods of action of many common laxatives. For myself, I never consider their use, and recommend less dangerous therapies such as colonics and enemas. When you put a biologically active chemical in the system that results in putting the body into a strong elimination mode, there has to be a reason, and if a small quantity of that toxin has a strong effect, I consider it dangerous. Again when the colon is the problem, why attack the liver, or other body organs?
Over the counter laxatives are a multi billion-dollar business, and many many people use them. Every evening as I watch the TV there are ads for laxatives. Laxatives have always been much more used than enemas for constipation, and in those cases where the flushing of the small intestine and stomach are also wanted this is logical. Laxatives have one of three usual modes of operation. The first is to block reabsorption of water by the colon and small intestine causing a flood of water, and stool to reach the end of the colon. This is perfectly acceptable when there is adequate fluid in the body. However, the method of causing the lack of absorption may not be too good. Some work by irritating the bowel, others work by irritating the liver and causing it to constrict blood flow from the digestive organs and force fluid back into them rather than absorbing and processing it. Others such as mineral oil and other not soluble fluids go straight through the bowel and out. This is mechanically or chemically not harmful to the gastrointestinal tract, but can absorb fat soluble nutrients and cause some deficiency problems. Some common and natural herbal laxatives contain Senna, which on occasional use causes a good bowel movement by its toxic effect on the liver. However, in any liver disorder or long term use there is damage to the liver.
This is a common problem with all laxatives taken orally. All of them act by some irritation or by being unabsorbable and in that way go through the entire digestive tract to cause a bowel movement. The enema on the other hand, is just water with the possibility of having a little soda or salt added to prevent irritation of the colon or absorption of water from the colon by osmosis. If there is any dehydration the water will be absorbed so that in summer a large warm enema is an ancient and very effective method of treating dehydration. Most laxatives and the small chemical enemas available in the drug store can increase or cause dehydration. The enema works on the colon alone, and there has never been a single incident of damage or irritation to the colon by a properly administered enema, in contrast to laxatives which by their very design are commonly irritants. It is possible to over hydrate the body by plain water enemas given in rapid succession, or to a person with an electrolyte problem, or congestive heart failure or liver failure, but properly given to a healthful patient the risk is about equal to over hydration from drinking too much water. In short the enema as a treatment for dehydration induced constipation corrects the constipation and the dehydration in one step. The use of laxatives may relieve the constipation, but commonly increase the dehydration and have short and long term negative consequences. If you are considering the consequences of the treatment, the enema is virtually always preferable to laxatives.
The laxative or enema habit as a cause of constipation. Both can cause chronic constipation, but enemas only do if misused. Constantly taking either laxatives or enemas is not good. If a person is incapable of going on their own either from paralysis or other disease the enema must be modified to prevent over hydration from inability to expel the water, but is preferable due to the other negative effects of laxatives. To prevent dependance on enemas, it is necessary to increase the tone of the bowel. The colon like any other muscular organ, requires exercise to function. Large warm enemas at above 100 degrees Fahrenheit allow moving the bowels with very little muscular effort. Occasionally given this is no more harmful than driving to work rather than walking. All of us are more healthful when we walk and exercise regularly, but that does not mean that an occasional use of an labor-saving device is wrong. It is so with the enema. The colon should be exercised regularly. Walking is important as it works the abdomen, everyone capable of walking should walk every day. Regular daily walks are important to health.
A second form of exercising the bowel in the absence of exercise is easiest to do with colonic irrigation. That is using cool injections to cause a reflex spasming of the bowel to strengthen the bowel musculature. Even if colonics are not available, it is best when chronic constipation is present is to lower the temperature of the enema. With a patient with otherwise good health, particularly a good heart, cool enemas at 95 degrees or cooler are powerful stimulants to the contraction of the bowel. If regular enemas must be given, they should be cooler so as to exercise the bowel as a part of treating the constipation or inability to defecate without assistance will be more likely over time. This is an area where colonic irrigations really shine. The rapid change of temperature of the water in the bowel is only possible with colonics. Enemas require expelling, and the cool enemas can be difficult for those sensitive to cold, whereas the cool colonic fills are brief. These are much easier to take for most people. The colon after all is a smooth muscle tube. It is designed to be exercised. Lack of exercise will result in flabbiness.
Stool softeners are also important. Metamucil is a commonly recommended stool softener. This is basically psyllium husk and sugar. If you want to save some money and avoid excess sugars, just buy the psyllium husk in bulk in the health food store. This is not really a laxative, and it is not necessary for most vegetarians. It is a source of fiber bulk, if you are on a high fiber diet, such as lots of fresh vegetables, it is not usually necessary to add bulk. Most Americans, however, live on fiberless junk food. Adding psyllium is necessary for these folks. A meat diet is usually deficient in fiber and this causes another form of constipation. Constipation, not from failure of the bowel to move through the waste material for expulsion, but constipation from a lack of bulk in the stool. Taking psyllium husk on a regular basis for these folks is very important. This, like, enemas, laxatives and other symptomatic treatments of constipation, is still not treating the cause.
In the discussion up to now we have gone over
a common source of constipation that is difficult to avoid. Dehydration
constipation is one reason that everyone should have an enema bag stored
in their residence somewhere. Even the healthiest and most perfect bodies
are capable of overheating, sweating and dehydrating on a warm summer day,
with exercise or fever. Constipation is also a very common companion of
infection. We covered the effects of fever on the body in detail in
the edition on colds and flu last year. Large warm enemas have always
been recommended by competent physicians for colds and flu for three reasons.
First fever induces dehydration and constipation. Second, the colon is
a reservoir of solid material to be expelled from the body. Some of that
is dead virus particles and other waste material degenerated by the body
in the course of the disease. If that material is removed, the body can
put its immune focus on the source of the disease rather than being distracted
by foreign proteins in the colon. Third, the enemas given are warm about
103 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a smaller cool enema. The bodies
immune system can be stimulated by this artificial fever to respond to
the infection. The first component of this is that is almost all illnesses,
cleaning the waste from the colon, helps the body focus on the source of
the problem. This type of problem is quickly and easily treated by a good
enema and the problem is resolved. For those whose lifestyle is wrong,
all treatments are symptomatic and do not deal with the cause. Pills
and drugs very often cover up the effects of infection and disease. Enemas
very often help the body respond to and cure the cause of the disorder.
I would be remiss, if I did not address the main cause of constipation. Constipation is very frequently a result of diet. The human colon is a large colon in the animal kingdom. It is much larger than carnivore colons, making it clear that it was never intended for a low residue meat diet. It is smaller than grazing animals, so that it cannot handle extreme amounts of roughage, but only marginally so. We are not really designed for a diet of grass, like cows or horses either. However, we are much better able to handle this on a long term basis than we are meat and other animal products. We have teeth and digestive systems that can make use of many sources of food in emergency situations. It is intended that these be primarily fruits and vegetables, with grains as a back up, and animal source foods only in times of severe shortages. It was interesting to me that Joseph Smith in the 89th chapter of the Doctrine and Covenants of the LDS church stated this exactly more than 150 years ago. Even though few Mormons ever fully implemented this teaching of their prophet, even the partial implementation has resulted in their becoming physically more healthful and stronger than other Westerners, and results in a view within their areas of Christians being a stronger, more virile and healthful breed of people than non Christians. Many of us believe that Christ taught this as part of his teachings two thousand years ago, and that this was the diet in the Garden of Eden.
On this diet from the end of breast feeding on, constipation is virtually unknown. Vegan diets high in roughage is preventative, the western diet or meat, highly over processed and dead food results in a universal constipation if we consider the carcinogenic compounds in the colon of even those who have good function. The living foods raw vegan diet is very high in roughage, natural fiber, and healthful symbiotic microbes. On this diet virtually everyone has better bowel function. If we ate better to begin with the bowels would work better. I cannot express the need for a good vegan living foods diet enough. Garbage in, garbage out is a common expression in the computer industry. It is even more relevant in talking about constipation and colon function. You cannot hope to cure constipation, live well or long in good health without considering your diet. The natural diet God gave us, of fruits and vegetables is wonderful. We get all sorts of nutrients from this food that is unavailable on the standard American diet (SAD). In all my years of practice I have never seen a living foods vegan with a deficiency disease. Never have I seen one with a B12 deficiency, even though some experts claim only meats can prevent this. I have been a vegan for six years with no animal sources of B12, yet I have no problem, nor does any other vegan unless they take antibiotics which can destroy the flora in our colons that make the B12.
When it comes to colon function, some vegans do have problems, but it should be noted that these problems are almost universally from previous problems. If we grew up on the SAD diet and expanded our colons into a bloated pretzel when we were growing up it is not always possible to return them to an ideal function. It is not usually possible to straighten a grown tree that was twisted in youth. It is always possible to strengthen it with natural means, and to brace it if necessary. Being a living foods vegan will make the colon work better, but it may not be able undo all the damage. If we must use crutches like enemas and extra roughage to make a more ideal function then that is our cross to bear for violation of natural law. We should always do minimal artificial support to keep functions as natural and healthful as possible for ourselves. What we can really do to change the world is to change the world of our children. As a father I view my most important role, not as removing stones from the roads I walk, but as removing stones from the roads my children will be walking after me.
What we can do of most significance is pass a better way of life to our children. Living foods vegan children are happier and more healthful than other kids. Their colons are smaller and their minds are clearer. Living foods vegan kids run on their own hormones. They do not have the rages and angers of children pumped up on exogenous animal hormones. Nations that do not live on a primarily animal protein diet are more healthful, they are also less violent. The city of Calcutta, India, a large overpopulated metropolis of more then 22 million people who eat more veggies than meat, has less murders per year, than the village, of less than 22 thousand people, of my birth in South Carolina where excessive animal hormones send children to school and adults onto the roads in artificial rages caused by diet!
When vegetarian children grow up on a very healthful diet and lifestyle, their needs and health problems should be strikingly less than their parents who did not have these advantages. The first generation on a more healthful diet cannot be expected to be as healthful as the second and so on. They will be better. They do recover from many powerful diseases and frequently do enjoy a level of health and well being that they may never have experienced in their lives before. The joy of living as a living foods vegan is hard to explain. I have never felt better in my life than I do now in my mid fifties, living properly. When we pass this diet onto our children and grand children they live in health and vigor. On this life they will have the possibility of radiant good health free not just of constipation, but senility, heart disease, strokes, diabetes and most cancers until well past the 100-year mark. In Genesis the life span on the strict vegetarian diet of the Garden of Eden was 120, in good health. Our kids who follow the life we are just learning again will have the chance to live and be productive for much longer than any preceding generation.
Those kids and adults living on hamburgers and junk food alone diet do not have this hope. They need constant enemas just to flush the animal hormones from their systems and feel human. As a milk intolerant kid on a standard American diet, I needed and would have benefitted from frequent enemas. Those of us who desired and felt good every time we took an enema because we lived wrong were and are not doing something wrong by taking too many enemas. What was and is wrong is the diet. The enema is a useful symptomatic treatment for wrong living or as a crutch to help colons crippled by wrong living.
It is difficult to over use with those people that do not or will not improve their lifestyles or have irreparable damage. I do not believe there is such a thing as an enema habit. There is sickness requiring constant treatment. Would we deny a total diabetic that got diabetes from the American high sugar low food value diet, insulin? Why would we deny a person with the same cause enemas for a colon blown up with dietary toxins? There is certainly a life style problem, an eating problem. But to blame the enema habit as the source of their constipation, is the same as blaming aspirin, for a drug habit problem of someone that constantly takes aspirin for a headaches. In fact the over use of aspirin has far more consequences than the taking to frequent enemas. Both can be used to cover up symptoms caused by incorrect lifestyle.
Both overuses of treatments to treat errors in living are not diseases in themselves, but indications of underlying errors in living. Those people that improve their diet, stop smoking or correct whatever is causing their headaches automatically decrease the number of aspirin they take. I have observed the same with enemas. Those people that are apparently addicted to enemas, or constantly take enemas, usually reduce this activity automatically when they correct their diet and life style. The desire to have an enema is somewhat like the desire to take an aspirin. If the aspirin relieves your headache, every time you have a headache you desire an aspirin. In those years that I lived on steak, potatoes, and a good brand of Scotch whiskey, I took pain killers constantly. Empirin with codeine was one of my main supplements. I desired the good feeling that followed a good enema, and took them regularly. Now as a vegan on a good diet, and several decades after my last glass of whiskey, I have not taken an aspirin in more than a decade. I still desire an enema when I am toxic or constipated from dehydration or on the very very rare occasions, I have an infection. Other wise I do not want one. The desire to have enemas is, in my opinion, a physiological one. Those people that constantly take them need to investigate what is causing the desire. I believe that on careful investigation some physical cause will be found.
If I get any milk products the desire to purge returns as my colon fills with indigestible milk sugars and proteins. For others it may be some other irritant. Or if a real mechanical defect is found in the colon it may be responsible for an inability to go, and a desire to eliminate. The enema habit, like the aspirin habit also requires knowledge. In the eons when aspirin was not available, no one desired it to correct their headaches. They did not know it was there, or what the effects would be. The use of the enema is similar. Fifty years ago most homes had enema bags and most kids experienced their use. They had knowledge of the benefits of the treatment. Now current medical fashion is to avoid this treatment. Those people that never have a cleansing enema will not have personal knowledge of its benefits. Many of those people, that would be taking enemas to increase their elimination and feel better, are now just suffering with the side effects of constipation or develop the more serious problem of laxative abuse.
From the generation that had frequent enemas and older generations a common observation has been voiced to me by nurses and aides working in nursing homes. They object to enemas because so many people in their 80s and above are "addicted" to enemas. I have observed the same thing in practice. It is very common for patients in their 80s and 90s to take or want enemas. I can see how this is viewed as a problem by nurses. It ads to their work load. However, if we look at it in another light, we see it differently. These same nurses have not complained to me about these older patients being addicted to aspirin. The question that comes to my mind is why so many people "addicted" to enemas live to be 90 or more. The number of aspirin addicts that make it to 90 doesn't seem to be significant. The number addicted to enema does. Do those people that develop a desire to be clean and non toxic live longer? I believe they do. The use of enemas by these older patients is an indication of their knowledge that being internally clean as well as externally clean makes them feel better and more healthful. The fact that their minds are clear enough to pressure their nurses to administer enemas is very significant. Most patients in nursing homes minds are so deteriorated they cannot ask for anything. The use of aspirin makes a person feel better too. The difference is that being non toxic also causes us to age slower and helps us avoid many fatal and disabling illnesses. The use of aspirin to cover up pain has no such advantage, in fact the covering of pain or discomfort by drugs causes the body to be further injured by the cause of the pain and should result in a shorter life span.
Being constipated and remaining constipated is more unhealthful than treating it. A toxic body is a body that has waste in it that needs to be eliminated. Whether that waste be liquid, solid or gas, its presence is deleterious to the body. While on one hand constipation is a symptom of disease, on another it is a cause. Constipation can be caused by psychological factors from toilet training. The withholding of a bowel movement to please or avoid mother's displeasure. It can be caused by the environment such as by dehydration, diet or lifestyle. It can be caused by internal environment also such as from disease, genetics or disability. These all should be treated by colon therapy, i.e., the injection of warm water into the colon for the purpose of cleansing as necessary. If you want to end constipation, the enema is not the answer. It is certainly one of the best treatments. The real cause is almost always is how you live and have lived.
If you really want to cure constipation, you must look to other things than the immediate functioning of the colon itself. Diet is very important. Next is activity. Do some walking, or other physical exercise. Walking is generally best because it is more available. I love to swim. I swam distance in college. Unfortunately swimming is not always available. It is a great all round body exercise and gets it all. Breathing, upper and lower body exercise are all taken care of by swimming. Even if it is available pools are chlorinated, lakes are polluted and rivers are dangerous. To those of you that live on the beach in Hawaii or Puerto Rico, don your bathing suits and enjoy the water. For travel and most of the rest of us walking, preferably brisk, is most available of all exercises and definitely is important in preventing constipation. Probably of most importance is fluid intake. Drink plenty of healthful, un chlorinated water. Constipation will usually take care of itself unless you have so much damage from a constipated youth that your colon will not perform. If so an occasional enema is fine.
If you are eating a good vegan diet with lots of roughage with plenty of fresh living foods then the intake part of maintaining colon health may be satisfied. This however is a very large area. Anyone that thinks they know all about natural diet needs to begin to study. Learning this field is a life time or longer process. I advised earlier about healthful kids, it too should be remembered here that we are not the same as we were a few thousand years ago. Modern man is larger than our recent ancestors. We have changed our environment, and changed ourselves. When dealing with diet, we have some complications, and curves. As adults when we become unhealthful we complain and change direction.
With your kids, they do not have that voice in their direction. You as the parent do. Observe them and keep watch on their health. We all have our beliefs, however, no belief speaks so loud as do results. A child on a healthful diet will thrive. They will talk, meet developmental landmarks and be active and obviously healthful unless there is some problem. If a child is too skinny or not meeting developmental land marks reevaluate. I believe that a kid raised on a strict vegan diet will be more healthful than other kids. If they are not then rethink their diet. Try new things. They should do as well or better than other kids their age on physical things. Healthful kids are rarely constipated. If they are not doing as well as expected change their diet, add higher fat foods like avocados, nuts, oils and other nutrients, perhaps sea vegetables or other high nutrient foods. Remember kids are kids. They need a higher protein and richer nutrient foods than do we adults to sustain growth. Puppy food is not the same as adult food. Keep trying and rapidly change things, kids are growing missing needed foods for a period of time can do permanent damage and their response to positive changes are rapid. Babies and children are concrete things, ideas used with them can set up in that concrete. If in doubt always do what has been known to work well before for others. Babies need milk, preferably their mother's milk. If that is inadequate or not possible, goats milk is great, preferably from a goat high in butter fat. There are a lot of differences between goats. We are involved in a great experiment. We know it works because so many of us have eliminated constipation, not to mention cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other very serious problems with the living foods vegan diet. Just observe and watch, be aware of you body and your kid's bodies and be sure that they thrive.
As for constipation, most illnesses I write about I can end with promising that if you live right and avoid the causes you can almost always kiss them good bye. Constipation is not a disease so much as it is a measure of function. If you ever catch cold, have fevers or other infectious illnesses constipation is likely. If you get dehydrated, you can get constipated. If you fall off the wagon and eat bad food, you can get constipated. If you do, take an enema, eat some prunes and get back on the wagon. This is just one of the indications that tells you whether you are firing on all your cylinders. Just watch the gages and keep on driving down the road of life. Keep putting high octane veggies and fruit in the tank, and by pass the low octane meat & fats, and you will see the top of a few more hills and see a few more sunsets down the road.
Dr. Jerry Glenn Knox BA, DC
Allergies & Immune Disorders
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