Wednesday, November 8, 2017

On Pooping -

Poop - something we think of as disgusting, we don't talk about. But did you know pooping is extraordinarily important, even down to the size, shape, color of poop, and habits of the pooper? Those who have had Irritable Bowel Syndrome or other intestinal ailments, food allergies, or poor bowel habits almost always have issues pooping. And - those who have had surgeries, chemo, or are on pain pills know that pooping is not easy and can be downright debilitating.

So - I'm here to say - me too. 

Food allergies, particularly milk, and then little tolerance for certain grains (wheat in particular), and a gut torn up from chemo, have put me in the category of folks who have irregular bowel habits. 

In the years following my cancer treatment I've been bothered by constipation. And honestly, walking around with a gut full of digested food waiting for it to be eliminated is not happy. I am bloated, feel like I need to be close to a restroom, gassy, and ache. 

In my office, one of the top 3 complaints is constipation or bowel habits, and one of the top 3 points we address - pain and anxiety being the other 2, is constipation. And no one is embarrassed to discuss this, because of the health effects. Pooping is just part of life! 

We "prescribe" non-prescription antidotes for constipation and its cousin - diarrhea. Most of all that includes drinking lots of water, eating vegetables first, then fruits, cutting back on grains and processed foods, and moving - being sedentary is not good for someone constipated, but exercise may not always be an option for someone in pain. In addition, we suggest Senna and Miralax. Senna "smooths" the poop and Miralax "mushes" the poop. So it makes pooping easier and more regular. 

While my gut is not where it was, and yet is not where my patients' guts are, my habits are a little different. I exercise, eat correctly, and yet I rely on a cup of coffee in the morning and on tough days I rely on an herbal laxative from Puritan's Pride - cascara, senna, fennel, licorice root - to do the job. Or some sugar-free gummi bears (joking on this, although I ate them once, and the reviews are accurate).

And boy oh boy, when my gut is free, I am free. So there - don't take pooping for granted; a healthy gut is a healthy you. A poop a day keeps the constipation away. 

Great Chart

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