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Chronic Constipation Treatment Thoughts

Posted Jul 22 2009 10:46pm

QUESTION:

Hi — This comes from a good friend in Florida, who has had cancer twice and almost died. She is finally turning to complimentary medicine to help and has appointments set up with a chiropractor and acupuncturist. She is a young women of about 40.

This is what she sent me. If you have any suggestions, I would love to send them on to her.

“I have chronic constipation. Have tried every single solitary thing you can think of - natural and otherwise - nothing works to relive it - there isn’t any pain and there aren’t any growths and the stool is never hard or solid - they think it is a nerve problem from the chemotherapy - no mobility any more. I have pain a lot. In my hands and my legs to the point that they keep me awake at night. Hmmmm - let’s see - occasional numbness on the right side of my face by my mouth that runs up toward my eye. Headache that is on the right side of my head and seems to start behind my ear - by what would be my maxillary sinus. Fatigue, weight gain, tiredness, and occasional blurred vision.

I have been thinking that it was due to the build up of toxins in my body because I do not expel waste in a timely manner. I can almost sense when it is coming on and then when it does I reflect on when the last time I had a bowel movement was and it is usually several days.”

ANSWER:

Hello -

Her situation definitely needs professional medical attention - and I highly recommend visiting a naturopathic physician. You can have her locate one at AANP or MedND.

I believe she is right in part of toxin buildup. There may be other factors as well - especially need to consider the neuropathy issue.

Studies have shown that Vitamin B6 at 250 mg per day, is useful for ‘hand-foot syndrome’ that is often seen after chemotherapy. Some physicians have used vitamin B6 for treating chemotherapy related neuropathies. You may want to bring this up with your doctor.

When one does not pass stools daily, toxins do accumulate as the stool lingers in the intestines and colon. Toxins buildup especially if one is not digesting foods well. If not digested, the food literally rots and sends off gases.

Food insensitivities or allergies can further cause constipation.

Things may improve if you can get the bowels to move better and relieve the chronic constipation. It is my belief that a majority of illnesses stem from improper digestion.

An excellent lab test that may help is the Complete Digestive and Stool Analysis [CDSA] by Great Smokies Lab. This test is useful as it covers many aspects of digestion.

In the meantime, you may consider some digestive products. The ones that jump to mind:

  • Trifal - ayurvedic herbal support that works to tone and balance the GI -has she tried that?
  • HealthStep - positions the body in the more effective way for passing stools - excellent for chronic.
  • Herbal Melange - ancient remedy for GI conditions - doctors are using for constipation, colitis with success. This is the one that may work the best. It may seem weird but it has been used for 100’s of years in Europe.

I have seen these products work for patients visiting the clinic where I preceptor. If she does have neuropathy, these products may help out but herbal support may be needed to encourage peristalsis.

There are numerous other products which may help but without knowing more information, I am not sure which ones may help her exact condition.

I could go on listing but instead, let me explain some lifestyle changes which she may want to consider:

Some lifestyle tips:

  • At least briskly walk 20 minutes a day? Simple movements like this really can help.
  • Yoga poses?
  • Local cold pack on her abdomen increases blood flow to the area. May want to do this before and after eating. Put an ice pack in a towel and place on belly area for 5 minutes. Increasing blood flow to the area improves absorption of nutrients and peristalsis.
  • Emotional support - worry, grief, anger are all ‘internalized holding’ emotions which may cause constipation.
  • Tested for hypothyroidism? - may also want to test for antibodies against the thyroid
  • Tested for b12/folate deficiency? may want to test for serum folate and Methyl Malonic Acid (MMA). these both are essential for nerve support - if deficient - nerve pains and loss of sensation occurs.
  • Beverage consumption? water, coffee, tea, etc? drink water.
  • Fiber intake? can supplement with psyllium husk or simply eat cooked beans, raw veggies and fruits, steamed, whole grains.
  • Don’t eat anything that is white. no sugar, no white bread, no mashed potatoes, no white flour, no white rice, no dairy…etc.
  • How much dairy? Avoid it completely as dairy literally snuffs the digestive fire as it is cold and mucous forming.
  • Multivitamin - a good one? if not, consider one.Spectra Woman is a highly rated vitamin for women.

This is only information from my end. I am not yet a licensed physician and she must seek the advice from one. Pass this information to her doctor.

Thank you for your question! I do hope she improves. I believe she will if she seeks the advice of a trained professional ND.

Any other questions, do email. Glad to help out.

In health,
Ben

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