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Frequently Asked Questions: Constipation

by Konstantin Monastyrsky

Constipation is one of the most intractable and unpleasant lifestyle disorders facing Westerners. It starts shortly after the birth at a 3% rate,  exceeds 50% by the age 50, and reaches over 90% by the age 80. It would be easy to dismiss as a mere nuisance if not for one undisputable fact — constipation-related complications are behind practically all of the age-onset colorectal disorders, ranging from enlarged hemorrhoids to colon cancer, and everything in between.

Constipation rarely happens out of the blue in otherwise healthy adults. It is usually preceded by decades of semi-regular stools that are either too large, or too hard, or both. These abnormal stools cause gradual nerve damage and enlargement of the colon, rectum, and hemorrhoidal pads until one day the bowels refuse to move as was meant by nature — once or twice daily, usually after a meal, and with zero effort or notice. Therefore, it's best to recognize and eliminate abnormal stools long before they bite you in the ass, literally and figuratively.

— But what exactly are normal stools?

— Well, here is the answer:

Read transcript, view BSF chart, and  learn how to interpret your type.

If your BSF type isn't right, begin the recovery process by reviewing the answers to the questions on this page. It represents the most comprehensive and up-to-date compendium of hard-to-find information about constipation and related complications than any other resource off or on line.

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Please select the question that best describes your particular concerns and circumstances, and follow up with recommended links. Use the Backspace key to return to this page:

Why do women get constipated more often than men?

 

Anatomical differences, excessive concerns over hygiene, social conditioning, stricter compliance with erroneous medical advice, on-and-off weight loss diets, pregnancies,  and a propensity for “healthier” nutrition (i.e. low-salt, low-fat, high fiber, eight glasses of water) predisposes women to constipation much more than men. Fortunately, you don't need a gender-bender to avoid this trap! More...

What is the difference between irregularity and constipation?

 

The easiest way to turn a legitimate disease into a mere nuisance is by blaming the patients' perception for feeling sick. That is exactly what Big Pharma did by turning 'constipation' into 'irregularity' in order to cover up one of the most dominant side effects of prescription drugs. No constipation — no problems getting the FDA approval to peddle these drugs, making a bundle of money in the process, and you — constipated for life! More...

Is constipation dangerous for my health?

 

The mainstream medical establishment in the United States treats constipation as a mere nuisance rather than the serious medical condition that it is. To make a bad situation worse, the dominant dietary advice and medical treatment — particularly dietary fiber, overhydration, and laxatives — intensify constipation and its irreversible side effects even more. More...

How often should I move my bowels?

 

According to the dominant medical advice, moving your bowels as little as once every three days is considered normal, while, in fact, a frequency this low indicates severe fecal impaction, stool transit disorders, and chronic constipation — the conditions that commonly precede enlarged hemorrhoids, diverticular disease, polyposis, and colorectal cancer. More...

Why do some foods cause constipation?

 

There is only one 'food' component that may cause constipation —  indigestible fiber. Too much fiber leads to bowel obstruction, too little indicates bowel dependence. All other natural foods digest near completely, and don't play any role in forming stools. In fact, if your stool test shows any remnants of fats, proteins, or carbohydrates, it means you are affected by a severe malabsorption disorder, ranging from gastroenterocolitis to liver or pancreatic cancer. More...

Does stress cause constipation and why?

 

Chronic and sporadic stress disrupt regular bowel movements and contribute to constipation. Adding fiber, fluids, and laxatives to alleviate constipation makes it worse, and perpetuates stress even more. The information on this page will help you break this vicious cycle. More...

Why do doctors recommend fiber to relieve constipation?

 

The majority of medical doctors in the United States practice medicine “by the book.” This means a strict adherence to established clinical guidelines and standards of care in order to insulate themselves from malpractice lawsuits. Unfortunately for patients, doctors are taught to recommend fiber not because it is good for them, but because it benefits those who wrote “the book.” More...

Does alcohol cause constipation?

 

Alcohol inhibits digestion, causes dehydration, depresses glucose metabolism, and compromises the functioning of the central and peripheral nervous systems. The cumulative impact of these factors is behind chronic constipation related to alcohol abuse. More...

Why does anal sex cause constipation?

 

Anal sex is like large hard stools, only in reverse. It also lasts longer than a bowel movement, and causes significantly more carnage: enlarged internal hemorrhoids, anal fissures, ulcers, fistulas, nerve damage, rectocele, the weakness of anal sphincters, chronic pain, fecal incontinence, and, of course, chronic constipation. More...

What causes traveler's constipation?

 

Healthy people can't suppress the urge to move the bowels for too long no matter the circumstances or time zone. Thus, traveler's constipation is a marker of latent constipation — a form of hidden constipation that is behind enlarged hemorrhoids, anorectal neuropathy, diverticular disease, megacolon, IBS, PMS, inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal polyps, and many other conditions.  More...

What is the connection between autism, infant constipation and diarrhea?

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “560,000 individuals between the ages of 0 to 21 have an ASD [autism spectrum disorders]”, and “between 1994 and 2004, the number of 6 to 17-year-old children classified as having an ASD in public special education programs increased from 22,664 to 193,637.” More...

Why is my infant constipated?

 

The standing pediatric advice to accept irregular bowel movements as normal  is a principal cause of constipation in infants and toddlers. After irregularity turns into constipation, the ensuing treatment with fiber, fluids, and juices often causes diarrhea, and is, in part, behind the epidemic of autism in the United States. More...

Why is my toddler suddenly constipated?

 

The wrong medical advice is behind chronic constipation in toddlers. Recommended dietary changes not only do not resolve constipation, but also may result in diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, and development problems caused by the ensuing malnutrition. More...

What are the causes of constipation in older children?

 

Older children are affected by constipation just as often and just as badly as adults, and for all the same reasons — bad medical advice, dietary fiber, over-hydration, addiction to laxatives, environmental pollutants, and stress. There is only one way to prevent and reverse it — do everything the opposite to what pediatricians and nutritionists recommend. More...

What is the connection between constipation and the epidemic of juvenile diabetes?

 

The pancreatic duct terminates in the duodenum, the first section of the small intestine that comes right after the stomach. The duodenum is particularly small in young children, and can be easily obstructed by the fiber in morning cereals, fruits, vegetables, or supplements, particularly when provided to relieve constipation. The ensuing obstruction, even brief, may block the pancreatic duct and cause inflammation of the pancreas. In turn, acute pancreatitis may cause the destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the islets of Langerhans. A child without functional insulin-producing cells is condemned to a life of blood sugar monitoring, insulin injections, and all that follows. By age 40, the mortality rate among children affected by type I diabetes is twenty times higher than in the general population. I discuss the likely events preceding pancreatitis here.

Is it true that dietary fiber prevents or relieves constipation?

 

No, it isn’t. Fiber from fruits, vegetables, grains, bran, and laxatives is the PRIMARY cause of chronic, persistent constipation and related colorectal disorders. More...

Can I relieve constipation by drinking more water?

 

No, you can't. Actually, sipping two, three, five, ten or more liters of water wouldn’t produce soft and moist stools because drinking water per se never reaches the large intestine of a healthy person. In fact, death from water intoxication would happen faster than this water reaching the bowels. More...

Is it true that regular exercise stimulates intestinal activity?

 

No, it isn’t. In fact, you can exercise yourself senseless and get even more constipated because, among other things, vigorous physical activity inhibits motility — a fancy term for forward propulsion of stools inside the large intestine. More...

Is it true that toning up lax muscles helps to relieve constipation?

 

No, it isn’t. Actually, stronger pelvic and abdominal muscles only help you to strain harder, and straining aggravates constipation and its side effects more than any other single factor. And that’s before considering the impact of straining on hemorrhoids, hernias, diverticular disease, intestinal obstructions, genitourinary disorders, and other possible complications. More...

Is it true that animal fat causes constipation?

 

 No, it isn’t. In fact, it’s the complete opposite: low-fat diets cause constipation while excess fat causes diarrhea. Anyone who tells you otherwise needs a mental check considering that vegetable oils have been used as potent laxatives for millennia. Chemically, flax, olive or castor oils are fat just as much as lard, tallow, or butter — except they are liquid and easier to swallow in one large dose. More...

Why do Paleo and Atkins-style diets (i.e. low-carbohydrates) cause constipation?

 

Fiber is derived from plants (fruits, vegetables, grains) and plant-based processed foods, such as cereals, breads, and pasta. Plants and plant-based food happen to be a major source of carbohydrate in the diet. Thus, any diet that is low in carbohydrates is also low in fiber, and this leads to a rapid reduction in stool size and weight.

If a person isn't dependent on fiber to move the bowels, this reduction of size and weight actually improves regularity and eases bowel movements. On the other hand, if fiber dependence is already present — a condition manifested as latent constipation, — regular bowel movements are disrupted because the “plunging” effect of the fiber-heavy stools has gone.

In general terms, if you experience constipation after a sudden reduction of fiber in your diet, it means that you are already affected by a range of bowel disorders of different severity, such as disbacteriosis, enlarged internal hemorrhoids, enlarged colon and rectum, and anorectal nerve damage. 

To address fiber dependence, please review this page: Overcoming Fiber Dependence.

What is the best diet for constipation relief?

 

The best diet to prevent constipation is a diet low in fiber in order to maintain small and light stools, and moderate in fat in order to stimulate the moving of the bowels. Dietary fat is the only substance that initiates the action that precedes bowel movements. You can learn more about the role of fat in the physiology of the bowel movement on this page: Why Do Some Foods Cause Constipation?

For the record, I am not endorsing or recommending high-fat diets along the lines of Dr. Atkins. Just like high-carbs, high-fat diets contribute to obesity, hypertension, and heart disease because 95% to 98% of all fats get digested, and fat carries 225%  the energy content of carbohydrates. In addition, practically all processed vegetable fats are toxic and potentially carcinogenic to humans.

I am also not endorsing or recommending low-fat diets along the lines of Dr. Ornish. Low fat diets of any kind cause severe digestive and metabolic disorders, and contribute to cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, cancers, infertility, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, periodontal disease, tooth loss, premature aging, and a host of other degenerative disorders.

I do recommend a diet moderate in animal fat along the lines of the USDA Daily Recommended Allowances (DRA) of about 1 g of fat per 1 kg of body weight. This amount should be increased for growing children, people who are underweight,  pregnant women, seniors, while recovering from a disease, and similar circumstances. I describe the reasons behind these recommendations on this page: The Ingredients of Longevity Nutrition.

Why do antibiotics cause constipation?

 

Antibiotics are broad-spectrum antibacterial medicines expressly used to kill pathogenic bacteria throughout the body. With few exceptions, antibiotics can't differentiate good bacteria from bad, so all get killed, including the bacteria in the large intestine that give stools their amorphous properties — slightly formed, light, uniform in color, soft, and moist.

Once the bacteria population is reduced, or it is missing altogether, stools become dry and hard (type 1 on BSF scale) because there is nothing left to form them and to retain moisture.  I describe the role of intestinal flora on this page: Restoring Intestinal Flora.

The pathologies related to missing bacteria — constipation, low immunity, the deficiency of biotin and vitamin K, mucosal inflammation — are further exacerbated by medical doctors, particularly in the United States, who recommend using indigestible fiber in order to bulk up the stools instead of restoring the population of innate bacteria killed by antibiotics.

Does smoking cause constipation?

 

No, not really... Actually, smoking stimulates moving the bowels because the continuous swallowing of the nicotine-laced saliva stimulates the gastrocolic reflex — an involuntary condition that initiates bowel movements.

Also, the smoke itself increases the level of CO2 in the blood. The ensuing vasodilation (widening) of the blood vessels helps intestinal peristalsis and amplifies the urge to move the bowels.

For the same reason smoking reduces the risks of constipation, smoking cessation is commonly associated with the onset of chronic constipation — the reduced stimulation diminishes the frequency and urgency of bowel movements, enlarges stools, and precipitates costivity, irregularity, straining, and fiber dependence — all of the hallmarks of latent and organic constipation.

If you are quitting smoking, you should pay particular attention to the risk of constipation, and it's prevention, but without getting hooked on fiber and/or laxatives. Study the rest of this site to proactively identify the type and stage of your constipation in order to select the best treatment and preventative approach.

Why does colonoscopy cause constipation?

 

Colonoscopy procedure disrupts natural bowel movements. The four principal causes are (1) Intestinal flora damage by synthetic laxatives; (2) complete lavage of the bowels;  (3) the side effects of anesthesia, and (4) stress and anxiety related to cancer screening.

If you are already affected by latent or organic constipation,  resuming normal bowel movements is even more difficult. You can find a great deal more information on these side effects of colonoscopy on this page: Side Effects of Screening Colonoscopies.

Use all or some of the components of the Colorectal Recovery Kit to restore regularity and to prevent further damage. To prevent kidney damage, severe dehydration, and blood clotting related to traditional colonoscopy prep as well as to spare intestinal flora from damage, consider using several repeated applications of Hydro-C instead of the sodium phosphate or polyethylene glycol laxatives.

Why does surgery cause constipation?

 

The obligatory preparation for most surgeries, particularly abdominal, involves all the same steps and actions as for colonoscopies — a form of ambulatory surgical procedure.

To understand and appreciate why it takes so long, and why it is so difficult to resume moving the bowels after these surgeries, factor in extended bed rest, general weakness, longer and more intense anesthesia, intense use of pain relievers after the surgery, and the widespread use of antibiotics to eliminate post-surgical infection. 

The recovery approach for post-surgical constipation is exactly the same as described above for post-colonoscopy. Obviously, a high-fiber diet for a person recovering from surgery is akin to pouring acid on to an open wound. Unfortunately, that is what most doctors recommend. Not surprisingly, a lot of people survive perfectly-executed surgeries only to die later on from assorted complications, caused, in part or whole, by this terrible advice.

Why does hot weather cause constipation?

 

High temperature, especially when combined with dry air, causes rapid and insidious loss of body fluids and sodium with perspiration. To alleviate dehydration, the body removes moisture and sodium from digestive fluids and stools, turning them dry, hard, and difficult to move without pain.

Also, when stools become small and dry, you aren't likely to experience the urge to move the bowels, making an already bad situation worse. In some instances rapid dehydration may also cause diarrhea, that will further disrupt normal bowel movements. I explain the reasons behind this phenomenon here.

To prevent dehydration, keep yourself well hydrated in advance by drinking mineral (hard) water with added salt (1/2 to 1 teaspoon for each 250 ml glass), a solution known as isotonic or slightly hypertonic.

You should also drink it on an empty stomach, otherwise the water will not reach the intestines quickly enough, and, when in excess, may cause vomiting. Do not drink too much and too quickly, otherwise you may stimulate precipitous urination, causing yourself a loss of potassium, a mineral that is also essential for retaining moisture in stools.

If your stools are already hard and dry, avoid straining to prevent anorectal tear, abrasion, and ensuing blood loss. Instead, use Hydro-C Colonic Moisturizer to break down and dissolve hard stools, and to safely evacuate them. You may need several repeated applications to 'cleanse out' the bowels.

If stools remain hard and dry (type 1 on BSF scale) even after you are properly hydrated, it means there aren't enough bacteria in your gut to retain water in your stools. In this case review the Restoring Intestinal Flora page, and use the Colorectal Recovery Kit to restore intestinal flora.

Can constipation cause acne?

 

No, not directly. Indirectly, however, constipation is one of the outcomes of a high-fiber diet that is behind elevated triglycerides — a high level of fatty acids in the blood. These fatty acids are formed by the liver from excess blood sugars (glucose, fructose, and glucose), and are further augmented by vegetable fats from dressings, fried food, and the like. In turn, blood sugars come from excess carbohydrates that accompany fiber, usually 5 to 10 times as many by weight.

Since young people can't yet efficiently deposit excessive triglycerides into the adipose (fat) tissue, these fats are being 'pushed out' through the sebaceous glands, making the facial skin fat and dry because excess fat blocks moisture.

When some of the sebaceous glands get clogged by excess fat, they provide a perfect breeding ground for trapped bacteria because some bacteria love to devour acidic fats. The ensuing eruption caused by the byproducts of bacterial fermentation become 'acne.'

So, why, then, do not all teenagers who are constipated develop acne, and why are not all who have acne constipated? Well, there are many other factors behind either constipation or acne. A high-fiber diet is only one commonality among all these factors.

Thus, reducing fiber and carbohydrates consumption may help to relieve constipation by making stools small, and eliminate acne by reducing elevated triglycerides. Obviously, you should also pay attention to all other contributing factors, such as proper skin hygiene in the case of acne, disbacteriosis in the case of constipation, and so on. 

What are the causes of constipation during pregnancy?

 

The uterus is located in the abdominal cavity along with tightly packed small and large intestines. As the uterus expands in size and weight, the outward pressure in all directions compresses the intestines and the stomach, and this pressure interferes with the mechanical aspect of gastric digestion (stomach's contraction and expansion) and the propulsion of chyme (digestive mass) through the intestines (motility).

Also, because the relentless pressure has a stimulating effect on the intestines, similar to the gastrocolic reflex, the peripheral nervous system adapts by suppressing it somewhat, so you end up missing bowel movements, and making an already bad situation worse.

If you follow the standard medical advice regarding pregnancy-related constipation, and add more fiber and fluids into the mix, you'll accomplish the complete opposite effect — a constipation even more severe. Fiber is well known for causing obstructions in absolutely healthy adults. Just imagine how easily it can obstruct an already squeezed intestine during pregnancy.

Furthermore, fiber fermentation will cause even more interference with peristalsis and motility by causing acidity-related inflammation and ensuing bloating from trapped gases.

In general terms, women who become constipated during pregnancy have likely been affected by latent constipation prior to the pregnancy. Ideally, you should eliminate this condition before the pregnancy in order to prevent constipation from ruining one of the life's most beautiful experiences, as well as preventing colorectal damage from straining and avoiding fetus damage from malnutrition caused by intestinal inflammation. To eliminate constipation prior to pregnancy, start here: No Downsize, Just Upside-down.

Since most medicinal laxatives are potentially teratogenic (may negatively affect fetus development), consider using Hydro-C instead in order to keep stools small, moist, and easy to pass. Make sure to consult your doctor before using this or any other supplement, particularly during the first trimester.

Why does constipation cause enlarged internal hemorrhoids?

 

Hard stools, either large or small, are the hallmarks of functional, latent, and organic constipation, and require straining while moving the bowels. The resulting inward pressure by hard stools on the hemorrhoidal pads that line the anal canal, and the outward pressure from the abdominal and pelvic muscles to facilitate straining cause their enlargement for the same reason shoveling snow or paddling a boat with unprotected hands cause calluses on your palms.

I describe the sequence of events that precipitate hard stools and straining on this page: The Bull's S..t In the China Shop. Straining itself is the hallmark of latent (hidden) constipation, and there is only one way to eliminate it — by normalizing stools. I describe what's 'normal' and what's 'abnormal' on this page: What Exactly Are Normal Stools?

Why does constipation cause anal bleeding?

 

For the exact same reasons hard stools cause enlarged internal hemorrhoids, they may also tear apart the delicate tissue that lines the rectum and anal canal. The resulting abrasions, fissures, ulcers, and fistulas may bleed when aggravated by straining. To eliminate bleeding and heal wounds, follow all of the recommendations below. 

Hydro-C is particularly effective for this purposes because it is safe for extended use, doesn't cause additional irritation, and non-addictive. You should also eliminate all traces of fiber because fermentation increases the acidity of stools, and, in turn, it prevents the healing.

Since constipation and disbacteriosis are concomitant conditions, it may also mean that you may be short on vitamin K — a blood coagulation factor — that is produced almost exclusively in vivo by intestinal bacteria. So, make sure to eliminate this condition as well by using Colorectal Recovery Kit 

Why does constipation cause bloating and flatulence?

 

Bloating and flatulence are related to two concomitant conditions — intestinal inflammation and fermentation of indigestible fiber by intestinal bacteria. Since constipation leads to a considerable accumulation of stools inside the large intestine, and, sometimes, even in the small intestine, bacteria has an infinite amount of undigested fiber to ferment on, and produce copious gases and elevated acidity — the primary factor behind ensuing inflammation. In turn, inflammation blocks the absorption of gases into the bloodstream for evacuation through gas exchange in the lungs. These trapped gases cause flatulence and cramps and the gases that gradually escape, cause flatulence. 

If you are affected by bloating and flatulence even without an apparent constipation (i.e. not moving the bowels for more than three days), you may be affected by latent constipation— an abnormal accumulation of stools, even though your bowel movements are regular. I describe this condition at greater length  here. There you'll also find treatment recommendations.

Obviously, the worst approach to bloating and flatulence — constipation or not — is following the standard medical advice to consume more fiber, that is the equivalent to pouring a starter fluid over burning coals. When the situation becomes unbearable, instead of removing fiber, doctors commonly prescribe antibiotics to wipe out any innate bacteria — an approach similar to treating migraine by butting you head against the wall until you drop down unconscious: no consciousness — no headache!

Why does constipation cause chronic fatigue?

 

In general terms, constipation is the tip of the iceberg in a long chain of digestive disorders, particularly malnutrition caused by fiber. If you doubt fiber's ability to cause malnutrition, ask yourself this question: Why do fiber supplements assist in weight loss?

The answer: by blocking the absorption of fats, of course. Alas, by blocking the absorption of fats, you also block the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and minerals, such as calcium and magnesium because they depend on these vitamins for their own assimilation. A deficiency of these minerals, in turn, causes circulation and muscle tissue problems that are partially behind chronic fatigue syndrome.

Here is another example: the fermentation of fiber and the rotting of undigested proteins produce toxic substances, such as methanol and cadaverine, that get assimilated into the blood, and cause severe fatigue.

You should also investigate other malnutrition-related causes, such as non-iron dependent anemia, metabolic disorders, and thyroid dysfunction that are also connected to fat malabsorption.

These are just three examples. Eliminating fiber and constipation may help a great deal, and your doctor may help you to diagnose and eliminate other problems, such as chronic infections, cardiovascular diseases, hypoglycemia, side effects of medicines, and numerous others.

Can constipation reduce my immunity?

 

Yes, absolutely. The intestinal flora is responsible for maintaining the non-specific primary immune response, or phagocytosis — a major function of the immune system used to remove cell debris, viruses, bacteria, and cancerous cells. Since constipation is commonly associated with missing or damaged bacteria, you can pretty much add ‘one and one’ to realize the impact of constipation on your immune system.

If you read most of this page, you must also realize that chronic constipation is also behind the toxins related to fermentation and the rotting and the inflammation of the bowels in different degrees of severity. Naturally, both conditions depress and 'subdue' an already weakened immunity, leaving you more exposed to other pathogens.

Eliminating disbacteriosis kills, figuratively speaking, a bunch of birds in one shot: protects the mucosal membrane of the large intestine from various pathogens, including cancer-causing; normalizes stools and relieves constipation, recharges primary immunity, resumes the synthesis of several essential vitamins, and eliminates the dependence on fiber to move the bowels

You can learn more about the functions of intestinal flora on this page: Restoring Intestinal Flora. 

Can constipation cause bad mouth odor?

 

Yes, it can, but not in the ways you may think it does because there is a significant disconnect between the foul smell of stools and mouth odor.

In general, bad mouth odor, or halitosis, is caused by dental caries, periodontal disease, and sulfur-producing bacteria in the oral cavity. So, you must concentrate first on taking care of these conditions.

Here is where the connection takes place... Intestinal bacteria synthesize vitamin K, which is responsible for blood coagulation. When the said bacteria are missing, you are likely to experience gum bleeding, gingivitis, and periodontal disease — the three conditions that precipitate inflammatory diseases affecting the tissues that surround and support the teeth, or periodontium.

As gingivitis progresses, subgingival (under the gum) bacteria colonize the inflamed periodontal pockets and cause the progressive bone loss that is behind tooth loss in the long term, while the byproducts of bacterial action cause the foul odor.

You can treat periodontal disease all you want, but it will not entirely go away until your restored intestinal flora start producing vitamin K again to enable blood coagulation and healing.

This is, of course, only one aspect of preventing periodontal disease, tooth loss, and halitosis. But, still, it is a big one, and here is your indirect connection to bad mouth odor.

Is it true that old stools can cause “encrustation” of the large intestine’s walls?

 

No, they can't, unless you are reading a deceptive advert for a 'colon cleanser' or 'colonic therapy.' It is pointless to enter into a debate with quacks and charlatans behind this gimmick, except to point out that you can't bind a 'crust' to the mucosal membrane inside the colon for the same reason that food can't form a crust inside your mouth. 

What is the connection between constipation and appendicitis?

 

“Appendicitis is the sudden swelling and inflammation of the appendix. It generally follows the obstruction of the appendix by undigested food or a large accumulation of hardened stools (fecal impaction).” (Fiber Menace, page 32).

The accumulation of hardened stools in the cecum (blind gut, the location of the appendix) is one of the outcomes of latent constipation. In healthy adults the contents  of the cecum are liquid or semi-liquid, but never solidified.

What is the connection between constipation and colorectal cancer?

 

Quite direct: Large and heavy stools cause polyposis and flat lesions throughout the entire length of the colon. Some polyps and lesions turn cancerous, particularly in people with reduced immunity, also precipitated by constipation.

I address this connection at length on this page — Colorectal Cancer Prevention Guide: Step 1. Normalize Abnormal Stools.  

Q. Why doctors aren’t recommending a recovery protocol similar to your Colorectal Recovery Program?

 

Actually, many do, particularly in countries which provide universal health care, such as Germany or Russia. Bacterial therapy is the most common treatment approach there for functional colorectal disorders discussed on this page.

Unfortunately, not so in the United States. In cases of colorectal complaints, the U.S.-based doctors invariably are looking for ulcers, polyps, inflammation, bleeding, enlarged hemorrhoids, and so on. When these late stage pathologies aren’t found (as is usually the case), the patients’ conditions are considered idiopathic (of unknown origins) or psychosomatic (“in your mind”).

This, of course, wouldn’t happen if physicians examined stools and checked the status of intestinal flora — the two major determinants of colorectal health. But beyond the perfunctory, occult blood check, physicians in the U.S. (1) rarely examine actual stools; (2) intestinal flora isn’t considered essential, and (3) disbacteriosis isn’t recognized as a bona fide disorder. More...

Q. What are the most common side-effects of traditional laxatives?

 

Please review the following links to get a complete picture:

Agents Used To Treat Constipation (The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy);

Loosening up hard stools (Overcoming Fiber Dependence)';

— To avoid side effects and to improve the outcomes of treating constipation, I recommend using Hydro-C Colonic Moisturizer. The following table enumerates its safety vis-à-vis other methods: Hydro-C Safety vs. Common Laxatives

 

If you have a general (not personal) question about constipation that wasn't answered on this or related pages, please contact me here, and I'll be glad to add your question to this page.

Constipation is constipation... What's the point in knowing all this?

Even though the end results of constipation are all the same — painful hemorrhoids, suffering from bloating and flatulence, bleeding from anal fissures, severe cramping before and during a period, or emergency surgery for appendicitis or diverticulitis, there are gender, age, diet, stage, and lifestyle differences that make each particular case of constipation different from another one.

These distinctions are important for the following reasons:

Anticipation and prevention. If, for example, you know that you have a propensity for getting costive while travelling, now you know how to avoid ruining your trip.

Treatment tailored to age, gender, health, and diet. A high-fiber diet in young adults may, indeed, produce quick and lasting constipation relief because they still have supple and undamaged bowels. The exact same diet in young children or older adults will produce a complete wreck because the expansion of the fiber overpowers the tiny bowels of children, and the worn out bowels of seniors.

Recognition of underlying causes to implement a meaningful and working prevention. Sure, you can use Hydro-C to find quick relief, but for as long as the underlying causes of constipation are left in place — high fiber diet, the suppression of bowel movements, straining, disbacteriosis, or mineral deficiency — you'll still be dependent on some kind of palliative to move the bowels, and the damage will continue to accrue.

Gender-specific differences. Women should pay much more attention to constipation than men because of the particulars of the respective anatomy, plus periods, pregnancy, delivery, and lactation place an additional toll on the female digestive system. If you don't account for these differences, a 'one-size-fits' all treatment isn't likely going to help.

Age-related difference. As people get older, the digestive organs undergo a substantial transformation, particularly on a high-fiber diet. Constipation relief isn't possible without accounting for this transformation, particularly in terms of expectations of 'normality.' For example, while it is abnormal for a 25 year old to move the bowels less than once or twice a day, it may be absolutely normal for a healthy senior because his/her intestinal peristalsis isn't as efficient as that of a young man/woman. 

Recognition of the psychosomatic factors that influence the etiology of constipation. Finally, psychology plays a huge role in constipation because the very last act of moving the bowels — letting it go — can be controlled and... suppressed at will. Sure, the ability to withhold moving the bowels is an absolutely essential trait for city dwellers, but, unfortunately, taken too far, it is behind many cases of chronic constipation.

If you ignore all of the above factors, circumstances, and considerations, and treat all kinds of constipation with a one-size-fits all approach, such as “don't worry, eat more fiber, drink more water, and exercise the abdominal muscles,” you aren't only destined to fail, but will also turn a temporary (functional) and reversible condition into a permanent (organic) and irreversible one.

Fortunately, now you have at your disposal this phenomenal resource that will help you to turn any kind of constipation from an obnoxious 'phenomenon' to a 'non-event.' Regretfully, I can't add in that it takes 'no-time' because, alas, it does take time!

Wishing you and yours happy and easy BM’s!

   

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