Jordan and Steve (A Constipation Post)

pillsAre these guys legitimate?  Does anyone know?  They seem to be.  I think they are……..

Ummmm…well…they pocketed some of my money anyway.  Desperate moment for me.  I hope they are legit and onto something over there at SCD Lifestyle!  They seem to be pushing to sell something (can’t even figure out all the books/e-books they’re offering).  But there are A LOT of testimonials regarding how helpful they have been.  A lot.

When I search for “cures to chronic constipation” on-line, I take a look at the site, and if I see a sales pitch for a supplement or to buy something–I click the other way as fast as I can.  (Almost always.  Except this once.)   I do not need another pill or supplement to try.  Prescription or otherwise.  Well, not until the colectomy is scheduled anyway.  And hopefully that’s years of chronic constipation away.  But in the meantime, I’ve pitched the aloe vera.  Pitched the pumpkin seed oil.  Pitched the Candida Cleanse.  Shelved the molasses.  Shelved the glutamine. Tossed the fiber.  Shelved the vitamin C.  Docusate was trashed a long time ago.  Suppositories good for nothing except hemorrhoids.  And so on and so on.

Kept the Miralax around and the magnesium, too.  And I carry on with this GAPS diet thing.  And enemas after a few days–because, remember, my bowels have been moving only once or twice a month on their own.  And if that all fails, I take a stimulant laxative or an osmotic laxative.  (I would really like to post about GAPS and SCD later.)

Anyway, these guys called Steve and Jordan run the SCD Lifestyle website.  I stumbled across them when I was researching the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for treating my lifelong chronic constipation.  To put it way too simply, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet removes all grains, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, sugar, and certain starchy foods.  Elaine Gottschall wrote the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, that the diet is based on.  She then crusaded for the diet until she died in 2005 in her 80s, I think.  Her story is moving.  It moved me anyway.  Guess that was the motivation for this blog.  One woman, one child, and a realization that diet may just play a huge role in many illnesses, outside of diabetes and heart disease!  Why isn’t the word about this getting out?  Check out her story.  It’s pretty cool!

Elaine Gottschall’s story

To make my long story short, I started the GAPS diet in June.  You go through an intoductory food protocol and then you pretty much land on the SCD recommendations (isn’t this all so confusing?!).  Once I got through the introduction and was eating more and more “legal” foods, I started having bowel movements!  At first they were accompanied by cramps.  I didn’t mind those cramps a bit.  I was excited my gut was moving for once, even if it hurt!  I figured it was my intestines waking up from the grave.  To help the cramping matters, I cut back on the magnesium I had continued taking.  Despite tapering off the magnesium, my bowel movements continued!  I had bowel movements like I think they’re supposed to be!  Once in the morning and then once again after supper!  Soft.  No straining.  I was sure the diet had cured me!  Before starting my blog back then to proclaim the miraculous glories of GAPS/SCD, I decided to be cautious and wait a bit.  Just in case it was a fluke.

In July, we made some strawberry shortcakes using almond flour.  We had wanted to try goat’s milk on my middle child to see if it was a form of milk she could tolerate with her constipation issues.  So we bought some goat’s milk for the strawberry shortcake.  I couldn’t help myself.  That biscuit topped with strawberries would taste so much better with milk on it.  Just like when I was a kid!  I poured some on.  And MMMMMMMMM.  It was so good.  I had seconds and thirds.  The next day I had diarrhea.  Then I stopped.  Nothing for days and days and days.  I added and upped the magnesium.  I added and upped the Miralax.  I tried maxing out the vitamin C.  I think there is a dose at which you must give up and say those things aren’t working.  I tried the enemas.  As long as something had moved around to the descending colon, the enemas worked and produced a bowel movement.  Good enough for now.

I retried the GAPS introduction diet to retrace my steps.  No good.  I tried the introduction again with high fat dairy like GAPS recommends.  I made my own sour cream from farm-fresh milk.  Made this GAPS constipation smoothie with egg yolks and sour cream.  Absolutely no good.  I tried my fresh yogurt in case maybe that would work.  Just in case.  No good.  And with all of this dairy, the enemas stopped working.  And I panicked.  I googled and I googled.  Then, I did something I never dreamed I’d do.  Think of Grandma here.  Watching her infomercials and ordering her new-found treasures.  I bought the e-book from Jordan and Steve at SCD Lifestyle.  I listened to them.  I picked up some really good pearls.  But, most of SCD/GAPS is not dealing with lifelong constipation.  But more dealing with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease, celiac disease.  People who usually have diarrhea or blood in their stools.  I had nothing but stopped-up bowels.  No pain to speak of.  No alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation.  I think I have slow-transit constipation.  Reduced peristalsis.  Decreased enteric neurons.  Decreased interstitial cells of Cajal.  Decreased enteric glial cells.  But I haven’t had the transit studies done.  About the time I’d get in a panic over my constipation, I’d be pregnant or nursing or moving.

But now I am to the point where I am enema dependant or stimulant-laxative dependent.  And I don’t like that.  So, I bought Jordan and Steve’s e-book.  And I submitted a desperate e-mail to them:  “Have you heard of SCD helping slow transit constipation?”

Steve’s personalized response:  “Yes is the answer.”  Then, Steve proceeded to leave me a few tips.  So armed with my personal tips from Steve, pearls from Jordan and Steve’s e-book,  and restarting the GAPS diet introduction–here I am.  Last week, nothing.  No poop at all.  Not even after a few days and resorting to an enema.  A week later, things are moving in the right direction again!!!!  It had to be a culmination of all of the things I tried together.  How exciting!  Will it last?!!! The only time in my life I’ve ever had regular bowel movements was in July on GAPS diet and once about 9 years ago after being treated for H. pylori.   Today I go to see a general surgeon about my constipation.  Maybe I won’t need him!  Here is the current plan:

  1.  GAPS introduction diet–I am taking this very slowly this time.  I plan to wait no less than 4 days before adding the next recommended foods.  I have been eating boiled meats/broths/veggies and two days ago I added egg yolks.    I have seen no reaction, and I am feeling low urges for BMs, producing about 1-2 soft BMs a day.
  2. Get 60-70% of my calories from fat, preferably animal -based fats–this was recommended in Jordan and Steve’s e-book and reiterated over and over in the GAPS diet.  But a bit challenging for me.  Ick.
  3. Take 40 billion colony forming units (CFUs) of probiotic daily–I divide this into two doses on an empty stomach.  I use the GI Pro Health brand recommended by Steve and Jordan:  Scdophilus 3+.  Yeah.  I know.  The bells are ringing in my head, too.  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  You fell for it!  $$$.  Do Steve and Jordan get any kickback for GI Pro Health.  I doubt it.
  4. Take Betaine HCL–I take 1-2 of these with at least two of my meals a day.  I got a little burning at two.  So I stopped there.  Steve and Jordan say I’m low on stomach acid.  I didn’t do their test.  I didn’t buy their recommended brand.  I already had my own brand from prior constipation experiments.
  5. Take digestive enzymes–Sucker.  Bought the recommended GI Pro Health brand.  I take two with each meal.  Ching, ching, ching for GI Pro Health.  And Steve and Jordan?  Update 5/24/13:  GI Pro Health uses an egg white derivative so I’ve dropped it.
  6. Fish oil–Steve, Jordan, and GAPS recommends this.  I bought the recommended GI Pro Health brand.  Come on.  I was on the website.  I might as well order it all at once!  It actually tastes nice!  I take this once a day.  I think theres’ a recommended protocol by them for a really high dose decreasing over three weeks.  But this dose seems to be doing nicely!
  7. Fermented Cod Liver Oil–Some vitamin A and vitamin D on top of the omega-3.
  8. Magnesium–Steve recommended magnesium glycinate or malate.  But I have magnesium chloride and Calm (magnesium citrate) powder in my cupboards.   So I’ll use these up.  I was using three packets.  Now I’m down to none over this week!  Will keep watch of things.  Don’ t want to get behind, if you know what I mean!  5/24/13 Update:  I’m down to only taking this product called “Calm” (it’s magnesium citrate powder).
  9. See general surgeon today to see what he says.  Tell him about my whacky diet.  Good thing he knows my husband.  Ask him to order the Metametrix 2105 as Steve recommended.  And see if he’ll check my thyroid, too.

That’s what I’m doing for now.  For about 2-3 days, I have seen a big improvement.  I hope it keeps up.  But from this, I learned:

NO DAIRY FOR TERRI!

The dairy I tried over the last three months always seemed to give me a huge setback from the baseline I was at.  As for Steve and Jordan, I am grateful they offered some hope when I was so frustrated.  If things keep moving for the next couple of months, I’ll be so excited and ready to proclaim their glories!  You will know!

5/24/13 Update:  Constipation is much improved, but I still have to take magnesium every night.  Too much magnesium every night.  I also take the lactobacilli probiotic and recently tried Prescript Assist probiotic.  Can’t say the Prescript Assist made any difference at all.  My GI tract certainly responds poorly to certain foods, including eggs, nuts, and dairy.  My constipation is LOTS better than a year ago, responding to magnesium now.  I still like to read SCD Lifestyle from Steve and Jordan.  I think they’re very helpful, and I guess this is their job.  They need to make money, and free advice doesn’t make money.

6/16/13 Update:  Constipation still immensely improved from a year ago.  Unfortunately, sometimes (don’t know why) this month, magnesium is not doing its typical job.  Eggs in the Mother’s Day biscuits?  I don’t know.  I don’t know.  Went on vacation and ran out of magnesium.  Figured it’d be interesting to see if I could “go on my own.”  Five days later, a few Bristol Meyers 1 type pellets was all I got.  Still out of magnesium so I pulled out the Miralax, curious to see if it’d help more easily than before.  Nope.  Double doses on two consecutive days–and nothing. except more bloating.  Made it to the Health Food Store to get more magnesium (and a few other supplements to see if I can please get off of magnesium), and things are returning to “my normal.”  Will do a full update hopefully later this month.

5/1/14 Update:  Things were going great by continuing on GAPS/SCD adjusted for my discovered food intolerances, probiotic, AND adding in a source of butyrate (beginning with butyrate itself and then transitioning to potato starch daily, which bacteria will manufacture butyrate from).  I was able to taper off the magnesium and continue spontaneous daily BMs.  Then I got pregnant and things have been crazy, up and down–but reliant again on daily magnesium.  So I don’t know how long my success would have lasted, but pregnancy has definitely sent my GI back–but not as bad as any other pregnancy.

Related Posts:
Research Linking Food Intolerances to Chronic Constipation
My Visit to a Gastroenterologist
Back on Track After Bowels Frustratingly Stalled
Ten Months on GAPS Diet:  Personal Update on Constipation

28 thoughts on “Jordan and Steve (A Constipation Post)

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      No, I haven’t, but I have Aura Cacia essential oils: lavender, bergamot, and cinnamon. I like them a lot. They relax my mood but not anything else! But that’s worth a lot! Do you think YoungLiving’s would be better? And which oils do you like best?

      Reply
  1. sweetsandrelief

    ha, I had to laugh at this because I am constantly wondering the same thing. I get their daily email and am always intrigued by the next product they’re pushing. I am following SCD but haven’t tried the enzymes yet from GIProhealth. Are they still working out for you? Which supplement do you think is the best?

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I am reserving judgment still. I started egg whites two nights ago, and my bowel movements that were happening (triple “yay”)–stopped. Waiting to see what’s up. Was it getting lazy on my fat intake (yuck)? Was it lowering my magnesium dose? Was it the egg white? Who knows? I did, however, note that the digestive enzymes had egg white in them. That perturbed me a bit because eggs are a “dark horseman.” Why would they recommend a supplement with a “dark horseman”? Wonder if they know that. I should buzz over there and comment. I have not decided on my favorite supplements. About the time I get excited about one, it stops doing its job. When my bowel movements are regular for months, I hope I can figure out what helped me most.

      Reply
  2. Anna

    I’m very interested to hear your “story ” about constipation since I have had the same problem for years . right now I am taking a product called ,” Temple Cleanse ” that works well , for the most part .I also take the Natural Calm ( 2 gigantic teaspoons each night ). I’m totally dependent on these products and thought the SCD would help…I started today and haven’t had a bm ! I think any change in my diet tends to be constipating . I’m also concerned that SCD is really for people with diarrhea problems….I seem to do best with steamed veg , coconut and flax oil ( I’m not a vegetarian ! ) I like meat but have always thought meat was hard to digest and SCD seems to use a lot of meat . I think the bone broths are tremendous.

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thanks for commenting. Always good to know what works/doesn’t work for other people! It is very frustrating when you’re doing everything right and still struggling with laxatives and (lack of) regular bowel movements. For diet, I’ve been endeavoring to adhere the last month to an autoimmune paleo type diet (SCD minus dairy, nuts, nightshades, eggs, and any legumes) to see if that can give me any gains. I will try to get a post update out over the next month on my GI status. For awhile, things were great with diet, probiotic, fish oil, and the Natural Calm (2 heaping tablespoonsful). Then, I don’t know what, something changed, and that stopped working. So I’ve been trying a couple of things here and there (funny that you mentioned flax oil since I just added that in yesterday and have upped my broth). Aside from my GI tract, things are GREAT (no headaches, no fatigue, no swishy head, good sleep, bloating is better, etc). I’ve eyed products like Temple Cleanse before, but not used them (yet–ha!). As for meat, I found it interesting that this guy named Anderson (along with Stefansson) back around 1930 ate an all meat diet for an experiment for ?a year? and his chronic constipation resolved. Like I said, good to know what work and doesn’t work for others! Well, wishing you the best. I’ll keep reading, experimenting, and trying to fix it. Take good care of yourself.

      Reply
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  6. Anonymous

    I’m SO glad I stumbled across your blog! I like your blog ID “Homeschooling Doctor”. We have some things in common. I’m the “Homeschooling RN” lol!
    My Story: I left my profession as an RN specializing in Pediatrics and Neonatal Intensive Care a decade ago to Homeschool my son that has NLD (NonVerbal Learning Disorder). That in itself was a journey. Both the medical and educational systems failed to meet his needs. I had him evaluated by a reputable Neuro- Psychologist (actually 2) and incorporated educational recommendations into a homeschooling program. This proved to be a great success! My son is now in his 3rd year of college studying BioMedical Engineering on a generous scholarship. I miss my work but I have no regrets. Currently, I’m busy with my second son who is now 17. He will be graduating from his homeschool program (we use the Clonlara school to keep accredited transcripts -LOVE them!). Sadly, my 2nd son has been chronically ill. GI symptoms began years ago, then he developed sinus allergy symptoms. Fool that I was, I allowed aggressive treatment with antibiotics. I specifically remember the misguided lecture by our pediatrician, after asking about the possibility of food allergies causing his symptoms and the possibility of looking at diet to treat his symptoms.. I was told “You can experiment with your own health but not your child’s.” We hesitantly allowed prophylactic antibiotic treatment. Time marched on and then he developed disabling Migraines. 2 years of medical treatments by a top Neurologist “Headache Specialist” failed including Botox. He urged we rush our son to MHNI ( Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute) for aggressive treatment before his brain “neuromodulates”, because then he warned “nothing can help him.” After calling the head treatment unit and asking about their treatment protocols, we put up our big STOP! sign to conventional medicine and decided to take a different approach – Functional Medicine. This was the BEST decision! Leave it to a mother’s intuition. His very thorough evaluation revealed severe Gluten Intolerance. OMG! A simple blood test not yet standardized! I wish he could have had this at age 8!!! Sadly, long term exposure to wheat coupled with unecessary antibiotics unleashed a motherload of inflammation to his gut – hence the headaches. After 1 full year eliminating his offending food, he has made only mild progress. His gut is too leaky. He’s in a viscious cycle and he just can’t heal. We just started SCD with the guidance from a clinician who is a licensed acupuncturist specializing in Integrative Medicine. He studied in China for 3 years. I just found Jordan and Steve… and this is how I found you. I have to say this. I’m glad to see an MD who get’s it. FOOD MATTERS! Our gut microflora MATTERS! It will be interesting to watch the Functional Medicine movement in our country. But one thing is certain. There will be posturing and political struggle in the system. I used to believe that we had the best medical system. My entire perspective has changed. Certainly, the Chinese have a lot to offer. I am planning to go back to school to obtain my Masters Degree in Holistic Nutrition and Integrative Health. My experience with my boys has changed my perspective. As to our Pediatrician and his lecture to me…. Who is really guilty of “experimenting” with my son’s health? Well, it wasn’t me! My son is now left battling the aftermath, a severe Leaky Gut nightmare. I pray that SCD will help!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      “It will be interesting to watch the Functional Medicine movement in our country. But one thing is certain. There will be posturing and political struggle in the system. I used to believe that we had the best medical system. My entire perspective has changed.” My thoughts exactly. Thank you for sharing your family’s story! I so do hope that your son can regain health! I am optimistic for him. Your pediatrician’s words have echoed in my mind before you even brought it up. How the medical community thinks that eliminating gluten or dairy or grains is taking medicine into your own hands as a parent–instead of guiding you and helping you do it right, they discourage it. All of our doctors have been supportive (to my face), which has surprised me. Congrats on homeschooling! We love it! You are a real pioneer in both education and health! Thank you, Homeschooling RN!

      Reply
  7. AY

    I have discovered your blog a few days before Christmas on 2014. I am thankful you shared your struggle and experience so openly. Your story gives me hope. When I am frustrated, I always find hope and encouragement from your story. I too, feel my problem is caused by the food. I am still figuring it out what to eat or what not to eat. There have been many times I have to re-read your blog to find inspirations. Thank you

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I am glad you found it! And I hope you hammer out the diet that works for you, and you can reverse (or significantly improve) your GI! I am so much better, but definitely not normal (and still needing that darn magnesium plus or minus). Some weeks (sometimes months) are really almost normal, and I think I’ve arrived and can close this chapter. Then, I have a setback. But, overall, the trend is all in the up direction. Much better than “stop.” So hang in there and don’t give up! Keep reading and learning! (And try not to be overwhelmed by all the ideas out there!) Good luck~~ Terri

      Reply
  8. Patricia

    Are you still writing your blog.
    I have similar problems except I haven’t always had chronic constipation . I have no BMS naturally and my bowel has stopped working. I am considering having my bowel removed but am looking at this diet first. SCD. Is this the same as the FODMAP Diet? They are all so complicated and I think they are more for diarrhoea than constipation. As I think meat is not well digested and I always have a blockage after a big meal with fatty food and meat.
    So I am reading your pages with interest.

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi, Patricia! Yep. Still writing. Have you seen on my menu bar a whole category called “constipation?” On it you’ll find many things I’ve explored and/or done for my slow motility. I’ll link to it here: https://thehomeschoolingdoctor.com/chronic-constipation/

      My constipation is much, much better. I now function, I’d describe it, as a constipated normal person. 🙂 It has taken a lot of effort, life changes, and work. A lot. Every change worth it but not an easy path. I found one diet wouldn’t work best for me and have continued to tweak my diet to suit my body. SCD is not the same as FODMAP. In addition to diet, I had to incorporate other things. I wish you success whichever path you follow.

      Terri

      Reply
  9. Patricia

    Hi
    Thanks for your reply.
    I am working through your blogs.
    I understand that you are not giving advice medically just fron your own experiences.
    I find it all a minefield.
    I cannot take fibre. I always knew I couldn’t after trying fybogel and psyllium husks and they blocked me up. I saw a nutritionist though later and she wanted me to systematically try increasing fibre through food a little every day & increasing water as well. I followed her instructions to the letter to see if she was right but also so doctors would know fibre & water do not work (for me).
    I passed a brick motion after screaming in agony , taking hot baths, hot water bottles, Epsom salts baths, castor oil and a week of high strength stimulant laxatives. I had to put it in a carrier bag as it would not go down the toilet. I drew it & measured it.
    The consultant then told me don’t take any extra fibre.
    The nutritionist tried yeast free, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free (I am anyway). I have tried fodmap.
    I am thinking of trying SCD now. What do you think?

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Patricia, That’s worse than delivering a baby (which actually is very similar to severe, severe constipation, I can say–as I’ve had both…). That kind of fiber clearly is NO good for your gut. And it sounds like you are manipulating your diet quite a bit. I think diet, diet-tweaking, and diet adherence are huge, but I’m learning it’s not enough for many. So what do I think about SCD? I love SCD, but most really problematic people seem to have issues with the nuts, honey, and fermented dairy that it encourages. I hate to be a Debbie-downer, but I think you’d still be struggling on SCD if you followed it to a T.

      Here’s what I did, only I’m using second person to facilitate expression, not to tell you what to do or that this will work for anybody but me:

      I’d pick the most whole-food based diet that you feel best on, tweaking it over a couple of years as you see fit (dairy in, dairy out, certain kinds of dairy in/out, high carb, low carb, no nuts, add in nuts, coconut/no coconut, eggs/no eggs, two big meals versus three meals, intermittent fasting/fasting, yada, yada, yada). Then I’d pick another source of attack besides diet. For example, exploring the thyroid and what is needed to support that (because thyroid hormone has a big impact on the gut). Or exploring estrogen/progesterone/DHEA levels and if those are unbalanced. Or exploring which fermented foods your gut responds best to and then building those foods up. Exploring if titrating up your probiotic quite a bit helps. Exploring how stress affects your colon motility (mine shuts down under “stress”–even “stress” as simple as someone being in the room talking to me). Exploring if a combination of prebiotics slowly titrated up may benefit you: inulin/FOS/beta glucans/pectin/resistant starch/etc—if they do, look for foods with those things in them to try. Trying some alternative measures that fit in the budget, like mediation, yoga, or acupuncture. Consider if you have SIBO (small intestinal bowel overgrowth) and an overgrowth of methane bacteria which can make constipation worse—and chew on the idea that antibiotics may benefit. Finding the one laxative that will keep things moving while you try this stuff. Considering if fecal transplant may benefit you. Considering testing of hormones, adrenals, stool, food sensitivities, metals, even something like Lymes. Considering rectal retraining.

      There are so many things. It is very overwhelming. But pick one thing. Make sure it’s safe and safe for you by running it by your doctor and/or nutritionist. Then move forward on it. Read on it. Cross it off the list and proceed forward if it doesn’t work. Keep it around if it seems to help even a bit. If your providers have experience in these things, oh, baby! How lucky and use them–even if one path didn’t work, give them another chance. If you have access to another provider who uses all this stuff successfully, that’s a blessing too! It’s better to walk under someone’s experience for sure!

      I think you said you were considering colectomy. So you may not have the time to try all this stuff; maybe there’s nothing you know of that can get things moving to buy you that time like I was able to find. But if you can buy that time, I’d take it. I wish I could tell you which one thing would help you or that even trying ALL this stuff would help you. All I can say is that trying this stuff helped me slowly, so slowly, so slowly over the course of 2-3 years.

      I can try to tell you books or sites I read if you’d like in one particular area. I’ve read so many so I can’t list them all. But I’ve tried to read in each of these areas I mentioned.

      For diet, I like Terry Wahls, SCD, GAPS, The Paleo Mom’s book on autoimmune Paleo protocol, The Perfect Health Diet, and Healing Digestive Illness. Pooling those ideas together.

      This didn’t help me, but I found it fascinating…http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/04/causes-and-cures-for-constipation/… and the Jaminets seem to field all questions.

      I don’t know. I hope this did more than overwhelm you. One step. Then another. Then another. Feel like giving up. But don’t. Another step. Another step. Feel like giving up again. Have a pity party and diet fest–then get back on board and take some more determined steps. Till your journey feels better.

      Be safe. Be well. Have faith.

      Sincerely,

      Terri

      Reply
  10. Patricia

    Thank you for all this information.
    I am on a cocktail of stimulant laxatives.
    Prucalopride 1 or 2 day.
    Bisocodyl at night
    Picolax once a week
    Peristene water kit like an enema every other day.
    The specialists have told me the food I eat will not make any difference to my system as it is completely crashed and not working.
    It is all very interesting reading your story and articles.
    I don’t want to have my bowel removed as it may even be the same as I am now and it is so drastic.
    So I am trying everything I can.
    The colonics have helped.
    Also Co Ton A 00. Digestive enzymes. Probiotics.
    So I will keep reading and trying.
    Thanks for your suggestions.

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Patricia,

      I wish you success. If you have time, don’t give up and do look at all aspects that could affect gut function. Have you seen my menu with the Page titled “Constipation?” It has most of my constipation posts, which in no way are all-comprehensive, simply my story. There are so many ways to attack this problem, one could go crazy trying. Right? 🙂 But we won’t do that!

      However, to methodically try different things in a safe, monitored fashion, I believe with a problem this severe, is not unreasonable! Diet, thyroid dysfunction (not as easily diagnosed as most conventional doctors think), gut bacteria (modified by diet, probiotics, prebiotics, antibiotics, select supplements), hormones (estrogen/progesterone–does one have any symptoms of hot flashes at night/”bumpy” mood patterns/excessive hair growth on the face/altered libido/etc), heavy metals (mercury, lead), infectious diseases, psychosomatic (Dr. Sarno’s works are a fascinating read, although difficult to apply if you ONLY have constipation but usually we also have other things, like headache or brain fog or joint pain…), adrenal support, and so on and so forth are all factors to approach.

      Your system may have “crashed,” but I suspect that regeneration of the nervous system of the gut is partly possible. I have read several articles which make me think so, but my “catalog system” here is non-existant (journal articles everywhere and growing by the day). So I made a fast Google search to send you something to help you hope. Yes, it’s a mouse study, but it gives hope. I think BUTYRATE production is KEY to helping this–and butyrate production comes via proper diet. My constipation improvement has NOT been drastic the last three and a half years I’ve been working on it (before that I ate crap and was as stressed as heck). It has been overall gradual and slow, with some times where it made a large improvement at once. However, whereas I used to have a hard BM only once or twice a month “on my own,” using Miralax, probiotics, and then finally using the stimulants after about ten days when I had to (and they then didn’t work for about three days after taking them at a high dose), I now take magnesium about three times a week and have a BM about every day as long as I can find quiet time to sit all alone (which makes me think my parasympathetic system still needs further “recovery”). I try not to be unreasonable and led astray down paths that are dangerous, expensive, and quackery, but there are many things to try that have been mocked by conventional medicine that can help some people.

      Here is the mouse study where the nervous system of the colon “regrew”: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16596393

      “Abstract

      Ablation of the myenteric plexus in mouse colon with the detergent benzalkonium chloride (BAC) is followed by considerable recovery of the nerves, indicating that this plexus is capable of regeneration and has plasticity. Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) are closely associated with enteric nerves, and the acquisition and maintenance of their adult phenotype are nerve-dependent. Little is known about the regenerative processes of ICC or about the possible dependence of these processes on neurons. To address these questions, we ablated the myenteric plexus in the mouse colon with BAC and followed changes in the adjacent ICC (ICC-MP) from day 2 to day 70 after treatment, by using c-kit-immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. In the untreated area, c-kit-positive cells and ICC-MP with normal ultrastructural features were always present. The region partially affected by BAC contained some c-kit-positive cells, and either normal or vacuolated ICC-MP were observed by electron microscopy. Moreover, at days 60-70, ICC-MP with particularly extended rough endoplasmic reticulum were present in this area. In the treated area, either denervated or reinnervated, c-kit-positive cells were always absent. By day 14 after BAC treatment, nerve fibers had started to grow back into the treated region and, in the reinnervated area, cells with fibroblast-like features appeared and were seen to contact both nerve endings and smooth muscle cells and to acquire some typical ICC features. Thus, ICC are vulnerable to external insult but appear to have some ability to regenerate.”

      —————————————————————————————————————————-

      I WILL NOT take “no” when there are things for me to try and I am safe. Regeneration of an enteric (gastrointestinal) nervous system will require good nutritional support, and there is no harm in me giving it the nutrients and micronutrients it needs and removing things that may temporarily suppress its healing. However, I am not you, and you must do what you know is best, always making sure that you’re not harming. Your doctors may think, “That won’t work.” but the question I have is, “Am I doing more harm by trying this? Is there some research that lends a thread of credibility to my trying this? Am I in a place that I have time to try this?” And so on. And hand them some butyrate articles. (I’ve got a ton linked in my “Butyrate Series.”)

      Happy New Year. Have hope. Be safe. I’m going to go see what Co Ton A 00 is! 🙂

      Terri

      Reply
      1. Patricia Gatesman

        CO – TON A 00 without Goldenseal.
        Ingredients
        Cascara sagrada 120 mg
        Barberry 60 mg
        Cayenne 60 mg
        Fennel 60 mg
        Ginger 60 mg
        Lobelia 60 mg
        Red raspberry 60 mg
        Turkey rhubarb 60 mg
        Directions for me: 2 capsules once a day in the middle of dinner
        Thanks for your help. It takes me time to read everything but really grateful for your suggestions.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Yay! I made it back! I looked this up when you first posted your regimen since I’d never heard of it. It was so interesting! In that so many of these herbs I’ve incorporated in my cooking/diet as good for the gut and fighting SIBO. I try to use cayenne, fennel, and ginger routinely. Red raspberry I sometimes take as tea and it’s in my prenatal (I’m nursing still) supplement. A few I still need to look up: barberry, lobelia, goldenseal (which I know you take the one without), and the turkey rhubarb. There are so many different herbs to use, and it’s fun to read about them. However, I know with deep, severe constipation, in my opinion, one simple herb or combination of herbs isn’t usually going to make a dent without other measures as well. But if I can incorporate some into my diet as culinary spices or enjoyable teas, I like to do so, as I think that spices are important overall for health too, in addition to food.

        Well, do take care and good luck!

      3. Patricia Gatesman

        Hi
        Was my post removed as I posted supplement ingredients?
        As my reply has disappeared I am not sure if it was not allowed or I didn’t post it correctly?!

      4. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Oh, no! It’s in there and fine! The comments come to me to read, and then I click “approve” to allow them to show up. I like to reply to each comment almost always, so sometimes they sit there until I can find time to read and answer them properly. Sometimes that’s fast and sometimes it’s sl-o-o-ow. I try not to approve them without a reply or otherwise they get lost from me and I can’t see that I didn’t reply. Make sense? So, you’ll see them published hopefully soon with replies. Thanks for taking time to reply/comment. I thought the prep was a pretty interesting ingredient combination. Some of those things I try to eat! (Fennel, fennel seed) Good night! I just logged on quickly for now, but I hopefully will get to read more comments and reply in the morning or so.

  11. Patricia

    Hi
    I am not sure about the mouse study and the anti biotics …. Hmm.
    I know anti biotics work to clear out the bowel but my whole life has been an anti biotic.
    I have suffered from chronic.. everything starting with throat (tonsils removed at 7) that helped a bit till I was 15 & the Chronic “tonsillitis” & “septic tonsils” came back … carried on in College, then Glandular fever the “best” case the doctor had ever seen. I was sent home & told I couldn’t go back till my blood was negative. Bit it never was so I went back anyway … more infections.. more anti biotics, then infections moved around… to my eyes, my stomach, always my throat, bronchitis, Chest, then thrush, cystitis (always chronic). Then my mother died & I had IBS diagnosed after going into hospital. (I had a laparoscope). Allergies flared up again & excema. Then massive allergic reaction (I think to soya) but the GP said it was too acute.
    Anyway moving on, stress at work, developed panic disorder & CFS diagnosed as well as Keratoconus, (eyes linked to allergies). Brain fog, memory problems, then infection in the stomach, H Pylori (triple anti biotic therapy) then my bowel crashed!
    (So with hindsight I am not surprised really!! )
    At the moment for the last 6 months I have broken the cycle of anti biotics & I try to keep up vitamin C dose if I feel a cold coming, zinc, honey, garlic, echinacea.
    So I am reading your blog with interest, although you have always had constipation, so not the same as me, but good that you don’t take the laxatives or try not to take supplements.
    Someone on one of the posts said constipation better than diarrhoea. I have to disagree!! At least it is coming out with diarrhoea! !
    So, I am still trying to tweak my diet, add more supplements, keep reading, keep drinking (the water) and hoping for a miracle. ….

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      The mouse study I linked to took mice and used an agent (benzalkonium chloride) to literally kill and wipe out the enteric nervous system of the mouse gut. Then, they watched over time and saw that the enteric nervous system did regenerate itself some! So I was simply implying that there is hope that a human gut that has encountered problems and had degeneration of certain cells of its enteric nervous system CAN with the right environment provided may regenerate and gain function as well. Not that I think you should take antibiotics! (Although, some people do have success with that—but it sounds like your story already has too much of that in its history.)

      There have been times when my magnesium caused diarrhea and made me sensitive to FODMAPS, and I was happy when this first started happening. I will say one thing, with diarrhea, one can at least see clearly and more quickly when they are responding to changes. With constipation, you just can’t tell unless you go and for us, that can be a week! Anyhow.

      You have lots of issues there. I hope they are improving? It really just sucks that you have to deal with that. That anyone has to deal with that. I hope your gut moves soon and that surgery is not what you have to do.

      Have a good Sunday! (Today is Sunday.)

      Terri

      Reply

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