Slow and Steady Constipation Improvement

You know all these GAPS, Paleo, Primal, SCD, Whole 30 diets?  Well, they’re all the same bag with some different bows.  And let me tell you.  They suck.  Can’t stand ’em.

I lived in Candyland in my former life.  Now I’m walking through vegetable forest. Why me?  My neighbors don’t eat this way.  I’ve been doing GAPS since June 22, 2012, and all I want to do is eat a fresh-baked loaf of bread from the Wal-Mart bakery and slather some good Land-O-Lakes butter on it.

I tell my husband I want to quit.  Too much cooking.  Too much work.  Not worth it to fix our non-life-threatening ailments.  He used to encourage me and cheer me up.  Now he just ignores me and lays the vegetables he wants for supper on the kitchen counter for me to chop into thousands of little pieces.

“Don’t cut your finger off.  I’m on call today.”  What a guy.

Has GAPS helped my chronic constipation?

Yes.

Has it been easy?

No.

Have I strictly adhered to GAPS?

I’ve done alright.  Since last June, there have been about 10 days where I knowingly made a choice to eat “bad” food–Christmas Eve, Christmas, a couple of days on each vacation we took, and a couple of cake pieces for a couple of birthdays.  There have been inadvertent failures where I didn’t catch an ingredient.  Some occasional infringements with dark chocolate with known sugar.  But mostly, I’ve worked hard to stay true.

How are your bowel movements?

Lately, for about the last 6 weeks, I’ve been pooping mostly every morning (pretty super for somebody who used to poop about every 14 days).  The exciting kind of poops:  strong urge, easy passage, formed yet soft, long and abundant poop.  After the poop is evacuated, the urge is gone.  No feeling like I need to pass more even though there’s nothing coming.  When my bowels skip a day or two, I get panic-y that my severe constipation is coming back.  You know, the kind that fails Miralax, probiotics, milk of magnesia, docusate, fiber, Activia, suppositories, and enemas.  The kind where even Ex-Lax and magnesium citrate require double dosages and still don’t produce a bowel movement until 2-3 days later.

The road to this destination has been filled with all kinds of variances, changes, and tweaks.

I’ve identified problem foods.  If I eat them or I eat too many of them, my bowels skip some days until I go back to strict veggie and meat GAPS.  My problem foods are common GAPS/Paleo/Primal/Whole 30/SCD problem foods.

  • Dairy I can’t touch.  After initial diarrhea, I won’t poop for weeks.
  • Eggs make me skip days.
  • Nuts make the poop hard and slows down the system.
  • Too much sweet stops things for a few days untill I get strict again.

There are these startlingly bizarre times when I actually have diarrhea all day, causing me to RUN to the bathroom.  Let me tell you.  I’ve NEVER had this EVER before in my life.  I think this is caused by a food trigger, but it takes forever to sort out which foods cause which reactions.  Since this phenomenon is unusual for me, I haven’t been able to pinpoint the culprit.  And since I’ve always had constipation, diarrhea is a welcome problem to have.  Crazy.  It seems that GAPS has allowed my chronic constipation to move into the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, which I prefer to my former problem.

Besides food changes, what do you do?

Before I discovered intensive nutritional rehabilitation for my gut, I used to just long for that one food or supplement that could make my bowels move.  For Mom it was sauerkraut.  For Dad it was pickles.  For my husband it was fruit.  Food never, ever worked for me.  I tried aloe vera, milk thistle, and other expensive things from the store that smells like incense.  No good.

So now I’m left with this exceptionally challenging nutritional intervention that is working quite well after ten months.  I’ve been through GAPS/SCD legal recommended supplements:  probiotics, digestive enzymes, betaine HCL, fermented cod liver oil, fish oil, magnesium, coffee enemas, and probably a few others I’m forgetting.  Oh, yeah.  I also tried early on doing the rifaximin/neomycin treatment for SIBO while simultaneously doing GAPS intro.  Maybe all of it together got me where I am now.  Maybe none of it did.  God only knows.

However, for the last six weeks, I am only taking lactobacillus probiotic from GI Pro Health ( 20 billion CFU) and Magnesium Natural Calm (2 tablespoonsful), both right before bedtime.  And it’s working.  Please note, I have tried other magnesium preps with varying degrees of success.  I finally settled on this one because my incense smelling store keeps it much more readily in stock than other formulations that also worked.  Plus, I like the way it bubbles and brews.  Goes along with my thoughts that I’m practicing “voodoo” medicine on myself, rather than my comfort zone of traditional Western medicine.

My goal is to get down to taking NO supplements.  At times, I have been able to wean the magnesium down to 1 tablespoonful, but it won’t last.  At other times, I’ve been able to skip magnesium for two days and still have the same morning bowel movement, although not as large.  So that tells me it’s not solely the osmotic load of magnesium each night that produces my bowel movement each morning.  But I just can’t buy that I’m that deficient in magnesium.  Regardless, the goal is NO magnesium and to get probiotics from my food.

That’s It

That’s it in a nutshell.  That’s what I’ve done and where I’m at.  The biggest key to my success, I believe, was removing problem foods.  The second key, I believe, was putting in nutrient dense foods.  The third key has to be the magnesium and probiotics.

Unfortunately, the threads that tie it all together, without which nothing would have been achieved, have to be patience, persistence, diligence, and manipulation of all the variables.  There are LOTS of variables ((hundreds of food items, supplements, stress, illness, travel–just to name a few) that must be played with .  And that’s why modern medicine may never come to accept nutrition’s role in disease.  Because there are just too many variables to contain in order to conduct a scientific study.

Wishing you only the best.  Good luck.

Please make sure you get medical advice from a licensed, practicing healthcare professional.  Constipation can be a sign of a significant, serious underlying problem, which you don’t want missed!  Diets and treatments used to treat constipation can come with some serious “side effects.”  Nothing here should be construed as medical advice.  This is my story.  If you want to try out any of the things I tried, please talk with your practitioner about it first.

Terri

Other constipation posts:

Dairy Causes Constipation in (Some) Kids

Cow’s Milk and Refractory Constipation ((January 2, 2013)

A Doctor Visits the Doctor (December 5, 2012)

Whats’ Working (A Constipation Post) (November 3, 2012)

Is it Eggs (October 21, 2012)

Jordan and Steve (A Constipation Post) (October 17, 2012)

Bowels of Steel (October 8, 2012)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.