Slow Transit Constipation: A True Enteric Neuropathy

Never apologize for a messy house.  (Reader, move on if this isn’t your deal.)

English: Pedestal squat toilet

English: Pedestal squat toilet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’d think that being a not-so-old medical doctor, even now just eight years out of training, I would have known more about constipation than I did.  But I didn’t.  And the doctors I went to for help didn’t seem to know either.  I do remember one elderly OB/Gyn admitting that he didn’t know what to tell me to do, but to certainly do something; he had a friend who had severe constipation and had to have a colectomy (part of his colon cut out).  My OB/Gyn admitted, “I didn’t know constipation could get so bad.”  I appreciated his acknowledgement of the potential gravity of the situation.  However, nobody seemed to offer me anything helpful, and I just muddled through with various over the counter products with occasional, temporary success.  Luckily for most of my life, my slow transit was relatively asymptomatic (at least between bowel movements, which gave me quite a symptom-free interval—chuckle) and unaccompanied by too many other symptoms, until the last few years.

Since I got the awesome opportunity to homeschool my kids, I had just a couple of hours here or there to start reading for myself, so I could hopefully avoid that colectomy.  The first article that made me celebrate a couple of years ago was something about “fiber doesn’t help slow transit constipation (STC), in fact, it may make it worse.”  Validation of my own experience, counter to most suggestions from my own doctors and training!  However, mostly in my early searches, I came across depressing, belittling stuff like this (emphasis mine):

Now, I am beginning to read lines like this, helping me to see that, although research doesn’t know the answers, at least they’ve identified a REAL problem and there are researchers out there “fighting for me” (and my psychological profile):

Right.  So now I’ve got a nice review article to validate my personal knowledge that no matter what I try, nothing works great because I’ve got a real problem.  A problem that goes beyond trying  fiber, water, and yoga.  A problem beyond, “Well, you must have held your poop in too much when you were a kid so you wouldn’t have to poop in public places.”  Please.

So what is wrong down there?  A true problem with the nervous system and hormonal system of the gut, now in its early infancy of identification.  Science history in the making.

Thanks for reading.  I’m working up to my butyrate post.


Next up, Part Two:  Why Does My GI Tract Defy Physiology and Gravity?
(Alternate Titles To Amuse My Sense of Humor:  “Everybody Else Can Poop, Why Can’t I?”  or “Thank My ENS I Don’t Have To Touch The Toilet Bowl Brush!”)

4 thoughts on “Slow Transit Constipation: A True Enteric Neuropathy

  1. IrishMum

    My eldest son suffered with constipation from a young age too. I brought him to numerous specialists, all telling me to up his fiber, which I did. But things didn’t get any better, in fact they deteriorated. It was only when we went wheat free that I saw huge change for him. Now on eating Paleo he has no issues, but any slips are quickly noticed.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Ditto! My middle child had the worst constipation. I felt awful. I knew there was “nothing to do,” and that’s what all our doctors (who we “hand-pick” you know!) said, too. Even as a solely nursed baby she’d have huge gaps in her bowel routine, like 7 or so days between. For her, we discovered two years ago it was dairy. But here is one instance I feel GAPS MAY have helped, with its broths, fermented foods, food inclusion/exclusion list. She can now eat some dairy and mainstream foods with “no” effect. However, she prefers to keep that to a minimum. Early on in GAPS, she had problems with nuts and nut products, but that disappeared, too. Who knows. However, eating clean is the best thing for her nutritionally and physiologically speaking. Thanks for your comment (so I could write a book in response to your comment!). I know other moms I talk to also have this problem with their children, but they are afraid to take “the plunge.” I wish I could say more to help them.

  2. Pingback: Butyrate and Constipation | The HSD

  3. hannah

    i ,have enteric neuropathy and have suffered with it now for 15 years.What i learned
    -lavender and cascara from sns supplies will clear you
    -vip–potters herbal remedy for constipation boiled up in water will clear you
    -udos oil and coconut oil will when added to food will help clear you without bloating when you are bad,use in diet anyway
    cayenne pepper used a few times a year in capsule form taken before bed will when used with an above oil clear you
    after 3 months the body learns to suss out new laxatives so keep the above on a cycle
    colonics witha gravity pressure machine only
    use a tennis ball to roll round stomach during colonic to clear -sounds so dumb but try it.
    look into cold lasers and using one before a colonic it moves s#*# [edit] out of you with no pain it shakes the s#*# [edit] particles and relieves pain
    when severly swollen move-walk or just walk up and down swimmingpool=non gravity enviroment is brilliant for distention on stomach and bringing it down
    juice and sieve what you make so no fiber but vits etc
    honey can save when low enegy and not eating cos too full
    marshmallows too can help
    avoid dairy-mucus forming
    avoid high fiber,heavy meats and breads-if you have to have have a croissant
    peppermint tea or mint leaves in bottled water to reduce air in tum and bloat
    acidophillus take in billion form or it will not reach your gut
    charcoal tablets afew times a year to get rid of wind
    never have carbonated water
    drink alchol and you will be worse
    build stomach muscle this makes massage when on loo more effective -look at kettlebells swings
    put blocks under feet when sitting on the loo raises legs so poo better

    i wish you all the best things in life,its the hardest thing to live with and hard to share with others what its like.your son jus needs more oils in his foods,that wont damage his bowels avoid medical laxatives they acelerate neuropathy and do lots of damage.


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