I didn’t tell anyone for years. It was my embarrassing secret.
No one wants to tell anyone about their gross digestion and bathroom issues, especially when you’re a girl (because, girls don’t have bowel movements) and a 17-year-old one at that.
I just quietly started taking Metamusil everyday and keeping quite about the excruciatingly painful 30-minute bathroom visits, convincing myself it wasn’t a big deal and pretty normal.
I’m talking about the chronic and severe constipation I suffered with for years, silently.
After one or two years of this, I started getting sharp pains in my abdomen area – only then did I go to the doctor (and was sent on a wild goose chase of a battery of tests where they were looking for endometriosis), and I didn’t really connect the two – constipation and the pains.
As you can see now, I really don’t have a problem with talking about this stuff, because after years of being sick and poked and prodded, you stop caring about the small stuff. Plus, doing coffee enemas and talking about that I do coffee enemas have really gotten me to not care anymore!
The number of people who have some kind of digestive complaint these days is just astounding.
- 60 to 70 million Americans have a digestive disease like celiac, diverticulitis, chronic constipation, IBD etc (1).
- 10% – 15% of the population has IBS (the ‘we don’t really know what it is’ diagnosis) (2).
- And some estimates show that between 40% – 75% of the population has some kind of digestive symptom regularly.
Almost everyone I meet these days has some kind of digestive issue going on (it’s weird what people will tell you when you tell them your a health coach that helps people with digestion) – and that’s just the ones who are willing to talk about it!
And yet most people just accept it as a normal part of life – that this random symptom popped up out of nowhere and just take some medication or even a health supplement/natural remedy to get rid of it.
It’s also accepted by most people because it’s too embarrassing to talk about – usually not even with their doctor.
But digestive problems aren’t okay.
- diarrhoea or loose stool
- stomach pain/cramping
- acid reflux
These are so common and so prevalent that we just take them for granted.
But: they’re not ‘normal’.
They’re not part of the normal bodily functions. They’re a spanner in the regular workings of the body.
I’m interested in WHY that symptom is there.
Because that symptom is trying to tell you something.
It didn’t just come from nowhere – there’s a cause behind it. Cause and effect!
Treating that one symptoms – whether it’s with medication, fibre supplements, OR EVEN NATURAL REMEDIES – is not fixing the underlying cause.
You go to a doctor and tell them you have, for example, constipation and they will look at that symptom and see what can do to treat that – you’ll walk out with the idea to eat more fibre, to have Metamusil, or maybe even with a stool softener or Miralax.
You go to a health food store or even a naturopath and tell them you have constipation you’ll walk out with a few supplements, maybe triphala, or senna tea and some food recommendations like maybe more flax seeds.
Sure, sometimes it’s a vitamin deficiency or something missing that be fixed with a few food recommendations. Sometimes it’s just eating too much junk food (not that doctors usually look at that).
But often, it’s a sign of a much deeper issue.
And when something is off with digestion, that effects the health of the entire body including immune system, skin, brain, fatigue, allergies and most things in between.
So we need to ask the question: WHY is that constipation/bloating/diarrhoea/gas/etc there?
I wish when my symptoms first appeared at 17, that I took more notice. Sadly, I don’t think they would have tested me for celiac just with that alone, you tend to need more severe symptoms before they even look at that.
But I wish I looked deeper, and didn’t largely ignore it for 4 years as the symptoms progressed. I wish I asked why is that symptom there, instead of pretending like it was a normal part of life.
The Nobel prize winner and microbiologist Elie Metchnikoff once said, “Death begins in the colon.”
(This is especially true with constipation, because the impacted fecal matter putrefies, rots and ferments in the colon and will cause bad bacteria overgrown and often parasites to proliferate.)
Digestive problems are NOT okay. They’re not an accepted fact of life. They are there for a REASON.
And once you figure out what the REASON is, you can remove it, add it, change it, fix it. If there’s a much deeper problem forming, then you want to figure that out and correct it, before it turns into a much bigger problem (trust me!).