Bad week with bowels

Body: 

Its been a while since I posted - although I do visit most days. So thanks again to everyone who passes along their Wisdom!
My biggest enemy in my battle is constipation. I had been doing well until this week - I think it was stress and possibly some slips ups in diet that created the problem but my poos became large and very difficult to pass. And I don't know what I was thinking but I strained...a few times (FYI I never do it against the toilet seat but I do mean straining)! The last time I felt my vagina to understand what was happening when I strained and I got a fright - wow - my cystocele was coming out of my body -ahhh. I knew I should not have been doing it - and have been so cranky with myself for the past day or so. I need to simply learn from it but I just want to turn the week back...silly silly girl!
Anyway, I came away with a question. Because I am so conscious of keeping my bowels moving, I have been taking the view that it is best to strain a bit to get it out rather than wait until it comes out - the reason is I feel that if I wait it is just going to get bigger and harder and not be able to move at all. Is that what happens? or if you let it just sit there, and rehydrate (maybe take some magnesium) can it then become softer and more likely to come out without so much strain? I am a bit scared to try leaving it at the moment but given I need to stop the straining I would be interested in others thoughts. Naturally my aim is not to end up constipated like that but it is such a tough battle for me I have to be realistic and accept that it will happen from time to time.

Hi Ozmama,
I'm so glad you asked this question. Prolapse and constipation is an issue that many women face. I would be interested to hear further comments from others, as this seems to be such a common cause for concern. One thing is that although everyone is similar, prolapse symptoms, problems & remedies may vary.

My understanding is that a little straining if necessary is ok whilst leaning forwards & finding light support from the loo rim if at all. Personally, if I need to strain I find it best to wait util it comes more naturally & easily. However if that doesn't happen I can see that could be a problem. I have read that magnesium nay help with constipation and I've also read that it seems tohelp some people & not others. I don't know if there are any contra-indications to taking magnesium supplements.

My initial thoughts are:
If the constipation could be reduced/eliminated, that would be problem solved. Sounds so simple - I know it's not. However, it is definately worth trying to reduce constipation.

Do you have any ideas/knowledge about what is causing you to be constipated? People are constipated for different reasons, so having some ideas about this would be a helpful start to knowing how to improve things.
Other thoughts:
What is your diet like? Diet is one of the main factors in how healthy the elimination process is. I find some stewed fresh fruit &/or ready to eat figs/dates inbetween meals prevents me from becoming constipated. Just wondering: I wonder if you might find eating food rich in magnesium may help maintain healthy elimination. It's easy to find lists of magnesium rich foods on the internet. It might be interesting to explore with different foods to see what works for you.

Also exercise can also be a key to improve elimination. Exercise can help to improve many bodily functions, inculding elimination. A Whole Woman posture walk & exercises may help in all sorts of ways.

Wishing you all the very best on your journey of improved health.
xwholewomanuk

I have a cystecele, rectocele & small uterus prolapse as many others here. I also have a interal hemmoroid - just one - thankfully. If my bowels are hard my hemmoroid always flares up so I try to keep them soft as I can. I have found that drinking at least 6 cups of water a day has helped. You get used to it after a while. Also eating a pear or an apple a day and high fiber bread - whole grain with 6-8 grams of fiber a slice has helped me. Vegetables like celery and spinach and kale help to clean you out without having hard stools. I hope this info. can help you. Just sharing what has worked for me. I also make sure that I walk at least 5-6 days a week. I believe this all has helped me. Hope I could help you or someone else who has these problems. I'm only a 2 months member but I thought I would try to help. All the best to you. Hugs!!

Jaylove

I am also pretty new here about 2 months and I was dealing with constipation along with severe prolapse. I agree with Jaylove all the above is very helpful in correcting the problem, at lest for me. I have also found keeping a diary of everything you eat during the day is a big help. Sometimes we think we are eating enough of the right foods, but being able to review your intake makes it easier to make needed adjustments in your diet. I thought I was eating enough of the right foods but was really lacking in getting enough fruits for the day. It sounds time consuming but only takes a few minutes of your time. I also keep a record of my exercise for how long and what kind I was doing because I very them from day to day. But always try to keep the www posture and sit on the toilet correctly by leaning forward. I hope this might help you along with all the other advice you will receive from this great site.

I've wondered about the same thing Ozmama, as it does seem that the longer between bms, the harder they are. I read up on here and decided that it was better not to strain, and just wait until the next urge, which may not happen until the next day. In the mean time I stick to drinking plenty of water, leafy greens, fruit, grainy bread, all of the things that others have mentioned up thread. For me, once my body is in the swing of things, everything becomes quite regular. Then, as you say, a bit of stress, a day or two where the diet is not quite what it should be and everything seizes up again. But I have realized that once I've dealt with the stress and got my diet back on track, things do become regular again after a few days. Hope this helps!

If you ask me, it would be better to use an enema than to strain.

Side note: We've been juicing and man! well, let's just say you might want to start. I can not imagine anyone staying constipated whilst juicing.

Has anyone on this forum heard of the YES products. Its made in the UK and is all natural and organic. Has anyone tried this??? I am looking for a safe lubrication. If you have used this product or know anything about it - please let me know. Thanks !!

Jaylove

Thanks everyone for comments - you are all wonderfully helpful.
I am usually pretty good on diet...lots of fruit and veg. Very little carbs and red meat. I eat chai seeds everyday and take Natural calm every night. Eat pumpkin seeds everyday too...and brazil nuts. Very ocasioanlly a processed food like a meusli bar - but not now when i am needing to sort myself out. I also try to drink 8 glasses of water a day and either walk or go to the gym most days (if the two little ones permit!) - as an aside I find my light weights workout in WW posture makes my pop feel much better!. I could probably do with keeping a food diary as I've never successfully done one and it could be enlightening.
Sometimes I just seem to seize up and so far the only link i can see seems to be to stress.
Alemama - never used an enema but maybe I should have one ready for the next time I get in a bind (pun intended!). Also, what are you juicing and how often are you drinking it? I am guessing fruit and veg?

Hi Ozmama, I just read your post and sounds like you are totally on the right track. If you are drinking 8 glasses of water a day - that is great. I just make it to 6 glasses a day and then I feel like I constantly have to empty my bladder. How do you eat your Chia seeds??? I do eat Brazil nuts and walnuts but not pumpkin seeds. Does natural CALM help you???? I just bought a container of that at the Health Food Store. I agree with you though about the stress - I have bad days sometimes also and I couldn't figure out why. So maybe that is the thing that affects us. Anyhow just wanted to say that I think you are doing great. I'm also interested in Alemama's juicing. Glad you ask her. Hope your day is better today. Thinking of you.

Jaylove

Thanks Jaylove for you replies. Chia seeds - I did just sprinkle me on food but found I was getting a little bloated - then discovered it is best to pre-soak them so they don't use your own water supply to expand. At least that's what I've read....so I soak them overnight (they make a kind of gel) and then mix one or two tablespoons with water the next day and drink. Natural Calm has been a huge help for me (I am a bit of a stress-head so it's other benefits no doubt help me!) - but at the end of the day I do worry about it because essentially I am mostly taking it for its stool softening purposes. I feel better about taking that than anything else because it has so many other benefits but I would like to be able to cut back. I do find it hard to get my food and magnesium intake right - eg. This morning my bowels were too loose....which then gives me the problem that I find I don't evacuate properly and left feeling 'full' in my tummy. Ah the joys! Anyway, I am also hoping Alemama gets back to us on juicing as I am very interested - especially as I imagine it would have lots of health benefits. I sadly gave our juicer away a few years ago....so annoying. But if it is going to help me I'll find a way to get/buy another one.

Ozmama, How much Natural Calm do you take??? I hope you don't mind me asking. I'm not sure how much to start with. Your right about it having lots of benefits. The chia seed thing is interesting. I'm thinking about buying some. About your loose stools today - at least they were soft and you evacuated. Yesterday I can't even say mine were loose - it was more like diarrhea. No ryme or reason sometimes why my system works the way it does. I was a little stressed though. About the Juicer - I donot have one but I do have a Blender. I wonder if that would work. Maybe if Alemama replies about the juicing - I'll ask her. Hope you have a good day tomorrow. Jaylove

I was taking 1 heaped teaspoon but with my issues last week have been taking 2 heaped teaspoons. Always at night before bed. If you are just starting off take a small dose...then you can probably play around with it until it seems right. Take care!

Hi everyone, I thought I'd ask again about a product I found on the WEB_SITE called "Yes" product. I wanted to know if anyone has tried this product or has heard of it. It is all natural and organic. I need a lubrication that is safe. I think it will help me since I have such dryness from Menopause. My doctor wanted me to go on Premarin vaginal cream but I did research and feel it is not safe. I would appreciate anyones comments or advise or knowledge on this product. It would be good to know that it has helped someone on this forum. I feel that you all are my family because I have no support except of couse my Husband's. My daughter-in-laws (3) do not understand my situation and are really not interested in knowing about Whole Women. So I'm grateful to be able to come to this formum and not only share but listen to others who are in my same shoes and do understand. Thanks to all.

Jaylove

Hi everyone. I too have dealt with issues involving elimination my whole life. I found WW over a year ago when doing a search about constipation. Bought the book and did the self-diagnosis. I immediately thought my BM problems were due to a rectocele and possibly various other prolapses. The book and posts here scared me away from going to a urogynecologist. Not blaming anyone, but I read enough horror stories that I decided to stay away and try to deal with it myself.

After being asymptomatic for a while, I started having trouble moving my bowels again, despite having soft formed BMs every day. I kept feeling that I wasn't done, and it was very annoying and distracting. My doctor finally convinced me to see a urogyno, who was terrific. Explained everything really well, and gave me good news and bad news: it turned out I had almost no prolapse at all. He said my rectocele was very small, and was not causing my BM problems. Also, my connective tissue, pelvic floor, etc. were very strong and in good condition from doing pelvic floor exercises, especially yoga. The bad news was that I have a redundant sigmoid colon. That means that my sigmoid colon is unusually long and has also gotten stretched out over the years from all of my elimination problems. It makes it hard for me to empty my bowels, slows down transit time, and the sigmoid colon sometimes gets into my cul de sac, which apparently is also deeper than normal, although I may have been born with that, as my cervix and uterus are higher up than normal. The lump I sometimes felt in my vagina was not a rectocele, but this redundant colon. The urogyno sent me to a rectal surgeon, who will be doing a colonoscopy soon. Neither recommended surgery and both urged me to control my symptoms through diet, exercise and if necessary, Miralax.

So I just wanted everyone to know that there are some good doctors out there who are not anxious to unnecessarily remove our body parts. I'm glad I now know what is really going on for peace of mind, although it doesn't really change my regime very much. It is also a relief to know what ISN'T going on down there. I'm still glad I learned a lot about pelvic floor health so I can avoid problems in the future. I'm going to a yoga workshop about pelvic floor health with an expert from San Francisco soon and am looking forward to it.

Anders

Hi Anders and welcome to the forums. You might want to give Whole Woman a serious look. If your rectocele is small, and even if you have no discernible prolapse at all, postural alternations can help to keep it that way. This can also improve your overall health and well-being, especially relating to the hip joints. I have found over 2 years of practicing these principles, that my hips feel really stable and I stand up straight for the first time in my life! I am post-menopause and have no intention of following in my mother’s footsteps, not only with prolapse but with major life-altering hip issues.

WW posture is really just a return to natural female posture, which is still seen in children, less commercialized cultures, and really anywhere that the suck-it-the-gut-and-tuck-the-tailbone idea has not permeated. Please check out “Whole Woman 101” on the video tab above. Hope to see more of you here! - Surviving

I hope I didn't give the impression that I wasn't doing the WW stuff. I've been practicing the posture since reading the book. It is second nature most of the time. I've also explored some around the site. I've just been more of a reader than poster!

Given the hard time I've had getting properly diagnosed, which I think has finally happened after all these years, I just wanted to comment about my experience. I'm not against self-diagnosis, either. I've done a lot of it and discovered things the doctors didn't, but this time, the urogynecologist got it right, and found a condition I didn't know existed!

Anders

That is great to know, Anders! And yes, there was no way to know. Women sign up on this forum all the time, with comments and questions that show they haven't even remotely checked out the content of the site. So a little history is always helpful! I do see you mentioned having the book, but didn't comment on your experience and progress. Are you familiar with Christine's yoga video's and how they differ from what you may be taught by a PT or yoga instructor?

You are right, there are some practitioners out there who aren't just waiting to jump on your organs. But as Christine says about surgeons, "when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail". You sound like someone who brings a healthy skepticism into the office. Glad it turned out so well.

Hi Anders,

Your story sounds vaguely familiar, like a past member we knew with sigmoidocele, deep cul-de-sac, and who was also convinced yoga and pelvic floor strength would solve her issues.

"Redundant colon", just like "redundant vaginal wall" are common diagnoses from a urogynologic practice that views the symptom, and not the cause, as the problem.

Whole Woman promotes, and has always promoted, a professional diagnosis. Importantly, however, is the process of educating women so they are better able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Christine

The prolapse self exam is a tool much like the breast self exam. It's there for you, but if you suspect a problem it is important to see a midwife or doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Juicing- we've been juicing carrots, kale, apples, pears, strawberries, lettuce, mustard and collard greens
pretty much whatever we have! I can't decide if it's good or not for them to be pooping so much. If I back off the juice they slow back down to normal. No pain or cramping has been reported and no one complains at all...

alemama I love how you are always experimenting with healthy eating - but how in the world do you get the entire family, especially the kids, to happily go along for the ride? What about the school aged kids, how do you try to prevent or at least limit what they eat from the junk available at school? My oldest is nearly 5 and Im contemplating homeschooling just to protect her from all the crap foods available at schools here!

I'm still not sure I understand what a redundant colon really is, but hope I get a better explanation with my colonoscopy. I can't seem to find much about it on the internet. It sounds kind of like a sigmoidocele from a post I found on these forums. It seems like whatever it is, I need to keep the pipes running smoothly. I've been practicing firebreathing, wondering whether that will help or not. I've never heard of a redundant vaginal wall.

It seems I have been constipated all my life. I have a very slow intestinal tract which doesn't help. I know diet is part of it. When I am on the right kinds of foods what a difference that makes. Lots of fruit, vegetables and grains work, plus I keep herbal laxative tea in my cupboard always. Thank you UK for the tip on stewed fruits inbetween meals. I know what to eat, though I slip and eat food that taste so good, but cause the constipation. I am starting to listen to my body more, and it seems that when I haven't had a bowel movement in a day or two, my prolapse stays up more, and after I have the bowel movement, I can feel my bladder start to fall again. Not a good feeling. I was really scared to have sex after being diagnosed with my bladder prolapse (my Uterus is a little prolasped also) It wasn't painful at all until my uterus was hit a little hard. What a shock that was to my system. Thanks to an in-tune partner, the position was altered and it didn't hurt any longer. What I wanted to comment on is that after sex, my prolapse also stays up longer. Any explainations out there for this? With the WW exersises, sometimes I skip a day, and I can feel the difference, and when I get busy at work, I forget about the WW posture, and I end up feeling like I am sitting on a small ball. So I am beginning to see how important it is to do some or all of the exercises each day. I have read how walking is so benifical. I have started to walk, but only on a tread-mill. I live in an area were now the temperature are over 100*, so I don't go outside to walk. I don't feel I get the long stride motion on the treadmill. What are the benifits of the long strides compared to just walking on the treadmill?

hi Harrison

a fundamental part of ww work is that you don't let yourself get
constipated. constipation will worsen your prolapse. that is what appeals to me about ww work- you have to work on healing yourself from the inside out.

the reason you are more aware of your cystocele after a bm is probably because your full rectum had been holding up your bladder and now that your rectum is empty your bladder has lost that support. look up 'nature's pessary' in the search box for more info.  

louiseds has a lot of wonderful posts regarding sex and positioning- a search will keep you reading for hours! good luck.

Harrison, I do a lot of my walking on a treadmill, not just for reasons of convenience but also because it allows me to focus 1000% on every single aspect of my posture, no distractions whatever (otherwise it would be boring!).

I can get nice long strides on my treadmill, but it is a good-sized machine. If yours is too small to allow for that long stride, then you are better off walking somewhere else. - S60

Hi Harrison1, I needed to understand how the long stides while walking benefited me also. I found a past-post written by Christine explaining this. She said, "Take nice long relaxed strides leaving your back foot on the ground for as long as possible before lifting it. Keep belly relaxed and you chest raised. Raising chest will stretch your abdominal muscles out and make them tauter. Your Pelvic Floor will also tighten. This will also lift your Perineum. If there are any stretched nerves in there which are causing you discomfort it will help relieve that irritation. This also helps to stretch your Hip Flexors and pull your Lumbar Spine forward which will tilt your Pelvis Forward a bit and move your Pelvic Organs forward, where they are further away from your Vagina and better supported. Speed is not Important but Stretching out and Openig up, with Big movements are both Important factors." I copied this onto a index card so I could read it over and over. This got rid of my fear of walking and gave me the motivation to walk. I understood the importance of it. I did try this on a treadmill and like Surviving said, it works but I keep my speed down to slow. Maybe your treadmill is not big enough I don't know. I guess you'll just have to experiment a little. I hope this helps you like it has helped me. Also anyone out there that needs understanding of what Walking does for you hopefully this will help. Best of luck to you.

Hugs, Jaylove

Great quote Jaylove, thanks for sharing

Hi Anders

I have been studying a lot of anatomy texts during Wholewoman Teacher Training and discovered that there are many anatomical elements that have multiple names. Likewise I think many medical conditions have multiple names. I think redundant colon is also known as megacolon.

The multiple names are because they are descriptions of what is happening, or has happened, rather than a diagnosis which pinpoints the cause and where the prescribed treatment addresses that cause. Either of these names is the same as the doctor saying "Your poo tube is too big and it is not feeding into the rectum the proper way." I have found that many health practitioners tend to say, "Aha! I have at last found the cause", when in fact they have only identified another possible factor that nobody else had thought of. A condition like pelvic organ prolapse does not have one cause. For you pelvic organ prolapse symptoms have been the canary in the mine which has warned you that all is not well down there.

There are a myriad of factors that eventually break the camel's back, much like a dam burst which might be blamed on poor upper wall construction, when the causes are probably related to foundation design and construction, materials used, out of the ordinary rainfall, wear and tear / poor maintenance of the wall, poor control of when water is let out of the dam, etc. You can't say that the dam burst *because* the outside layer of rock was poorly compacted! It is far more complicated than that.

Rebuilding a dam wall is far easier and more effective than reducing your colon surgically, which will leave you scarred and with damaged connective tissue, which will compromise your internal structuring.

We know that Wholewoman posture will reposition your pelvic and abdominal organs, which seems to optimise their function, particularly the colon and rectum. We know that making the pelvic bones horizontal again makes the pelvic inlet almost vertical. We know that allowing extra space in the lower abdomen (by not sucking it in) gives the pelvic organs and small intestines more room at the front of the body.

We think this literally tips the colon out of the pelvic cavity like the contents of an egg shell tumbling out when we break it and tip the shell sideways to separate the yolk. This stretches the rectum out and unfolds it, so it is no longer squashed down in the pelvic cavity, and prevented from emptying effectively. It distributes the weight of the pelvic and abdominal cavities over the pubic bones, and further forward onto the lower abdomen. The secondary effect of all this organ moving is that the cul de sac, the cone of soft tissue covered by peritoneum where the colon descends into the pelvic cavity, is literally sucked forward out of the pelvic cavity and becomes negligible in size when the colon falls down this vertical membrane.

The cul de sac or Pouch of Douglas is a design feature of the membrane between the pelvic cavity and the abdominal cavity. It is cone-shaped, to allow the colon to move in and out of the pelvic cavity as it fills and empties, for the rectum to fill and empty, and to allow for the distension of the bladder and the growth and repositioning of the uterus during pregnancy. There is no longer a cul de sac in WW posture. There is no Pouch of Douglas (same thing, different name) in the standing woman. It only exists when she is lying down on an operating table or lying back in a chair with her pelvis tilted back and all the weight of her abdominal organs is directed into her pelvic cavity.

The Pouch of Douglas is a readily found navigational aid for surgeons when they are delving around in amongst the contents of a person's pelvic area which is pretty gooey and non-descript to the untrained eye, but highly complex in a structural sense. They can find their way to other structures, using the location of the Pouch of Douglas, and certain bone points and ligaments. Because it is so mobile it is easy to dissect through. Yuk. Just thinking about it makes me queezy.

I hope you will give your body a chance to rearrange itself by using Wholewoman posture and diet modification for 12 months or so. Hopefully, your less than perfect colon will then have a better chance of functioning optimally despite its size. Hey, who on this site has a perfect body????

Getting over colon surgery (which will involve a high infection risk and possibly some months with a colostomy or something similar, which will then need removing in another operation) isn't going to be a cake walk. I think I would try all other possible measures first. If it doesn't work, then you can still opt for surgery.

If you need further encouragement to avoid surgery I suggest that you research the suggested procedures first, and then put the surgeon through a thorough interrogation about what he wants to do, the risks and possible complications of the surgery and recovery. Surgeons will make light of any surgery. That's what their business is, selling surgery, whether or not the potential patient knows what they are in for.

Don't get me wrong. Surgery has its place and can be miraculous in its results, but mother nature is very clever and I don't think we should be altering her designs unnecessarily.

Louise

I haven't been on the forums for a while, as I've been super busy and traveling. I appreciate the great amount of information you provided, Louise. I'm having a colonoscopy this month, which will provide more information, but the doctor has already said that surgery is usually not a good option here anyway for some of the reasons you mention. I read your post from 2010 about sigmoidoceles, and thought probably the same applied here. Your post confirmed that. The biggest problem is with moving my bowels. The doctor said the colon gets in the way of the rectum, and is like a speed bump. As always, I try to keep things moving. I'll keep working on repositioning and hope it helps over the long term.
Anders