Thursday, October 21, 2010

IBS, a Distressing Situation

IBS,  (irritable bowel syndrome), is the number one cause of work absenteeism in America.  This is understandable considering that the symptoms can be very uncomfortable and socially embarrassing.  Typically a person with IBS has constipation with alternating diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping along with gas and bloating.  When I was just 20 years old I was diagnosed with a spastic colon.  This was the diagnosis given 30 some years ago for what is now known as IBS.  Both terms actually describe the condition.  The colon’s peristaltic contractions that move waste along spasms hard and irregular compared to a healthy colon that has easier, consistent contractions.  The name IBS also defines the condition because the colon is actually irritated.  The irritation causes it to spasm.  The key to correcting this problem lies in getting rid of the irritation.  To accomplish this it is imperative to correct the ecology of the colon’s lining which should have a balance of about 80% friendly bacteria to 20% unfriendly bacteria.  It is normal for a healthy person to have some candida, a yeast form, amongst the unfriendly bacteria, but with those with IBS there is typically an over abundance of it.  To help those with IBS it is necessary to remove excess unfriendly bacteria and candida and replace it with friendly bacteria.  This is why colonics play a key role in achieving this.  Through the use of gentle clean water a colonic can soften old waste and mucous allowing for it to be released.  It is important for the therapist to use warmer water with a person with IBS since warm water relaxes the colon while cooler water, even a difference of 4 degrees, can cause the colon to contract.  In a person with IBS these contractions turn into spasms and would make the person uncomfortable and the colonic unproductive.

It is very important that friendly bacteria are increased by taking refrigerated probiotics several times a day.  Over the years of working with clients with IBS it is very common that the person can trace their problems back to a time period when they had several antibiotics over a short period of time.  Sometimes, as was my case, the constipation started as a young child after several courses of antibiotics.  Antibiotics kill friendly bacteria as they are targeting specific bad bacteria.  This is why it is important to be prudent when taking antibiotics.  For more information read what the FDA and CDC have to say on the subject at the following web addresses.

Many people feel that when they have diarrhea they no longer have waste remaining in their colon.  This is far from the truth, especially in a person with IBS.  If a person were to get food poisoning they would experience diarrhea as a way for the body to quickly expel the poison.  But with a person with IBS, their bouts of diarrhea shows urgency for the bowel to expel toxicity yet the diarrhea is not effective in accomplishing this or otherwise the diarrhea would stop as it does with typical food poisoning.  The diarrhea is actually newer waste that has not had the proper transit time to allow the colon to remove valuable electrolytes and nutrients.  The thinner diarrhea passes past harder older stools as it rushes in urgency due to the mixing of new waste with toxic old matter in the colon.  This urgency also causes the uncomfortable spasms.  To help you understand this, picture a glass full of rocks.  If you added water it would naturally trickle through the rocks to the bottom of the glass since it is thinner than the rocks.  The same is true in the colon.  Many of my clients with IBS as well as those experiencing chronic diarrhea are surprised to see how much hard, formed stools come out of them during their colonics.  These hard stools are old and thus they cause fermentation and putrification in the colon.  The result is gas that translates to bloating.  I have had clients that have actually passed out at work due to the pain from the gas and bloating before they met me.  I well remember how much pain I suffered constantly for years before colon therapy corrected my IBS.  I feel that having this experience helps me to empathize with my clients so that I am more understanding of their distress.

In addition to removing excess unfriendly bacteria and reintroducing friendly bacteria it is necessary to repair the gut lining.  L-Glutamine along with deglycyrrhizinated licorice, slippery elm bark and marshmallow root are excellent for accomplishing this.  I use one of two professional products.  One is G.I. Benefits by DaVinci Labs and the other is Glutagenics by Metagenics Professional products.

Over the years I have seen countless people with IBS.  Some had it at a lesser degree and others at a more severe degree.  One particular woman named Vicky suffered horribly.  My heart ached for her when I first met her two and a half years ago.  She had not had a bowel movement for a month yet just prior to that she had orange colored diarrhea for two days.  She found work to be unbearable but as a divorced mother of two and the only provider she went to work anyways.  The daily abdominal pain she dealt with along with severe acid reflux and migraines made her life miserable.  Her initial colonics were quite uncomfortable.  This is not common in my experience as a colon therapist, even with the average person with IBS.  By using warmer water and my closed gravity system most people tolerate my colonics quite well.  Vicky was far from average but she knew there were no other answers for her problem and she had to get better.  As is common with most IBS sufferers, she had an overgrowth of candida.  She needed to take a product to kill the candidiasis as well as go on a restricted yeast-free diet so as to not continue to feed it.  This process is much easier and way more successful when done in conjunction with colonics to allow for the quick removal of the dead or dying excess candida along with any old waste.  I have had many clients that before seeing me had taken various products to kill candidiasis and followed the yeast-free restricted diet but with no lasting success because there was limited removal of the old waste and excess candida.  When they did this along with colon therapy they finally achieved success.

Vicky also needed to add digestive enzymes to help with the digestion of her food in the small intestine as well as hydrochloric acid to help with digestion in her stomach.  Often people have acid reflux due to lack of acid in the stomach causing the stomach to hold its contents too long allowing for the acid to travel up the esophagus.  Additionally, since the stomach lies just above the transverse section of the colon that goes across from right to left near the navel, constipation and/or gas can push pressure upwards towards the stomach also causing acid to go up the esophagus.  By eliminating the gas and the cause of the gas, constipated waste, the pressure is relieved and acid reflux often goes away.  So between adding hydrochloric acid to her stomach, during or after a meal, never before, and eliminating the constipation through colonics, Vicky’s acid reflux disappeared.

It would seem that adding a stimulant would help a person with constipation, but in actuality stimulants make the colon lazier and cause the constipation to worsen in the long run.  With those with IBS it is extremely critical that they avoid all stimulants, including caffeine products, because their colons are already over stimulated as expressed with the spasms they experience.  I have found, as in the case of Vicky, that drinking an herbal relaxant, chamomile tea, will help relax the colon from the spasms and allow for easier elimination.  

After several months of regular treatments Vicky had great improvement of all of her problems. I now see Vicky on a maintenance schedule.  She rarely has any migraines and if she does they are much milder.  Her IBS is under control as she has daily bowel movements as well as no more abdominal pain.  Vicky was one of my greater challenges in my 21 years as a colon therapist.  The best reward is to be able to help change the life of a very deserving person, one that I now call my friend.

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