I want to tell you a story about myself. Like many of you, I grew up in a world where my family shied away from the delicate discussion of our daily doo doo. This was unfortunate because, dear readers, I had pooping problems.
I’m not exactly sure when it all began, although I have some theories I’ll discuss in later posts, but I remember clearly how immediately after consuming some delicious ice cream I would need to make a quick exit to the toilet, even though I had JUST returned from trying eliminate whatever was bothering my sensitive system. From the bliss of a frozen treat to tortuous butt-blasts in mere moments! It felt like daggers were attacking my gut and I would pray desperately for the pain to end. As the years passed I began to piece together that these blitzes to the bathroom usually followed my consumption of dairy. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I finally diagnosed myself as lactose intolerant, something that was eventually confirmed by a doctor, though her test was merely “Do you get sick after eating dairy? Oh okay, yeah, you’re probably lactose intolerant.” It took even longer for me to determine that I not only needed to cease consuming milk, but any of its counterparts from cheese to chocolate.
It was a strange and confusing time in my life and no one around me was talking about digestive issues, so I assumed that dealing with discomfort of this sort was ordinary. Even as the pain grew steadily worse I was too embarrassed to engage in conversation or seek help with those around me. At times when I tried to bring it up, I was told it was because of the “sin” in my life that I would feel sick after certain meals. No… it’s because the chicken was covered in ranch dressing! Not because I took a long trip out of town to make out with a college boy. I tried lactase enzyme pills for a time, so I could continue my dairy habit, but ultimately it didn’t work and I would inevitably feel sick.
The pain, the discomfort, the embarrassment…their constancy was oppressive and in time they gained a degree of mastery over me. Even now, I feel the inclination to shy away from some of the details because I worry about what people will think, but ultimately this is counter-intuitive to what we are here to do, what we NEED to do: we are here to get down to the dirty, to disclose what is actually happening in our bodies, so we can transcend turd taboos and transform our world into an honest and loving place where we can tend to each other’s guts, and in the process each other’s spirits. So on we go…
The sweats. The sweats were the worst part and they would always come on first. I would feel the churning in my gut, developed a nervous twitch and bounced my legs and squirming to try and hide the noise and discomfort of my gut. At times I would suffer from lesions in my rectum (#realtalk) and what I could only imagine was some form of hemorrhoids. There was no one in my life to talk with about this. My family and friends never discussed “butt stuff”. Who would dare chat about that? These aren’t the people who want to hear about your anus, especially the painful and potentially hazardous issues you’re having with it.
Well, you’ve read this far, so you must want to know something of my experience and how my situation improved. Thanks! It is my hope that what I have learned through my own distress can help you through your digestive woes. You’re in luck, as that is exactly what I plan on doing. If you’ll go on this journey with me, next time I will be talking about some specific embarrassing moments when some of my doo doo disasters got in the way of me living my best life, plus I’ll delve into some of the ways our mooky stinks can affect our psychology and physiology.
Now I know many of you are coming to this blog from the community I am cultivating out there on Twitter. I’ve quickly come to know several people with IBDs (Irritable Bowel Diseases) of all kinds, incontinence (the inability to control urinary and/or bowel eliminations), and some people who generally have never had to have a need or care for what their bowel movements are like (because they aren’t bad – not to say they’re good or healthy, but they haven’t been wretchedly life altering). When it comes to the people who haven’t had to pay attention to their poops, I am super glad for you and I hope you never will, but you still may want to continue reading what I publish to see if there’s potential for improvement in your digestive health. For my incontinent readers, thank you so much for speaking with me and informing me on what your lives are like – I was so completely unaware of the depth of your daily hardships until I started this journey. Dearest IBD lifers, believe me when I say that I want to know more. I know this is a hard thing sometimes to talk about openly, but I want to better understand. I have several relatives who suffer from IBD and I’m so confused by how they lead their lives. For me, when I began having severe bowel issues, the first thing I did was to try to determine if it was something I was eating. Once I felt I had narrowed it down, I worked hard to eliminate that from my life. Now, change in gut health does not take place overnight and the solutions I applied to myself were not completely clear-cut or absolute. I was still sick for years to come, but I knew something had to be done and that was my first step. So, forgive me as I ask, but why don’t more people who suffer from IBS (or YOU if you suffer!) take action when it comes to what they eat? Have you tried? How did it go? If you stopped trying, why did you stop? What is your biggest deterrent when it comes to altering what you consume and in changing the habits in your life? I want to know, to understand, and if possible, to help.
Again, I apologize for getting derailed, but I’ve been stunned by some of my early discoveries as I diligently explore and study the digestive process in search of a greater understanding it all and what it’s like for people all over this world to poop. I’m grateful for everyone who has taken time to tweet with me and read my blog so far. Thank you for being proactive in taking this journey with me.
Before I go, I want to list some dangerous digestive and alimentary trail issues that you shouldn’t be ignoring. Just so you know, the alimentary trail begins at your mouth and goes through your entire body before ending with your anus. Our digestion process is so much more than just the colon and the elimination process. It is an emotional and even psychological process (more on that in my next post), which can actually alter our bowel movements.
Here are some of the many issues you should never ignore:
- Burping within an hour of eating
- Halitosis (Bad Breath)
- Stomach ache/cramps
- Bloating within an hour of eating
- Heartburn, Acid Reflux
- Pain between your shoulder blades / tightness of the spine
- A sense of excess fullness after meals
- Extreme exhaustion after meals
- Gallbladder pains (under the right side of your rib cage)
- Less than one bowel movement per day
- Excessive foul smelling gas / hot gas
- Gas within one hour of eating
- Chronic diarrhea
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis, Gluten Sensitivity, Cystic Fibrosis
- Blood or mucus in your stool
- Undigested food in stool
- Light or clay colored stools (or any color that is not brown!)
- Itchy anus
I’ve learned to recognize these symptoms through the work I have done with my personal health advisors and nutritional therapist. I will expand more on this in upcoming posts. You wouldn’t believe how many of the issues above I had before I did away with my anxieties and began determining my own future.
Now, I would love to hear from you! Did this post resonate with you or unlock some memory you’ve had of your pooping past? Do you experience any of the symptoms above? If so, leave a comment below and please share in as much detail as you’re comfortable. Through these stories that we share, we will begin to break down these stigmas surrounding our daily digestion. You can also send me a tweet. While you’re over there, please follow me for more turd bits of information on digestion health and how to have the best poop of your life!
Duchess of Doo Doo