Can indigestion kill you? (You’ll never guess which royal died from constipation)

Can indigestion kill you? (You’ll never guess which royal died from constipation)
September 22, 2015 Duchess of Doo Doo

Dearest Digesters,

Indigestion is a killer. Yes, you read that right. Indigestion. More specifically constipation, CAN and if left unaddressed, will, KILL YOU. To illustrate this, I’ll recount a story of a king who famously died on the toilet. What you may not have known is that his cause of death was indigestion and not the other problems often blamed for his demise.

This potentially fatal issue must be treated with its just due of severity and addressed immediately as there is currently an epidemic of constipation. I believe that this is largely due to our attempts at being discreet and feeling shame over having bowel movements with others around or in public, meaning as we work longer and longer hours, we perceive ourselves to have fewer opportunities available to relieve the terrible strain on our gut. Add to this the factors of diet and our general disassociation from what is happening inside our bodies and you’ve got a literal high-pressure situation. I’ll touch on how lifestyle can contribute to these challenges and what simple changes you can make in order to clean up your diet to address constipation in another post.


Let’s focus on the important stuff! How can you die from constipation?

We’d best start at the beginning. How do we get constipated in the first place? It all starts with an unbalanced diet and the retraining of the sphincter. The retraining of the sphincter occurs as you continue to ignore your need to defecate and grows more severe the longer this pattern of behavior persists. Your sphincter, which is responsible for alerting your brain of your need to do the deed, becomes accustomed to receiving “no go” in response to its signals, and in time, it stops sending them altogether making it extremely difficult for you to initiate the nervous response that loosens your bowels. It’s like the reverse of “the boy who cried wolf”. Your anus is the village and the boy is the nervous system alerting the people of the impending wolf. Of course in this analogy, the boy is not making up the part of the incoming poop, I mean, wolf.

If you think you might be dealing with chronic constipation, there are some questions you can ask yourself which might lead to the adoption of healthier habits: are you getting enough fiber from the vegetables you eat? Are you ignoring the urge to go, retraining your sphincter to a point of potential ineffectuality? If you’re ignoring the urge to go, eventually it will cause your feces to become dehydrated in the colon (which is where we re-absorb some nutrients and water), eventually becoming so rock solid that it becomes more and more difficult to pass. In time, this leads to fecal impaction. That’s when your dehydrated turdlings becomes cemented inside your intestines because it is too dry to pass naturally. At this point many of the solutions available to you are going to be uncomfortable and may even be dangerous. This is why it is so important to do your daily doodie when your body is telling you to do it! If you’re nervous about potential embarrassment during public defecation, try the “life raft”— Drop two squares of toilet paper folded together into the bowel before you go. This will limit the potential for streaking and smearing of the porcelain and muffle potential splashing.
I think I’m constipated, what should I do about it so I don’t get to that point? As I said, it all starts with diet- your diet should be utilized as a tool to help you nourish your body, mind and spirit while simultaneously cultivating comfortable stool. If you need some recommendations in terms of identifying specific recipes, please email me and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Okay, so what? Some dried crap in your gut, how’s that going to kill you? Well, the steps leading up to death WILL take place if something isn’t done. This is why constipation, for even just a few days, should never be ignored. That dookie in your gut is full of junk and bacteria that your body so desperately needs to be rid of. Those bacteria and toxins in your stool begin to seep back into your body through the remnants of hydration as they leave the compacted feces through the wall of the colon. This is because it was never intended to be a storage space for your poop, but rather a passage for it as it leaves your body, a one-way transit system. In the beginning, this poisoning will only strain your immune system and cause minor cellular damage, but in time the bacteria will establish a foothold, multiply and elevate in levels throughout your body until they cause a whole body infection, called septicemia. Well, now you’re health is really in the toilet and you’ll need antibiotics to treat the infection – otherwise you’ll die. This is obviously far from ideal. Don’t even get me started on how the antibiotics will deplete your gut flora of good bacteria, setting you up for more indigestion and disease in the future.

Elvis in his prime

That’s not all. I haven’t gotten to the heart-breaking way in which The King died on the toilet. So, you’ve heard the rumors, right? I’m sure you have, and I am here to confirm it. The King of Rock and Roll, beloved Elvis Presley, died while trying his darndest to eliminate a massive load. Presley suffered from constipation for his entire life, I learned about this in a book called Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, which goes in depth into exactly how constipation killed The King. Here’s the part that I found incredibly interesting; Presley endured constipation most of his life, and not just at the end of it. This chronic condition is why he had such a distended gut in his later years and is what ultimately claimed his life, a tragedy that could have been avoided. As Presley’s career took off and he became a multi-media icon who travelled the world producing hit songs and iconic movies, he was all the while ignoring his bodily needs. Presley continued to suffer through bouts of constipation – often not clearing his bowels for long periods of time. Throughout this time, his colon became distended and weak and began to lose more and more function up until the point where he suffered from paralysis of the colon. After Presley died, his physician Dr. Nichopoulos, said the colon was double the length and about 3 inches wider in diameter than the average colon. Presley’s diet of junk food and use of some pills here and there, likely taken to help him cope some of the pain in his digestive system, combined to significantly tax his heart, preventing his system from functioning properly and exacerbating his constipation problem to a point of lethality. In fact, prescription medicines will often do one of two things in your gut: either they will cause you to have loose stool or hard stool, sometimes even making your digestion flux between the two, a roller-coaster of discomfort.

Elvis (center) with his doctor Nick Nichopoulos (back) taken shortly before his death

All of this led to that fateful day, when The King would pass away, instead of passing a bowel movement, on his porcelain throne. Presley had been backed up for awhile and desperately needed to make a move, and here is where all of Presley’s particulars combined to resolve his doom. When you are so backed up and pushing out such large mud pies, it takes a lot of effort. Have you ever lifted weights? You know when you exert that lift or push, how you hold you breath? That’s exactly what Presley was doing in his elimination process. He over-exerted his body in his desperate dash for doo discharge. When he was strained in holding his breath, the release caused an arrhythmia in his taxed and weakened heart. Now, it’s likely that he had suffered from these arrhythmia’s in the past, which had previously caused him to become light-headed or maybe even pass out, but not this time. This time his heart and brain crossed signals and ultimately they were unable to get his heart going again.
Let this be a warning to you! If you are EVER holding your breath to squeeze out a turd – don’t!

This is NOT what your face should look like while pooping

It’s a shame that Presley died in this way, but what is even more unfortunate is that he had to live in this way. He was likely carrying around MUCH more than an amorphous deposit the size of a chihuahua in his gut every day. I think it is especially sad when simple measures could have been put into place and saved him, even likely made him comfortable.

I don’t want this to happen to you, so I have 9 key tips to avoiding or relieving constipation.

Steps To Avoid Constipation:

  1. Eat a diet high in fiber. I don’t mean get your grain on, I mean eat your veggies! Mix it up with all varieties of onion, squashes (summer/winter), cruciferous, peas, peppers, eggplant, potatoes/roots, avocado, and tomatoes – tell me some of your favorites!
  2. Establish a routine. Me, I’m a morning pooper and I have my time set aside to do that. I also drink a tall glass of warm lemon water when I first wake up. This gets me hydrated and moves my digestion along. When do you usually notice your inclination to go?
  3. Relax & just go. If your time of day is to go while you are at work in a busy office, with a high traffic bathroom – you still have to do it! Find methods that will help you relax, whether it’s securing a deodorizer with you when you go, implementing the “life raft” or running water to drown out the noise. Do what you need to do to get the deed done! What are your best methods?
  4. Squat it up – yo! You may have heard the new craze these days, but it involves squatting to dejecta. I will write more on this later, but basically what you need to know is that your sphincter is in a cinched position until you can get your legs closer to your chest. This allows your colon to be a straight shoot for your poop.
  5. Get moving. You can walk, run, or do whatever it is you need to do to get your body in motion, if you do then you’ll notice your bowels will push things along as well.
  6. Stay hydrated through your food and drink. Consume real whole foods and take out the sugary beverages. This will help lubricate your alimentary trail and keep your fine tuned dung maker doing what it needs to doo.

Steps To Relieve Constipation:

This is for when all of the above had not helped you move your sweet brown cash money machine along. It is best not to rely on these for your daily doo doo. You should also consult with your practitioner before proceeding with any of the following. If you do not have someone, I suggest you find a functional medicine doctor, a naturopath, or a nutritional therapist who will work with your body naturally.
  1. Massage your gut. I see you giving me that weird look through the computer screen, but why not? Would you really resort to the relief points below without trying to massage your gut first? Yes, it does work! Just remember to be gentle and work against the flow of your colon (large intestines). You are going to start at the lower-left side of your abdomen (this is the part that connects to your rectum), and yes, you are working backwards. You want to gently disrupt the impaction. You will slowly massage your way up to under your rib cage, then work your way right, and then down to your lower-right side. This may not make any sense, so I highly recommend checking out this video: Massage for Constipation video
  2. An alternative to laxatives. Laxatives are full of artificial and processed junk. I would stay away from them no matter what. Magnesium is a great solution for when you can’t seem to get going. Personally, I have taken Mag 07 in the past when needed.
  3. Water Enema. If you have never done this before, it sounds crazy. I know – I’ve been there. I didn’t understand how it could be safe or effective. I know just even mentioning this right now will turn away readers because many of us have some degree of disassociation with our bodies and how they function. Please hear me out on this, as I myself was initially uncomfortable and skeptical about adopting this treatment. I want to be clear that I am only suggesting this when you have not gone in days and there is potential for toxic build up in your gut. This method is way more effective and safe than any artificially derived laxative will be and you’ll be so thankful for the gut relief.

Thank you so much for taking time to read today. I truly believe this information could help you in your diligent doo’s. Did you find this information helpful? Did something speak to you specifically? Did you have that “ah-ha!” moment? Or do you have questions and want to know more? Please share with me in the comments below.

Diligently yours,
Duchess Doo Doo

Note that there are a couple referral links in this post. These simply link to Amazon in case you are interested in the product I mention. These funds will go to financing the time I put into writing blog articles and to research materials to learn about more crappy things for your enjoyment! You don’t have to use these links, but if you do, please know that it is much appreciated.

Comments (3)

  1. Dawn Little 2 years ago

    LOVE IT!!!!! I was practically born constipated (just ask my mom, some of her favorite stories to embarrass me involve that lol). I had lived with it so long I just thought it was normal. Heck- my mom was too, so I must be lol. Sad thing is it is so common that it is "the norm" Since cleaning up my diet I have learned I was in error – in fact I've finally gotten to the point I rarely get constipated when traveling anymore. Your avoidance steps are all part of my lifestyle now – and I know which foods to up when I need an extra boost. A quarterly cleanse helps as well (a gentle, herbal cleanse – nothing that disrupts life).

  2. Duchess Doo Doo 2 years ago

    Hi Dawn! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. Isn't it great to be in control on your body and how often you poop? Constipation is such a feeling of helplessness!! I would love to hear which foods you consume to get that extra boost! Find me on twitter and facebook 😀


  1. […] the last couple months I have discussed the connection between my mind and gut, constipation and how it could kill you, and 4 ways to improve your digestion without changing what you are eating and many of you […]

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