Fun with Feces

by Christine on May 19th, 2010

filed under Gastric Banding Surgery, General Information

Beans, beans, the magical fruit! The more you eat 'em, the more you...well, you know...Well, the last few days I have been trying to break out of my introverted little web-shell and share my blog with some “real life” people.  So…welcome to Art, Julie, Kate, Kimmy, Melissa, Lindsey, and Rob!  Hello as well to Ashley, a fellow gastric-bander that has recently decided to take the plunge into weight-loss surgery! Also, a special thank you for MizFit (blog here) for stopping by!

Whew. So there’s a few people I’ve reached out to.  So far my world hasn’t crumbled down around me. Impressive.

So…now that I’ve invited some personal friends of mine here, I figured I’d talk about something…personal.  I want to talk about poop.

POOP!!! You heard me!

Everyone poops! It shouldn’t be something that is so awkward to talk about. Hell, Jack Sh*t (blog here) couldn’t resist mention being a candy-ass on Facebook yesterday, and Mrs.Fatass’ tale of the Great Rupturing Roid (Blog here) had me crying at my desk from laughing so hard.  So I figured I’d join the group and talk about something that’s been bothering me for a while now.

I don’t poop enough.

How much is “enough?” Most sources say that one bowel movement per day is ideal. The National Institute for Diabetes, Kidney, and Digestive Diseases says that an average person should poop three times a week. However, Ayurveda says that once per day is ideal.  Some advocate for more potty-time.  But me? I poo only once or twice a week. And when it finally happens, it’s usually uncomfortable.

So how does this shit happen? Constipation can occur for many reason: stress, lack of exercise, artificial sweeteners, and a diet lacking in fiber. In my case, constipation is a common long-term side-effect gastric banding surgery. However, I think I could eat more fiber in my diet to encourage things to move along.

Because I seem to be crap-deficient, I’ve been relying on over-the-counter pills found at the pharmacy to help, ahem, relieve me of this issue. However, most of those items contain an ingredient called senna. While senna is a natural ingredient and isn’t bad on its own, overuse of senna can cause damage to the colon and rectum. Plus, your stomach gets used to the senna and requires a larger and larger dose in order to be effective.  (Senna has dangerous drug interactions, so beware if you’re using it with asprin, lasix, Lexapro, milk of magnesia, prilosec, and Tylenol.)  Using too much can cause some serious cramping and unpleasantness, too.

So what are some good home remedies to make sure I (or you) get a regular poo?

Home Remedies for Constipation

  • Eating lots of fiber in your diet (20-35 g per day is recommended)
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Psyllium-based products (psyllium is a natural fiber)
  • Dates and raisins and sundried tomatoes
  • Fruits and veggies such as apples, bananas, raisins, rhubarb
  • Beans!
  • Blackstrap molasses and honey (use sparingly; this stuff is high in calories)
  • Half a cup of cabbage juice taken twice daily
  • ¼ teaspoon of Epsom salt with ½ a glass of water to drink.
  • 2-4 teaspoons of castor oil
  • Carrot juice blended with spinach juice
  • 1 teaspoon of linseed oil taken with water before each meal
  • Sesame seeds
  • Cut back on refined foods

I will be making a run to the grocery store tonight and hopefully can stock up on a few of these items.

What do you do to keep yourself regular? Post below and let me know!

One of my most embarrassing poo moments:

In my last job, I was the Director of Marketing for an architecture/engineering firm.  The firm’s principals decided to meet to lay out the direction the company wanted to move in for the next five years. This was a bold move: they were a medium-sized firm with zero direction whatsoever. The strategic planning session was to take place over a four day period out of town. All the owners were invited….and me. I wasn’t an owner, and I was the only non-owner invited. I was honored to be invited!

I had spent the weekend camping with friends. I had only a few hours at home to unpack my camping items, then repack a series of business suits for my week away. I was nervous but excited about taking part in the process, and I was doubly-excited about what this invite could be saying. Do they want to invite me to be an Associate, I wondered?

Bathroom StallIt was a four hour drive to get to Buffalo. The next day, at 8 a.m., we met at the hotel conference room. Just the owners and me. About 10 a.m. I noticed something was wrong. I was cramping and in pain. I slipped out the door during a seminar (how rude!) and had the most explosive diarrhea.  I crept back into the seminar room, but not 15 minutes later I needed to sneak back out again. This continued for at least two more hours. The cramping was excruciating! What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t keep interrupting the seminar – the company president and vice-president were giving me nasty looks from across the room! However, I couldn’t abandon the meeting and go up to my room, not after getting an invite like that.

I went next door to the hotel to the pharmacy and bought every “stop-pooping-now” pill I could find and took them all. It didn’t help. At lunchtime I pulled the moderator over to let him know what was going on and to apologize for the disruption. He recommended that I move closer to the door, which I did. For the rest of that day I kept racing out of the room to the bathroom! I had pissed off everyone in the room by that point, but I was determined to be a part of the meeting, dammit! I cried on the potty, half from the pain and half from screwing up what seemed like a golden opportunity.

I skipped the fancy dinner that night, and the next day was marginally better, but not by much. I was dehydrated and weak. I almost fell over once when I edged my way out of the room!  The four-hour drive home was hell.

As it turns out, apparently I had eaten some Topps hamburger meat infected with E-Coli while I was camping! The recall notice was sitting on the counter when I returned home. I had never had food poisoning before (well, not that I knew of) and boy, that was unpleasant!

I wish I could say that the incident passed without retribution from the firm’s principals, but I think my body was trying to tell me something about the way in which the company conducted business. Shitty. Next time I think I’ll listen to the hidden message while counting holes in the drop-down ceiling tiles in the bathroom.

Fun Mr. Hanky Myths and Strangeties:

Floating poop. One of the biggest myths that have been going around forums that I have been involved in is that floating poop is caused when the body releases fat from your body. That fat is released in your poop, and it floats! Therefore floating poop = losing fat!  Unfortunately floaters don’t typically work that way. Some people with diseases such as cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, etc. may have fat content in their poo, but for most healthy people this is not the case. It’s actually trapped gas that causes most poo to float! Dietary changes can lead to increased amounts of gas (produced by those nasty bacteria).  Actually if you have floaters for more than two weeks, you may have some kind of gastrointenstinal tract infection, so give your doctor a call.

Orange poop. If you have orange poop, you may have been eating a lot of beta carotene (commonly found in carrots), or you have been eating something with a lot of orange food coloring. You may have also contracted a (relatively harmless) bacteria that might present itself by coloring your poo.  In rare cases, orange poo could be indicative of bigger problems, such as liver damage or hepatitis (caused by alcohol abuse) or may be caused if you are on chemotherapy.

Green poop: Babies often have green poop when they are given food for the first time. Children may have green or blue poop from certain illnesses or from ingesting food colorings. Adults may also have green poop if they eat large amounts of green, leafy vegetables or if they eat large amounts of foods with green food coloring. Light green poop may indicate excessive sugar in the diet or could be caused by excess iron. Green feces can also occur with diarrhea if bile salts pass through the intestine unchanged. Green poop can also be caused by blue food dyes (drinking too much blue kool-aid, popsicles, Jell-O, etc.) In very rare cases, green poop can be an indication of salmonella poisoning.

Two fun poop-related sites!

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