Sunday, 8 September 2013

Adventures in Digestive Wellness

I remember my first sick day off school when I was 5 years old. I was heavily constipation and bent over in pain. My poor mother was trying to console me and coax me ‘to go’ but nothing was moving. She went to the pharmacy and came back with a suppository. I wasn’t happy about where it had to go but I was reassured it would work. That was the easy part – then my poor Mum had to sit with me while I was begging her to let me go to the bathroom. “You have to wait 10 minutes Kristi or it won’t work sweetheart” she repeated over and over. Finally time was up and I burst towards the bathroom for a small amount of relief. That was my first traumatic experience in what can go wrong.

I’ve always been good about my diet, eating all the things I ‘should’ and more often than not I was the healthiest person anybody knew, yet still the problems persisted. From the age I was old enough to understand pills and supplements up until just recently I’ve always had to take something to calm my stomach and help things move. I used to put it down to a ‘weak’ digestive system and my experiences with an eating disorder at a young age that left my digestive system a bit ‘sensitive’. I told myself that for 20 years.


I was living with a whole host of symptoms that affected me daily when I didn’t need to. I was always at the store finding something new or adding and changing things in my diet. Sometimes it was kind of fun other times not. Like when you’re camping in the bush alone and take a few too many laxatives – not so fun. Or when you are in Thailand trying to find an herb when you can’t express yourself in a second language – pretty risky. Or having to have weekly colonics just to get rid of constant cramping in your gut – expensive. Or not being able to do dinners and lunches with your friends – isolating. But this was the reality I’d gotten used to, I did my best to joke about it but after so many years it really does bring you down.

All the doctors I saw just gave me a new laxative and asked if I was drinking enough water. The naturopaths enquired a little about my diet, never had anything to add then sent me home with a week’s rent worth of supplements. After my health fell apart this year I knew deep down that there was something bigger at the root of my life long suffering. I started the search again, initially getting the same opinions from doctors and naturopaths until I stumbled upon a practitioner who did something useful – he sent me off for a stool test! What came back grossed me out a bit but didn’t surprise me:

- 2 Parasites, 1 being Blastocystis Hominis which is known to be a factor in IBS symptoms
- A bacterial infection, Helicobactor Pylori
- Candida Overgrowth
- Leaky Gut

I’d done a stool test 3 times before with doctors but it was just nowhere comprehensive enough to show anything. I’d also had the Helicobactor Pylori breath test which came back negative (it only shows active action in the stomach). It’s hard to tell which came first but its undeniable that they all had their own little eco system going on and they wanted me to stay out of it! I’ve slowly starting eradicating what I can with antibiotics and then it’s on to mega gut healing protocol with diet, supplements and lifestyle.

My most massive lesson here has been that when the digestive system is out of balance through inappropriate patterns in diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, life enjoyment, career fulfilment, genetic predisposition and relationship satisfaction all manner of things can and usually go wrong… It’s not just what you put in your mouth. Over the next few posts I’ll be exploring these ideas.


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