The Mysteries of the Colon
Listen, no one really wants to discuss such a stinky subject, right? But the truth is, women fight with their colons all the time. The problem is, we don’t realize it. In fact, in many ways, we’re a little obsessed with it.
We complain when we’re bloated. We talk about cleansing it. We grumble about it when our bellies are making moans and groans we don’t recognize. And we take probiotics to try and keep it all on track.
For people that don’t like to discuss our colons, we sure spend a lot of time thinking about it.
I actually didn’t pay much attention to my own colon until my toddler started having constipation issues. Then, suddenly, I was colon-obsessed. I was trying to figure out what to feed her, how often she should be using the bathroom, and when to call the doctor.
Turns out, I was doing everything right … she eats lots of fiber, drinks lots of water, and she’s very active. After eliminating several food groups, we finally tried a kid-friendly probiotic and suddenly things got much better.
But as adults, not being able to go can be a sign of something else. First, we need to understand how it works.
Essentially, your colon’s job is to get rid of whatever is left over after your small intestine soaks up all the nutrients from the food you consume. It also happens to be where anywhere between two and six pounds of bacteria live … good bacteria, the kind that keeps you healthy and happy. Sounds simple, right?
Here’s the problem: a lot of what we eat these days is anything BUT nutritious. In fact, unless you eat a “clean” diet, you’re inevitably putting stuff in your system that will throw off the balance of your colon. That leads to trouble in the bathroom as well as bloating and a general “blerg” feeling.
Can a probiotic help? Absolutely. As can changing your diet and increasing your water intake. But remember, if you notice any changes in your stool (such as color or frequency of how often you’re going), you need to talk to your doctor. You could have a blockage, a polyp, or even bleeding.
And though a colonoscopy is not exactly fun, it’s necessary if you have a family history of cancer or your doctor feels you may indeed have a blockage of sorts. Better safe than sorry.
photo credit: flickr/vapours