In keeping with our last two posts on bowel health, let’s explore common signs and symptoms that indicate there might be impending problems. Common signs are acute pain, blood in the stool, constipation, diarrhoea and frequent, and incomplete bowel emptying. Let’s explore these common signs further:
- Constipation – Sale of laxatives is a multi-billion dollar business in the West, a sign that constipation or difficulty in evacuation is alive and well! Why is this so? Unwise eating habits: regular consumption of calorie-rich fast foods that are nutrient-poor and stripped of fibre. Highly processed convenience foods are not suitable for promoting health and well-being. How much raw foods are you having in your diet daily? I suggest at least a serve at each meal. For instance, an apple with a fresh fruit and/or vegetable juice for breakfast. A large portion of vegetable salad or lentils for lunch and dinner. If you are too busy to do anything else at least do yourself a favour and have just that.
- Acute pain – due to inflammatory conditions like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or stress-induced irritable bowel syndrome. Intestinal obstruction and abdominal distension are also possible causes of pain. This can be due to tumour or adhesions.
- Blood in stools – hemorrhoids, they are literally varicose veins in the anus leading to rectal pain, bleeding and even itching. These veins swell from the increase in pressure within them, e.g. quite common in pregnant women from foetal pressure. Painful fissures and cracks form in the anus due to persistant straining sometimes from incomplete evacuation.
- Diarrhoea – frequent passage of watery stools! Commonly due to viral infecion, food poisoning, parasites, stress, adverse food allergy, alcohol, excessive vitamin C use and some medication.
Any of these signs or combination of symptoms can be yellow or red flags. You should sit up and take note before they cry foul!