WARNING: IMMATURE CONTENT!
Just kidding … sort of.
For those of you allergic to “too much information,” read no further.
I mean it!
OK. As you may remember, I’ve been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome since 1999. (Nope, I didn’t get to party like it was 1999!) Though I’ve had it at least since 1990. Mostly IBS-Diarrhea (IBS-D). But I didn’t get to see a truly helpful gastroenterologist until 2002 or so. He put me on high-fiber therapy, specifically fiber supplements (pills like Fibercon) and any other fiber I could cram into my eating habits.* Since then,
and here’s where it gets graphic,
sometimes when I’m on the toilet, I feel something hanging out of my bunghole, just taking its grand old time passing/dropping. Recently, with greatly increased soluble fiber dosage (Thanks, Heather, the acacia powder really does seem to help! [aka “gum arabic“]), sometimes I see whitish strings in my stools there in the bowl — too long to be worms, an inch or more — and eventually I solved the mystery of the hanging business by getting a fistful of TP and just grabbing what was hanging … and it was a rubbery/plasticky stretch of material that I could feel breaking stiffly just inside my anus, like there was more in there — definitely not a lifeform, Mr. Spock.
Well, I just got around to Googling “string in poop” (without quotes), hoping for some unvarnished, un-PC, honest, forthright discussion. And although Yahoo Answers isn’t necessarily C. Everett Koop, all told, several links seem to have the ring of truth in them, like this one, this one, this one, and this one. Could your gastrointestinal tract really do that to fiber, twist it and pound it into unrecognizability? Think about how long the tract would be all stretched out, like they say, and all the muscles squeezing and twisting, acids, weird and normal fluids and bacteria and other things you’re eating, fermentation, reactions … and I could see it. I may run it by my doc just to make sure, but I feel alot better about it just now, so much that I wanted to spread the word, because apparently I’m not alone! Even beyond Yahoo there was this page (text-search for “string” — quotes not necessary). In its basic nature, fiber is sort of waxy, hence I guess the occasional weird forms it gets metamorphosed into.
WHEW! Thank you, Jesus! Amen!
(*–Dietary fiber, to be clear, in light of what follows! However, he failed to differentiate between soluble and insoluble fiber. Most Americans trying to eat reasonably-healthily — not our traditional steak-and-potatoes — have no shortage of insoluble fiber in their diets: raw vegetables, even some cooked ones like broccoli, carrots, and other ‘yummy’ things like that. This is the kind that goes right through you. When you have IBS-D, you don’t wanna overdo that, though you shouldn’t go without it either, or so I’ve read, and so I do, mostly. [Screw whole grains!!] Soluble fiber isn’t greased lightning [correct spelling!], but goes slow enough to soak up all that excess fluid that otherwise sends you “running.” That’s what IBS-D’s need tons of: beans [they’re not just good for your heart], other fibery, mushy stuff like that, and other soluble fiber. Wikipedia is all over fiber.)
Sort of. In February I discovered what appears to have been initial published research from Egypt regarding bringing Irritable Bowel Syndrome under control with the help of a temporarily-implanted electrical stimulation device – in your abdomen, not up your butt! – similar to traditional heart pacemakers, more recently also being applied to the brain. That article was published in January 2003.
Today I located what appears to be the follow-up research they indicated, published at the end of ’04, sharpening and confirming their technique, and now recommending it for treatment “when other measures have failed to cure the condition.” (Why wait?!!! I’ve had this going on 20 years!!!)
This is the latest which leading IBS patient-expert Heather Van Vorous has on it there, so again one wonders, did something derail this, or is it making its way through regulatory approvals in Europe or something? I don’t have access to their full article, so if there’s info there, I don’t have it.
I thought I posted about this a long time ago, but apparently not. A few years ago the maker of Kaopectate took out the kaolin and pectin that gave the name to this old, effective anti-diarrhea product. Instead they put in Bismuth salicylate, better known as Pepto-Bismol … but they kept the Kaopectate name!!! Even my doctor was pee’d! (I have IBS-Diarrhea, remember.)
On the Web there were suggestions about making your own concoction with clay and chalk, but with all the runs I already get, I wasn’t gonna risk all the little bugs you can get in there! This in part led me to Paregoric, as I’ve said, which is a huge help, but not perfect.
There oughta be a law against such blatant deception in business / advertising by one of our sovereigns’ (States) corporations.
In August ’03 my GP put me on Paregoric for my Diarrhea-predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome (aka Spastic Colon). I started out on just one teaspoon (5 milliliters/cc’s) per day, and it worked for some months – I forget how long exactly – although it took a while to stop doing the job too well, as I’ve said! But eventually its efficacy declined so much I needed two teaspoons (10 ml, mL, or cc’s). And around the end of 2007 I had to increase to 3. I’m starting to wonder, because I’ve read that the medical community doesn’t like to Rx more than 4 a day because of the risk of side-effects, including dangerous respiratory depression.
I may look into other things, non-opiates. I hear lots of good things about this hypnotherapy program….
(Oh, and the Naltrexone researchers stopped their research. Seems they couldn’t reproduce the initial seemingly-miraculous results. That happens sometimes in drug trials. Too bad.)
When your heart acts up, sometimes implanting a device that delivers occasional electrical shocks to it gets it to “straighten up and fly right.” More recently they’ve been putting them in people’s brains for things like epilepsy. What about what we used to call “spastic colon”?
Turns out they’re working on it (PDF)! Muscles do what they do in response to electrical impulses from the nervous system. Some researchers believe that in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, haywire impulses cause the muscles of the colon to act up, messing with how quickly or smoothly your fecal matter moves through, bringing on constipation and/or diarrhea, and the other symptoms. They also believe they’ve helped IBS patients to manually administer helpful shocks to the end of their colons – the sigmoid colon – that restored normal function!
Since this report was published a few years ago, I’m surprised I haven’t come across it before now. Maybe that means it didn’t pan out, or that it’s still in the pipeline, so to speak. Contrary to what we’ve heard sometimes more recently, it can still take years for research to result in “approved” treatments … especially for IBS in the U.S., which isn’t taken as seriously here as in Canada or Europe. 😦