Endometriosis and constipation

endometriosis constipation

The topic of dealing with constipation combined with endometriosis is very close to the heart for many sufferers of endometriosis.

I have read many accounts of this problem at the Endo Resolved message board, and in the personal stories of endometriosis symptoms that women have submitted here at the website.

It is a subject that has also been very relevant for me. Over the years I tried every conceivable remedy to tackle this problem.

When I had endometriosis it was one of the symptoms that drove me to distraction. Not being able to move my bowels became almost obsessive.

That is because there is nothing worse than that bloated feeling, and feeling toxic with waste matter. And this was on top of the pain and discomfort that I used to get with endometriosis.

There was the pain from inflammation in the general pelvic cavity area, and pain/ discomfort caused by what I could only assume to be IBS.

In my desperate quest to keep my insides clean I tried herbal laxatives, over-the–counter laxatives, and various different ‘unctions’ and concoctions, most of which I cannot remember.


A woman’s issue


Now let’s face it – I think constipation is a ‘woman’s thing’. I have met many women who say they have problems in that department. My mother-in-law suffers it, various female friends and relatives too. I do not know why women should suffer this tedious affliction.


All I do know is two facts –

  • The female intestinal tract is shorter than a man’s
  • Women have very different hormones than men's - Aside from that I don’t know why women have it worse!!


Years of trying for a fix


Well, finding a fix for my own constipation has come about by doing plenty of reading … and then trying different things for myself.


What did I find out that made common sense! .....


That adding more fibre did not help. (I was on a pretty high fibre diet anyway when I did have endometriosis). This tip is ALWAYS recommended by doctors. It is the ‘pat phrase’. OK, so you take in more fibre usually in the form of non-soluble fibre – that is found in grains, pulses etc. And this gives you more bulk.

So what is going to happen ---> this extra non-soluble bulk is going to absorb water from your digestive tract ---> this then leads to a ‘drying out’ of your digestive tract ---> this then slows down the movement of waste matter ---> and the final result is a slower transit time, drier bowel motions, and difficulty passing those motions. RESULT ---> CONSTIPATION


Myth two … that drinking more fluid will help. This is supposed to hydrate the intestinal tract.

No …

Been there, done that, and spent every 40 minutes having a pee. So this tells me that the extra fluid is flushed by the kidneys and then to the bladder and then you go to the bathroom more to get rid of excess fluid. And there is no ‘tap’ direct from your mouth to you digestive tract. So extra fluid is not the answer.


OK – what is causing the problem and what is the answer?


  • Yes you do need extra fluid in the intestines. Magnesium helps to draw fluid INTO the gut and will help to soften the stools.
  • Extra Vitamin C will help as it has a mild laxative effect
  • And one of the biggest things that will help will be to take a probiotic every day of a decent strength. Probiotics will help to repair any damage done to the friendly bacteria in your gut.
  • Also, when you have a laparoscopy for endometriosis you will be given a bowel prep medication to take before the operation. This usually consists of a powder that cleans the out the gut … thoroughly!!! This will also strip out the good bacteria.
  • The friendly bacteria can be killed off by anti-biotics, stress, bad diet
  • Many women with endometriosis have been prescribed anti-biotics for the early mis-diagnosis of IBS, therefore the intake of these drugs will have undermined the health of the immune system even further
  • Taking good bacteria supplements will repair the balance and over time will eradicate the bad bacteria.
  • Most of these bacteria are found in the colon. It is estimated that together, all the bacteria in your gut weigh between three and five pounds. Each bowel movement contains a large amount of these critters, with one to two-thirds the dry weight of stool being solely bacteria. (1)
  • The gut flora actually works in concert with the immune system in order to help it grow and develop, and to help fight bacterial and other infections.
  • A whole host of health conditions can be traced back to poor gut ecology. Gut problems, including gas, bloating, constipation, Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ulcerative colitis can all be improved through a better gut ecosystem.(2)


Recent personal experience


My own history of constipation ultimately led to piles. I had an endoscopy for a quick examination to see the extent of the problem. The endoscopy procedure discovered I had 2 small bowel polyps (inherited from my Father!), and I had to return for a full blown colonoscopy.

I had to take the bowel prep powder in 2 doses, the day before the procedure. What a nightmare – my insides felt like thunder, tempest and storms were taking place. But I lived!!! – had the colonoscopy, the polyps removed and I thought that was that.

No .... I developed what can only be described as acute IBS, I was on the toilet on and off all day and was utterly FULL of wind. I realised what the problem was and got straight to the health shop and purchased a high strength probiotic.

It took a couple of months of taking the probiotic daily, but gradually the tempest settled and my gut returned to a quiet state. But I continue to take a milder dose to ensure a health gut.

AND taking a probiotic helps to keep my bowels regular as well as healthy.


To sum up


To help with constipation and have the added benefit of a healthy gut and immune system:


  • Take a magnesium supplement – experiment on the strength of dosage
  • A good quality probiotic – every day
  • Top up with extra vitamin C if you are feeling really clogged up!
  • Balance your intake of fibre between soluble and non-soluble fibre foods - the soluble fibre will help to keep you gut hydrated with fluid, while non-soluble fibre will absorb fluid and slow the transit of waste through your system



You do not need to be suffering this extra insult on top of all the other symptoms of endometriosis. When your gut is healthy, other improvements do tend to fall into place.


Note: Approximately 80% of your immune system is dependent on a healthy digestive system. And it is your immune system that will help you tackle endometriosis.


Also note: In healthy women who DO NOT HAVE ENDOMETRIOSIS – the immune system will mop up stray cells from the endometrium (which happens in a lot women) – the same cells that go on to cause endometriosis.


Question! – Why are doctors not looking into that one simple fact more closely? Because it does not ‘pay’ to treat people simply through diet, nutrition and gut health. Drugs and surgical procedures bring in the money.

So, if you are suffering the problem of constipation with endometriosis try the measures above, and try getting some relaxation/you time, and taking some light exercise will also help your digestion.


with healing thoughts .... and empathy

Carolyn


(1) Guarner F, Malagelada JR. Gut flora in health and disease. Lancet. 2003 Feb 8;361(9356):512-9.

(2) Guarner F, Malagelada JR. Role of bacteria in experimental colitis. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2003 Oct;17(5):793-804.


Return to Diet page HERE




› Constipation









Endo Resolved

aimed to provide advice in combination with motivation and hope









endo friends

Follow us on Facebook

Recommend on Google+