Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Masters of Counselling & Psychotherapy UofA
Member of the ACA College of Supervisors
Level 3 Member Australian Counselling Association
There are many health topics that we find very easy to talk about and there are some that we would rather not mention. The humble bowel I believe is one of those topics that do not get a lot of air time. So today I am going to advocate for the bowel, and explain why we need to start taking a little better care of our often ignored friend.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net
Your bowel plays a pivotal role in your digestive health and ultimate feeling of well being. The problem is because the bowel and its movements are not considered socially acceptable topics, we don't have opportunity for comparison. Therefore we are left with no concept of what is 'normal'.
I don't want to cause alarm just an increased awareness. Due to the stresses and fluctuations in every day life the occasional bout of constipation is normal. There are several indications which mean it is time to go to a health professional and have a chat about how you and your bowel are getting on at the moment.
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If you are experiencing any of the following it would be advisable to make an appointment and ensure everything is functioning well:
sharp pain or bleeding when trying to use your bowels
urge to move your bowels but you are unable to
existing conditions which may be causing the issue with your bowels such as pregnancy or diabetes
the sensation for 25% of the time that you haven't been able to complete your bowel motion
have a sensation of blockage
you have fewer than three bowel motions in a week regularly
constant pain and cramping, feeling bloated and distended
loss of appetite
blood in your stool
These are symptoms that may mean nothing or they could be indicators of such issues as Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, ulcers, colitis, gastroenteritis, and some forms of cancer.
Image courtesy ofJulienTromeur/freeimages.com
This is not meant to alarm or distress you, it is a simple reminder to not let your embarrassment over discussing such a topic be reason not to get a regular health check.
When our bowel is functioning as it should, it is clearly evident in how we look and feel. Our skin is clear, our energy levels are right and we are able to think clearly.
The way I see it, a moment of discomfort during a chat with a professional is worth it if it helps you achieve a life time of good health.
Oh, and don't forget to send your bowel some love - it is working hard to keep you well. Plenty of good food, exercise, water and fresh air all contribute to a happy bowel.