About 20% of people with untreated celiac disease have chronic constipation instead of the classic symptom of diarrhea. As the rate of diagnosis improves, constipation is becoming recognized as a common symptom of celiac disease.
Constipation is a common problem in the general population of the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 4 million people have frequent constipation. It is one of the most common digestive complaints in the United States, resulting in about 2.5 million doctor visits and 92,000 hospitalizations annually, although most people treat themselves. This high rate of constipation results in annual laxative sales of over $735 million in this country.
This article will discuss the following topics:
1. How to recognize constipation.
2. Natural remedies that have been shown to help constipation.
3. How to induce a bowel movement.
WHAT IS CONSTIPATION?
Constipation involves problems with stool formation, consistency, and evacuation. It is characterized by one or more of these features:
· Hard, dry stool or soft, putty-like stool.
· Difficult defecation.
· Infrequent defecation, less than one bowel movement per day.
· A feeling of incomplete evacuation following bowel movement.
Constipation can give rise to many different ailments including indigestion, a white coated tongue, bad breath, gas, hemorrhoids, hernia, body odor, depression, fatigue, headache, insomnia, and varicose veins.
The three main causes of constipation are abnormal bowel motility, malabsorption and dysbiosis. Each one, or all three together can cause constipation.
1. Abnormal bowel motility is altered peristalsis, where food passes through the intestine too slowly, due to ineffective muscle action of the intestines. It may take the form of spastic colon or atonic colon.
· Spastic colon is characterized by a spasms, (irregular and excessive muscle contractions of the intestinal walls), so that the muscles resist stretching and thereby decrease the diameter of the inside of the intestine. This restricts the passage of food.
Hard, dry stools are produced as the colon absorbs too much water from the slowly advancing stool. Spasms can result from magnesium deficiency, chronic stress, lack of exercise, lack of water or lack of fiber in the diet.
Spastic constipation is associated with variable degrees of abdominal pain or distress, erratic frequency of bowel action, and variation in stool consistency. (more…)
If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, are following the gluten free diet yet are still sick, you may find this true story very helpful…
A few months ago, I was visiting the office of a celiac disease support organization. A woman in the office started asking me questions about her symptoms. She was diagnosed with celiac disease and following the gluten-free diet. She was suffering from peripheral neuropathy and a host of other health issues. We looked up her symptoms in our book Recognizing Celiac Disease and noticed trends that pointed to certain nutrient deficiencies. Symptom after symptom pointed to low folic acid, low thiamin, and low omega-3 fatty acids. When we looked up Thiamin Deficiency, she said she had almost every symptom listed.
At that point she said she couldn’t possibly have nutrient deficiencies. After her latest endoscopy with biopsy, her gastroenterologist told her that her villi in her small intestine had recovered and she was absorbing normally.
Keeping a slim and trim waistline seems to be an important topic lately. Members of the gluten free elite are trying to find ways to counter-act the effects of a gluten free diet on their weight.
In part one, the subject of will power was broached. Now that we have established that you have such a powerful tool at your disposal, let’s work on how to use it.
Since the problem lies with the super-carbs, that is where you need to start. Put your powers to good use by having three days a week with no gluten free substitutes. Stick to lean meats, fruits and veggies on these days. This is a budget friendly idea as well. Put the savings towards buying that new smaller wardrobe. (more…)
When cruising the gluten free forums, it is not hard to notice that there are a few issues associated with a gluten free diet that come up a lot. One of these issues is a rapidly expanding waistline.
The problem of gluten free weight gain comes from the higher concentration of carbohydrates and sugars found in gluten free foods. One serving of gluten free corn spaghetti has 7 more grams of carbs than the “regular” counterpart. That may not seem like much in terms of numbers, but your thighs can tell the difference.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, many people are beginning to search for a sure fire way to beat the bulge. This is even more challenging when you are already searching to find the gluten free jewels in every party menu. (more…)
With Celiac awareness on the rise, more and more people are getting tested and properly diagnosed. Many people have lived with troubling symptoms for years before getting a doctor to order the correct tests and give a formal diagnosis. Once people receive their diagnosis, they can cut gluten from their lives, allow their bodies to heal and feel better than they have in years.
Current studies predict that 1 out of 100 Americans have celiac, that is over 3 million Americans, and of those, 97% are undiagnosed. The longer an individual goes with undiagnosed celiac, the greater their risk to develop other serious illnesses.
On average, a child will visit 8 pediatricians before being correctly diagnosed with celiac disease.
As a result The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center offers a free blood screening every October. This year, it will be held October 10, 2009. Pre-registration is required, and opens September 1, 2009. Please call 773.702.7593 to register. The free blood screening will take place on the 4th floor of The University of Chicago Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine. (more…)
September 13th marks Celiac Sprue Association’s (CSA) Celiac Awareness Day. This provides a great time for people suffering with Celiac Disease to spread awareness to their friends, family, and doctors. The CSA has an awareness packet that is available for download from their website.
Several possible ideas to promote awareness is to take brochures to your doctor and health/fitness clubs. Host a luncheon with gluten free food to your friends and co-workers. Work with a restaurant to develop a gluten free menu.
This provides an ideal opportunity to teach others about the gluten free diet.
The frequency of intestinal overgrowth by candida albicans is increased in people with celiac disease. In fact, infection by this common organism, also called C. albicans or candida, appears to be a trigger in the onset of celiac disease.1 Candida is yeast, a budding type of fungus, capable of fermenting carbohydrates. Albicans identifies this particular yeast from many others.
Candida albicans usually maintains a tiny appearance in our intestinal tract unless conditions change to favor its growth. It can thrive and invade if the intestinal lining becomes inflamed or damaged, the composition of normal flora becomes disrupted, immune defenses become diminished or malnutrition reduces our health. Candida albicans infection is characterized by superficial, irregular white patches with a red base. Invasion of the bloodstream is possible and would be life-threatening. (more…)
Research shows celiac disease can cause brittle bones in children. Can a gluten-free diet correct it?
A teenage gymnast is completing an exercise at the US Nationals gymnastics competition. At seventeen years of age, she is one of the top athletes in the country, physically strong and incredibly fit.
Both her wrists fracture during the dismount.
Doctors test her bone density to find out why her bones broke so easily. Although she is just a teenager, she is diagnosed with osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis and a bone disorder that normally afflicts people over 55. She has never had gastrointestinal issues, but her doctors test her for celiac disease anyway because something is obviously wrong with the way she is absorbing and/or metabolizing calcium. (more…)
A five year old Canadian boy, diagnosed with severe autism, was cured when the true cause of his mental disorder was found to be celiac disease and he was treated with a gluten-free diet and nutritional supplements.
Photo originally posted to Flickr as "Jack"
His autism was cured because he was never really autistic in the first place. He had celiac disease, an immune response to wheat, barley, rye and oats that damages the intestines leading to malabsorption of nutrients.
Gluten-restricted diets have become increasingly popular among parents seeking treatment for children diagnosed with autism.(1)
What if certain children who are diagnosed with autism actually have celiac disease?
Neurological disorders stemming from celiac disease have been widely documented in medical literature. Some of these conditions include poor balance, tremors, migraines, chronic fatigue, schizophrenia, epilepsy, apathy, depression, insomnia, behavioral disorders, inability to concentrate and anxiety.(2)
Many of these issues are due to nutritional deficiencies resulting from the intestinal damage that celiac disease causes. If caused by celiac disease, they improve once gluten is removed from the diet and the intestine heals and functions properly.
Genuis and Bouchard, researchers at the University of Alberta, recently published the case of the 5-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with severe autism at a specialty clinic for autistic spectrum disorders. After an initial investigation suggested underlying celiac disease and varied nutrient deficiencies, a gluten-free diet was instituted.(1) His diet and supplements were adjusted to secure nutritional sufficiency.
The patient’s gastrointestinal symptoms rapidly resolved, and signs and symptoms suggestive of autism progressively abated.(1)
This case is an example of a common malabsorption syndrome (celiac disease) associated with central nervous system dysfunction and suggests that in some cases, nutritional deficiency may be a cause of developmental delay.
Genuis and Bouchard recommended that all children with neurodevelopmental problems (more…)