Every Wise Woman

Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth

Your Bowels Reveal Your Health Status

Your stools are one of your body's clearest health indicators.  If you want to understand your health and be warned of possible impending maladies, it's all about the poo.  As indelicate as it may sound, it's true.  The quality and quantity of your bowel movements affect your health in astounding ways.  Becoming body aware and understanding how to monitor basic bodily functions will equip you to enhance and preserve you and your family's wellness.

Sadly, our misguided and misinformed conventional medical system has led people to be uncomfortable with and unaware of their bodies' natural rhythms and functions.  People do not understand how to achieve and maintain homeostasis, how to diagnose their bodies' signals to avoid disease.  An intimacy with bodily functions and what they tell us is a key diagnostic tool...a simple, powerful diagnostic tool usually overlooked by mainstream "medicine."

Maintaining healthy functioning bowels is one of the easiest ways to maintain wellness.  When your bowels are not working properly, your entire system becomes imbalanced with toxicity circulating from your colon throughout your bloodstream.  Sluggish bowels lead to a host of ailments and organ malfunctions, including appendicitis, liver and pancreas dysfunction, immunity and inflammation disorders, and much more.

I cannot overemphasize this truth:  Constipation is a leading cause of illness and disease for Americans.  This is not just a matter of GI distress...this is about total body wellness and severe health disorders.

If you and your children are not passing a normal bowel movement at least once daily, you are constipated and you are setting yourself up for health failures.  A normal bowel movement is:

  • soft and sausage-shaped
  • easy to pass
  • not offensively odiferous
  • not dark in color (very dark brown or black)

To better understand the proper form and texture of healthy stools, look at the Bristol stool chart.  Your goal is to daily pass stools of number 3 and 4 type.  One exception to color:  If you consume activated charcoal, your stools will turn black as it leaves your body.  This is normal.

If you spend more than a few minutes in the bathroom to pass a bowel movement, if you are straining to pass your stools, if you are often flatulent, if your stools are hard and pebbly, if they are scanty, if they are very dark, if they are quite offensive in odor, you are not in good health.  If you or your family members are routinely "stinking up the bathroom," you have a problem that requires both a colon cleanse and a lifestyle change.  Another indicator of unhealthy bowels is how much you need to wipe when you are finished.  Good bowels finish fairly cleanly...you shouldn't have a lot of matter to wipe away.  If you need to use baby wipes to clean yourself after you pass a bowel movement, you have a problem.

Your body cannot remain in a constipated state without eventual severe consequences.  Impacted bowels, sluggish bowels, scantily producing bowels all leave decaying fecal matter inside your colon, which greatly increases your body's toxic load.  You may suffer few or mild symptoms for a time (such as gas, acne, headaches, fatigue), but the unhealthy state of your bowels will eventually impact your overall health and likely lead to systemic malfunctions and disease (such as organ malfunction, hormonal disruption, cancer, severe "morning" sickness during pregnancy).

For optimal wellness, you must pass healthy stools once daily.  If you do not, and have not for some time, you are not well.  To avoid serious health disorders and disease, become aware daily of your and your children's stool patterns.  When you are aware that you have a chronic problem, you need to implement healing strategies, such as a detox protocol and dietary improvements (or better yet, a systemic gut healing protocol like GAPS).  Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals for maintaining healthy cellular function, muscle and nerve function, and it also assists in maintaining bowel regularity.  You can use magnesium to help move your stools; buy the best quality magnesium citrate you can find (ionic liquid versions are easily absorbable), and start with 500 mg. daily and work up until you have achieved daily soft stools.  Too much magnesium can cause diarrhea.  If you get to that stage, just back up your daily dose until you are at soft stools.

Maintaining proper daily hydration is key to producing healthy stools.  Dehydration leads to dry, hard stools that are difficult to pass.  Proper hydration is daily consumption of at least 1/2 oz. water per pound of body weight.  If you show signs of toxicity (including poor quality stools), you should be consuming 1 oz. water per pound of body weight.  To avoid flushing essential minerals from your system, be certain to consume at least 1 teaspoon mineral-rich sea salt (not commercial table salt, never iodized) per gallon of water (in addition to the salt you add to your food).  Sodium regulates the body's water usage, so never skimp on real salt, which is another critical component to wellness.

Urination is another bodily function that reveals health status.  Proper hydration is crucial for cellular health, organ health, mineral balance, blood viscosity and pressure, brain and hormone function, and much more.  When you are consuming enough water (including water in healthy liquids such as broth) daily to maintain your body's hydration needs, your urine will be very light yellow to clear.  If your urine is yellow, if it is cloudy, if it has an odor, if it at all burns upon exiting your body, you are dehydrated.  Understanding your body's health clues by observing urination is as important as understanding your stools.

Enemas are a crucial tool for maintaining a clean system.  Other cultures are familiar and comfortable with this procedure and do not suffer the same level of chronic maladies as Americans.  If you or your children are not passing healthy stools daily, beginning enema use immediately will greatly improve your situation and prevent long-term and acute health maladies.  A reusable enema bag is a necessity for the natural medicine cabinet.  I actually prefer the Gerson enema bucket with catheter for efficiency and comfort.

Another important consideration to proper bowel movements is ergonomics.  Our toilets do not position our bodies optimally for passing stools.  Just as it is counterproductive to have a woman give birth while lying on her back, trying to pass a bowel movement in the normal "chair" sitting position decreases flow of the movement and increases straining, leading to tissue damage (aka hemorrhoids).  The optimal and natural position for passing stools is the squat position.  Small children can easily perch or squat directly on the toilet seat, but that can be difficult for larger children and adults.  You can facilitate the squat position by placing your feet on a tall step stool in front of the toilet, which elevates your legs into a semi-squat.  Similarly, you can purchase a helpful device such as the Squatty Potty toilet stool.  Better yet is to install some variation of the squat toilet, as found in other parts of the world such as France and China.  

To all the enema scoffers, I offer this exhortation.  You must be personally responsible for your health.  Establishing and maintaining good health can be accomplished through simple, natural means.  You must be willing to become more comfortable with your body and its necessary functions.  An enema is a simple way to cleanse your colon, thereby keeping your body toxin-free.  It is a far better option than living with chronic discomforts, illness, or developing disease.

EWWHerbals                                                                              "Every wise woman builds her house..."  Proverbs 14:1

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