Bowels: Remove the Taboo & Embrace the Importance

“Die of embarrassment” and “racked with pain” are two common expressions that alone are bad enough, but together they’re toxic and paralyzing. 

Embarrassment is a reality that makes you exit social situations and knocks down your self-confidence. While pain cripples you, demolishing your ability to live a quality of life you desire and draining your well of positivity until the darkness you’re left with cloaks your world and extinguishes your light. Given all this, it’s no surprise that the collision of embarrassment and pain often triggers mouths to close and silent suffering to commence– no more.

Bowel Problems Wreak Havoc All Day Long 

Bowel problems go hand in hand with the following: 

  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Structural abnormalities of the bowel
  • Celiac disease
  • Diverticulitis     
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease)
  • Infections
  • Tumors
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Abdominal pain and spasms
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Inability to defecate or pass gas
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Loose and watery stools
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Not only do you grow up from a young age with a clear understanding that bathroom talk, specifically about bodily functions, is taboo, you also learn that all things involving you and the bathroom are private. This constant insistence that all things bathroom-related are not discussed makes dealing with any issue concerning your bowels difficult.

Society as a whole needs to silence the stigma strangling bowel-related discussions. As Harvard Medical School says, “A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected.” An article by Dr. Randi Fredricks– therapist, researcher, and author– adds that “it is probably no surprise that stomach issues can cause stress, but they can also lead to significant mental health problems.” 

Tips to Maintain & Promote Digestive Health

Bowel issues are nothing to be embarrassed about, and they’re certainly nothing to be silent about either. In addition to talking with your doctor about issues, Healthline suggests the following: 

  • Eat Real Food
    • “The typical Western diet– high in refined carbs, saturated fat and food additives– has been linked to an increased risk of developing digestive disorders.”
    • “Therefore, eating a diet based on whole foods and limiting the intake of processed foods may be best for optimal digestion.”
  • Get Plenty of Fiber
    • “Soluble fiber [oat bran, legumes, nuts, seeds] absorbs water and helps add bulk to your stool. Insoluble fiber [vegetables, whole grains, wheat bran] acts like a giant toothbrush, helping your digestive tract keep everything moving along.”
    • “A high-fiber diet has been linked to a reduced risk of digestive conditions, including ulcers, reflux, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, and IBS.”
    • “Prebiotics are another type of fiber that feed your healthy gut bacteria. Diets high in this fiber have been shown to reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel conditions.”
      • GreenBAC is a cutting-edge supplement that includes prebiotics, among other things, helping people maintain and create impressive healthy digestive systems.
  • Manage Your Stress
    • “Stress can wreak havoc on your digestive system. It has been associated with stomach ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, and IBS.”
    • “Stress hormones directly affect your digestion. When your body is in fight-or-flight mode, it thinks you don’t have time to rest and digest. During periods of stress, blood and energy are diverted away from your digestive system.”
  • Eat Mindfully
    • “It’s easy to eat too much too quickly if you’re not paying attention, which can lead to bloating, gas, and indigestion. Mindful eating is the practice of paying attention to all aspects of your food and the process of eating. Studies have shown that mindfulness may reduce digestive symptoms in people with ulcerative colitis and IBS.”
      • “Eat slowly.”
      • “Focus on your food by turning off your TV and putting away your phone.”
      • “Notice how your food looks on your plate and how it smells.”
      • “Select each bite of food consciously.”
      • “Pay attention to the texture, temperature, and taste of your food.”

Honorable mention tips for improving your digestive health provided by Healthline include Add Healthy Fats to Your Diet, Stay Hydrated, Chew Your Food, Get Moving, Slow Down and Listen to Your Body, Ditch Bad Habits (smoking, alcohol, late-night eating), and Incorporate Gut-Supporting Nutrients.

To put it simply, you are either eating, drinking, and making choices that lead you toward health or illness. And since the gut, body, and mind are intimately connected, it makes sense that your food and lifestyle choices affect your bowels, which can then affect everything from your stress level to your patience. Instead of being embarrassed about bowel issues, talk about them, seek knowledge, and be open to the possibility that maintaining and improving digestive health rests in your extremely capable hands.

Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach