Filed under: Gastrointestinal.
If the lining of the bowel is inflamed and swollen you could experience a lot of discomfort, and mucus or blood in the stool. Your doctor must always investigate this. Swelling in the lumen of the bowel often produces a flat, ribbon-like stool, which although it is soft can be difficult to pass. Old faeces can cling to the wall of the bowel and cause infection or inflammation. If your bowel is inflamed you will need to gently loosen this material, heal the lining and restore the balance of the gut flora by giving up junk foods and taking supplements. An inflamed bowel should not be attacked by laxatives or taking bran.
Psyllium husks or powder (available in health food stores or pharmacies) and slippery elm bark (a brown powder available from some health food stores and all nutritionists), taken with plenty of water, are gentle cleansers. When you start the psyllium you might find it gives you more wind, so start with half a teaspoonful and then graduate to the suggested dosage on the package – or follow the advice of your nutritionist. This supplement works well but you have
to be patient. It could be several days before you are easily passing a soft but formed bulky stool. If your stool is very loose take this supplement with as little water as possible. You should not have any troubles with the slippery elm. It has a soothing effect on the whole of the digestive system and, incidentally, is also beneficial for the heart. One teaspoonful three times daily can be taken until
Cleansing the bowel and healing with supplements need not go on for ever. When your symptoms improve you can gradually phase them out and use them intermittently when you feel you need them. In addition to the above you will need to avoid stress, keep to a healthy diet, drink plenty of water and take daily exercise (particularly walking) as much as possible. If you are elderly and cannot move about much, abdominal breathing and simple stretching exercises sitting in a chair will help.