look ma, no pain!

by Janetha on February 27, 2012

in deep thoughts,questions answered

let’s talk about my guts! that always seems to be a popular topic here on meals & moves. if you don’t care to read about digestion and what i’m doing to help my issues.. skip this one and come back tomorrow for a recipe. also, this post is going to be LONG with a LOT of words. brace yourself.

if you are just joining us, you can read this post and watch this video post. but, in a nutshell, i have something wrong with my colon. i have chronic pain, usually at night, and severe bloating. i poop maybe every 3 days, sometimes it is more like 5 and has been as bad as 10 days. i have had an endocopy, upper GI scope, colonoscopy, CT scan, and gastric emptying study. i have tried two kinds of antibiotics, a few kinds of probiotics, and two other prescription medications. my GI doctor cannot figure out what the cause of all this is. it is very annoying, painful, inconvenient, irritating.. all of the above, that’s what it is.

the only conclusion that my GI has come to is that i have a very lazy colon and the smooth twitch muscle fibers (is that the right term? i don’t even know) don’t function properly. my muscle fibers don’t communicate with my brain and my body just doesn’t eliminate even though it really, really should. oddly enough, i have chronic UTIs and have had them since i was a child.. this is due to my body not thinking i need to urinate when i actually do.. and then an infection occurs. we are talking at least once a month, if not more. i have gone to specialists about this, but the only solution i have found is to drink a gallon of water a day and MAKE myself pee so i don’t get a UTI. if i don’t drink my water, then i get a UTI. every time. but if i am diligent, i am in the clear. i wish it was just that easy for number two.. but it’s not. my colon hates me and won’t eliminate on command. turns out, it’s not trainable like a dog. shucks.

my GI said the next step for me would be surgery or putting me on prescription meds for all of time and eternity. no thanks. these are two options that i am not willing to consider at the moment, because i don’t feel like i have done everything i can do to find a fix to the solution WITHOUT surgery or medication. sure, i have gone down several western medicine paths, but i haven’t tried any alternative medicine nor have i tried tweaking my diet. i want to try every possible solution to see if it works before A) getting part of my colon permanently removed or B) taking medicine for the rest of my life.

so, i have looked at other avenues.

colon hydrotherapy.

as i mentioned a week ago, i had a colon hydrotherapy appointment (or a colonic, for short.) this is basically a professionally administered enema on steroids. there’s no messing around with colonics.. they really clear you out. i went to innerlight colon hydrotherapy because it had great reviews and i felt like they practiced safe and sanitary procedures.


before the actual procedure, the technician, chad, took over 30 minutes to talk to me about my situation. he was full of suggestions and information! he wasn’t telling me what was wrong with me, instead he was telling me what MIGHT be wrong with me and what steps i could TRY to see if they brought relief. he gave me several website links, product names, and relief suggestions. that right there was worth the $70.. but then i still had the colonic to look forward to! joy.

the procedure itself was really uncomfortable. i read this warning online, so i was prepared for the worst. i mean, how awesome is it to strip down to a gown and put a little tube up your butt? right. that’s what i thought. and then, once the tube is inserted, water flows into your colon and intestines.. then it is flushed back out, along with whatever waste your body may be hoarding. i had pooped a whopping 3 times in 23 days, so there was a whole lot of waste hiding in my insides. the process of the water going IN wasn’t bad at all. it really didn’t feel like much. the part that was irritating was when the water was trying to come out (along with all my waste) because it kept getting held up for some reason.

chad suspected that it is because i have a redundant colon and the water was getting held up in the extra looping. either that, or my colon narrowed at some point and it made things get clogged up. i am planning to check with my GI on this matter, because i am pretty sure that is something that should be able to be seen on the CT scan results.. or at least on the results of one of my five hospital tests! it would make sense, though, because it seems as though i am always able to eat, eat, eat and never eliminate.

anyway, once the irrigation procedure was done, i was able to head to the bathroom to eliminate any excess water and waste. since the water had a hard time coming out of me each time he cycled it, there was a whole lot leftover. fun! it was actually a relief to get all that junk out of my trunk, so to speak. oh—added bonus? the toilet at innerlight. it was the fanciest toilet i have ever encountered in my life! heated seats, lots of crazy buttons, and a built in bidet.  i told marshall all about this fancy toilet and he informed me that the next thing he wants to spend our money on is a fancy shmancy toilet. noted.

i had an appointment to have another session of colon hydrotherapy, but then i landed this nasty cold and canceled my appointment. i want to wait until my sickness goes away before i go in for another sesh. luckily, i am feeling almost 100%, so i will be going in again soon. i know that this is not a long-term solution, but it sure is nice to get the pipes cleaned. if you live in SLC and are interested in a colonic, check out innerlight.. at least for the fancy toilet, if nothing else.

what i have done for the past week.

i am saving up for an appointment with a naturopath, but in the meantime i thought i would try out a few things myself to see if anything helped. i started these tweaks on monday, the 20th, and guess what? NO PAIN. ALL WEEK. none. no pain in my guts! you guys, this is huge.

YES i have still had extreme bloating, however it has been slightly less than usual.

YES i am still constipated, but the—uh—consistency of what i have been able to eliminate is no longer super rock hard and pebble-like. and i am not going to go into any more detail than that because quite frankly that’s more than you need to know.

but NO.. i haven’t had any pain.

here are the measures i have taken this past week.


i have started making juice in my vitamix. yeah, yeah.. i know it’s not real “juice” but it’s blended vegetables and it is a whole lot more veggies than i would be able to EAT. i love this drink! i have had one a day for the past week. on the days that i had it first thing in the morning, my guts felt better than on days where i had it after work. my typical blend includes spinach, kale, celery, carrot, cucumber, apple, a splash of OJ, a little water, and ice. one time i added chia seeds and another time i added flax seeds. to make the juice,  i put all of the above in my vitamix and seconds later: liquid nutrition. marshall has been drinking one a day with me, too! we love it. i didn’t have a juice until late last night, after i already had some intestinal pain. i was in a rush sunday morning and opted to skip the juice, maybe that’s why my gut ached later on? who knows. the takeaway? keep drinking the blended juice and make sure to drink it in the morning.


gasp. i know, right? while most say coffee helps you poop, i have read several studies and had several people tell me that coffee (and caffeine) can have the opposite effect on some people. i love my coffee, that’s no secret.. but i also want to find relief. so, i nixed my morning java. i did have a cup on monday, but tuesday through saturday i didn’t. it wasn’t that bad, i think i like coffee more for the taste and ritual than for the caffeine, actually. i didn’t have crazy caffeine withdrawals or anything like that.

on sunday, i had coffee at brunch. i REALLY wanted some, so i had two small mugfulls. it was delicious. oh, AND i pooped my first “normal” poop in over a month around 2 PM.. about 2 hours after brunch. (TMI? sorry!) but i also had some pain last night. not sure if it was the coffee or the fact that i didn’t have the juice or WHAT. the takeaway? keep skipping the coffee and to be sure to try eliminating/adding things one at a time so i can see what the pain culprit is.


i have been drinking a mug of decaf peppermint tea each and every night for a week. i heard it was good for digestion and hey, it doesn’t hurt anything, so i have been drinking it each night. i like it. it tastes good. it warms me up. the takeaway? keep drinking tea every night.. even if it’s not helping my gut pain, at least it’s keeping me warm!


i have been taking this phillips probiotic for months now because my GI suggested it, but i took some advice away from my colonic and added a digestive enzyme to my regimen. this was also recommended by a lot of you guys, so thanks for that. i went with this brand because i trust renew life because i’ve used their products before (and they were a part of the great fundraising act!), so i went with the digestmore enzyme. when my probiotic runs out, i am going to go with a renew life probiotic, probably the one i reviewed awhile back. the takeaway: i really think the digestive enzyme is what’s helping the pain the most.. but that’s just my theory.

so, that’s what i have been doing for a week. like i said, i had a bit of pain last night. nothing near what it’s been in the past, and it eventually went away and was totally gone before i went to bed. yesterday was different than all the other days because i drank coffee, i didn’t have the juice until about 9 PM, and i hadn’t had any tea.. so who knows why i had the pain. shoot, it could have been totally unrelated to any of these things for all i know.

one other thing i have started being VERY diligent about is keeping a detailed journal of EVERYTHING i am eating and drinking (with the time), the time of day and type of exercise i do, and anything that happens (or doesn’t happen) in the bathroom. i am also documenting how i feel and how bad the bloating is. i know i should have been doing this for MONTHS, but i am really bad at writing things down. i have good intentions and start out strong, but new habits die even harder than old ones for me.

i am brilliant and decided to download a journal app on my iphone. i am always on my phone playing games (obviously), so a journaling app on my phone seemed like something i could keep up with. i was right! i ended up getting “my journal” and i think it was $1.99.


i have kept a very detailed account of everything that’s been going in and out of my body for the past week, so when i DO have pain i can look and see if there were any similarities in my diet on those painful occasions. i can also see what i was doing on the days that i felt great with no pain. please make me stick to this journaling thing, i think it will be really useful when i get into a naturopath.

what i am trying this week.

in addition to the tweaks i mentioned above, i am also trying out a seven day cleanse that my mom told me about: zrii.


it is mainly used for weight loss, but it is not weight loss i am after. it is also GREAT for digestion. my mom and sister, suni, have both successfully completed the cleanse and both felt really fabulous after the seven days. even better, they both were very, very regular. not sure if it will help my regularity at all, since i am a freak of nature, but i am willing to give it a shot.

something fun: my boss has hopped on the cleanse wagon with me (it’s weight loss purposes for him) and so we are in it together this week! i will elaborate more on the cleanse in another post, since this one is already pretty lengthy.

on my list to try.

there are a number of things i want to try out to see if they help me. a few are:

  1. essential oils (recommended by my sister, marisa)
  2. eliminating various items from my diet to see the outcome (some ideas: eat less/no meats & cheeses, eliminate all dairy, eliminate certain grains, etc)
  3. seeing if birth control pills play a role (not sure how to figure this out but some people mentioned it)
  4. acupuncture
  5. seek direction from a naturopath

that last one is actually what is on TOP of my list.. but the naturopath i want to see is $285 for a 90-minute consultation and then $150 an hour for any appointments after that. i know it will be money well spent, but i am going to wait for pay day to roll around so i don’t have to pull money out of savings.

i am always open to suggestions, but i am also very mindful that what works for one person will not work for another. there is no cure-all, but i am willing to experiment to find my own tailored cure.

i have to say one thing: you guys have been amazing. i have received hundreds of helpful comments and emails that have contained possible solutions. while i haven’t been physically able to reply to each and every one of your bits of advice (i have a full time job!), i appreciate them ALL. so THANK YOU. thank you for caring and being concerned and giving me the time of day. i actually have a notebook where i have written down EVERY suggestion.. i am open to try whatever i can in order to find a solution to my problems. it’s so nice to hear what has worked for you all. i know it may not work for me, but everything deserves a shot.

WOW, that was long. gut talk OVER.

in other news, i am currently obsessed with this new video from tegan and sara (collaborated with morgan page.)

doesn’t it make you want to go pump some iron?!

one last thing: PLEASE vote for eden’s salted caramel crock pot blondies. it would mean a lot to her. and me. click here, her recipe is the far right. thanks!

that’s enough out of me. feel free to leave your thoughts.. if you made it this far.

xo. janetha g.

ETA: i linked to my zrii website that was generated for me when i bought the product. i signed up as an “independent executive” because it made the product cheaper for me to buy.. and that’s when they made me the website. i am not trying to slang it to you, although you can make purchases from that site i am not trying to get you to do that! that link was just for those of you who were curious and had asked me about it so you could browse around and read what it is. i will do a comprehensive post about it soon.

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Sami February 28, 2012 at 7:15 am

J! i’m prayin’ for ya! i feel like prayer is a highly underrated form of treatment ;)

also! did you happen to receive the ultimate body applicator i sent you? if you have any questions, let me know. since the wrap is a detox, flushing 5426345431466424365542 toxins out of your body and shrinking fat cells, maybe getting rid of the toxins will help your belly, too?! who knows. regardless, if you like the wrap & would like to continue use of them, i recommend becoming a loyal customer for free…you can get a whole box of them (4 total) for just $59. being a loyal customer just commits you to a three month auto shipment, which you can change which products you get! here’s my point. if you’d like to be a loyal, you can sign up online, and actually there’s a supplement that might be able to help! https://wrapwithsami.myitworks.com/Shop/Product/312

let me know if you’re interested, and i’ll email you shortly ;)


Courtney February 28, 2012 at 7:35 am

Hi! I’m sorry to hear about your gut issues. I know how frustrating it can be when there are no answers. Have you looked into eating a paleo diet? It goes against “conventional” ideas, but there is A LOT of research supporting it. There are tons of health advantages to eating this way, but more importantly (for you) almost everyone who changes over reports that their gut issues have virtually disappeared! A good website to start with is:
http://www.marksdailyapple.com. Good luck!

Felicia (Natural + Balanced) February 28, 2012 at 7:45 am

you have a lottt going on – but i definitely think you should try acupuncture and see what he/she says for another opinion, along with everything you are doing now. it can definitely help! and i’m not just saying that because i study + practice it :) but being on meds for the rest of your life is something that will NOT help you- your body is just out of whack right now and needs a little extra help to heal itself.

Lauren February 28, 2012 at 7:48 am

Hi Janetha,

You already have SO many comments to look through, and I’m sure someone has already mentioned this at some point, but I have to mention it too! What you’re dealing with is EXACTLY what I had been dealing with for about 5 years, up until this past September. I feel your pain (literally!) with all the GI issues, and I went 2 wks without a BM! I started the FODMAP diet in September and it is literally a miracle. Every single symptom I had went away after 3 days on the elimination diet. The biggest one for me was the night time bloating! I totally know what you’re going through with that. Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there because I know how miserable these GI issues are, not to mention the frustration of doctors not knowing what the eff is wrong with you! I would HIGHLY suggest giving the FODMAP diet a go. For more info, I would check out http://www.ibsfree.net. :))

brandi February 28, 2012 at 7:51 am

i hope the no pain keeps up! i know that has to be a relief.

thinking of you and hoping they figure out exactly what’s wrong and how to help!

i have a lot of the same bloating issues and it’s so frustrating. not every single night, but it’s a pain, no pun intended. i can’t wait to hear how some of these things help – it may give me some more ideas on things to try for me, too.

Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning February 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

Maybe you said this before (or maybe another commenter asked- I’m too lazy to look) but were you ever tested for celiac? I had a lot of issues a few years ago and was tested for that, amongst other things. It turned out that I had a crazy amount of cortisol in my system (from my exercise addiction days).
I hope you get it all figured out- that colon hydrotherapy sounds like the pits. It’s good that you’ve made a few changes that seem to be helping – even if it’s a little bit! I know you drink kombucha- do you have it regularly? Maybe the probiotics from that would help too?
I have heard AWESOME things about acupuncture for all types of ailments- everything from weight-loss to wanting to get knocked up. I hope you try it out- I want to give it a shot too!
I’m also going to check out the cleanse link you posted. I’m interested in any cleanse that doesn’t make you starve! :)

Janetha February 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Yeah.. I was tested am not celiac. Thank God!

lisa bigness March 1, 2012 at 8:15 am

The negative test for Celiac doesn’t mean that much, as many people test negative, cut out the gluten and wheat to see, and automatically feel better by the end of the month…the only way to find out is to do an elimination diet…Sorry :(

Dr. Carla Apezzato February 28, 2012 at 7:58 am


Have you ever heard of a FODMAPs elimination diet? I really think you should consider it. Not many physicians are aware of this method, but you can read about it on a book (I recommend Patsy Catsos’) or/and find a dietician specialized in it.

Best Wishes, and sorry about my poor English.

Janetha February 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I have read about it and my friend Elise (http://hungryhungryhippie.com) has done/is doing this. I need to look more into it! Thanks!

Lo February 29, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I cannot begin to tell you what a difference following the FODMAPs diet has made in my life. You should check it out!

Stacey February 28, 2012 at 8:01 am

Ugh, I hope you get some answers and relief soon. I’ve been there and it can completely take over your life. Just don’t let the food part consume you… as I know from experience trying to “solve” everything it sure can. Like I previously commented my stomach pain was solved by a diagnostic laporascopy (endometriosis) and then allergies to my ortho-tri cyclen BC pills. I’m now on just ortho-cyclen and the results are amaze-balls.
I also was told by my obgyn that calcium can constipate some people and to increase your magnesium to off-set it. I know you take a supplement at lunch time and also realize it can’t be the entire source of your issues, but perhaps it’s enabling in some way.
Best of luck and thanks for sharing. It does help to read about someone else having these problems for those of us who did or still do deal with this on a day-to-day basis.

Alta February 28, 2012 at 8:07 am

Thanks so much for posting this. I won’t make any additional suggestions, because mine would just be repeats of what I’ve already read in the comments, but I’m glad you posted about your experience with colonics. I have wondered about them but have never had one – the idea of “going” at someplace like that kinda weirds me out – but maybe it’s worth a try. I experience very similar issues as you, and have had a gastroenterologist tell me I also had a lazy colon and told me drugs were the only way (and I tried some of them, and they all sucked!). I recently gave up coffee for a bit to see how I feel – I don’t miss the caffeine, but it’s like I broke up with my lifetime lover. I miss it! So I feel your pain there! Love me some green smoothies/juices with the Vitamix! I drink them regularly – thinking I’ll start doing it every day now. Hoping you start feeling better soon with the new routine.

Calee February 28, 2012 at 8:12 am

I’m so excited that you decided to try some natural things before the other stuff. And I’m sooooo glad you got some relief and are hopefully on your way to figuring this thing out.

It sounds like diet tweaks will be extremely helpful. I know that coffee and other diuretics (though they help you with your peeing!) dry out your bowel and make it even harder for you to eliminate what’s there. And they make your muscles down there work (kind of like a stimulant laxative) in certain cases, which makes those muscles get lazier. I can’t do coffee, but I love it. I go in spurts. Today is a “day after coffee” day and it SUCKS. Bloat? Check. Pain? Check. Poop? Nope.

Peppermint tea works WONDERS. Every time I start getting an inkling of a tummyache or bloating, I hit the peppermint tea. Fennel tea works extremely well, but has an odd taste (kind of like licorice).

And I know I’ve mentioned it before, but my lifechanging GI moment was not at the GI, it was at the chiro (holistic) when she told me to cut out ALL grains and starchy carbs for a while and see what happens. After about a week things were, well, what I could only assume as, normal. I started adding back in my starchy stuff and found that gluten was the main culprit, but LOTS of starch in general was just as bad. So I switched my diet from 80% carbs from starch/grains (cereal, I miss cereal — oats, breads, pastas, etc.) to 20% carbs from starch/grains. It was HARD at first (and I admit it’s still hard some days), but now I actually LIKE having an extra excuse to refuse cookies and bagels at the office or to go out to eat with friends when I really don’t want to / have the money to spend.

LONG comment. GI issues hit close to home!

Anywho. glad to see you’re finding some answers and most of all, some relief!

Janetha February 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Ohhh I love fennel, I am going to look for the tea! Thanks for your comment!!

Emily February 28, 2012 at 8:19 am

Glad you are finding some relief! I clicked your link for Zrii and would love to hear more about it!! And will be sure to order through you. I do not understand from the website if it’s a supplement or a cleanse where you eat nothing else?

Janetha February 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm

It’s pretty confusing, right? I will be doing a post about it soon. The purify is a supplement (fiber, oil, pills) and you do it along with the other stuff if you want–the juice and the protein powder–which is what I am doing. But you still eat sensible meals or replace up to 2 meals with the shakes. You definitely eat!

Paige @ Running Around Normal February 28, 2012 at 8:32 am

YAY for relief! I hope it only continues to get better for you, friend <3

Tara in Chicago February 28, 2012 at 9:07 am

Hi Janetha, I’m struggling A LOT as well. I have been through naturopaths, etc over the years and it “works” for a few months, then nothing. So in the end, it was a WASTE of my money…each time they were the “miracle cure” that solved me and I was fixed, then it all goes up in flames again.

The worst is this constipation. And I kNOW so many people tell me to eliminate fruit, dairy, and grains (i don’t eat gluten anyway), but is it pathetic that I just don’t want to? I really don’t want to eliminate foods, it seems like it leads to obsession.

Problem with me is with this constipation, i have zero appetite, but i’m underweight . I KNOW everyone is different,, but if you could do a post listing 2-3 breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks ideas, then maybe that will help inspire me to eat something different.

I say this because a nutritionist thinks the answers are more simple than I realize, she thinks that
a) I need to decrease protein a little, INCREASE the carbs (simple sugars like fruit is easier to digest than veggies, simple yogurts with jam versus thick, plugging greek yogurt, etc)
b) decrease fiber
c) eat VARIETY…she doesnt think its the foods that i eat, but the fact that i eat the same freaking things alll the time…

so,, yep, everyone is different, but seeing some sample ideas ffrom various blogs is something i’m hoping to find…

please god , don’t let me have to eliminate diet :)
i don’t even have a GI doc anymore cause i’m so sick of the lack of results…

Janetha February 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm

If you check out my archives, I have been eating the same stuff for the whole 3 years I have blogged. Hopefully it gives you some ideas. Check out my “meals” page for recipes or just browse past posts :)

Kailey February 28, 2012 at 9:42 am

Janetha, I live for these updates. I’ve had all sorts of GI issues my whole life, but up until recently thought they were normal for me (kind of the opposite issue you have…up to 4 or 5 times a day). When I did the low-carb thing, I wasn’t eating gluten. When I started eating it again post-Superbowl, my stomach BLEW UP in the most uncomfortable way– so bloated it hurt to breathe. It was the only thing I hadn’t really been eating (aside from fruit). My first inclination to this should have been two years ago when I realized I couldn’t tolerate shredded wheat cereals. But only after eliminating gluten altogether and then trying to eat gluten again do I realize what’s caused most of my intestinal discomfort. As a bread freak, there’s no way I’ll ever entirely NOT eat it, but now I’m aware of how I’ll feel afterward.

Nicole C February 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

My first thought on this was of the movie Billy Madison ‘He called the shit poop!’..because I have the sense of humor of a teenager. Anyhow, you have gone thru the wringer with all this. Makes me double think how my guts work, or lack thereof.

I think I will go bust a move tonight and think about it while listening to that song, love it! I so badly want to be a dancer, but really..that’s only going to happen in the comfort of my home.

Kait February 28, 2012 at 10:40 am

Yay for no pain!!!!! So happy you are finding things that are working for you. :)

LOVE the video…but it makes me want to dance rather than pump iron! I love the juxtaposition between the sexy fluid movements and the stark gym background. Awesome sauce.

Thanks for the update…I’m excited to learn more abuot the cleanse, etc. And I’m happy the green juice is helping. I’ve found that certainly helps keep me regular too. Since, ya know, we’re all friends here!

Mel February 28, 2012 at 10:52 am

Glad the pain is subsiding! It is the worst when we can’t figure out what’s up with our bods.

My step dad is a doctor and has had SO much success prescribing people the probiotic med, Align. I’ve used it when abroad (and very irregular) and it completely cleared up my Grandma’s issues. You can try taking it for a full week and see if your body reacts to it. (I don’t think you need to take it every day for ever, just take 1 a day for a week.)

Mel February 28, 2012 at 10:54 am

oh oops its not really a med. Just a supplement. You can find more on their website (aligngi.com).

Anna, fitscally responsible February 28, 2012 at 11:39 am

I’m going to check this out too!

Eiren February 28, 2012 at 11:00 am

Hi Janetha,
I’m with you on the tummy troubles. I have a gluten/lactose intolerance, AND IBS with a mind of it’s own. I’ve been to GI docs with no solution other than completely erasing almost everything from my diet. I already eat dairy/gfree and mostly sugar free and still have upsets or massive bloating/pain problems.
My mother had horrible peristalsis in her intestine. One doctor prescribed her Domperidone, which i believe is usually used to increase breast milk, but it worked for her to get things moving in the “gut” as the doctors so empathetically called it! I wish you the BEST OF LUCK!! Having an upset belly is the most horrible thing, and then to have chronic issues is even worse!!!

holly (yo soul sista from another much taller curly haired mista) February 28, 2012 at 11:06 am


i guess i never realized how lucky i am in that i have never really had to deal with digestive issues – my stomach is more like tony stark. iron man. or woman. whatever.

but i commend you for keeping trying to figure out what works for YOU and for sharing. i know you will help lots of people.

get ready for a comment binge…i have two weeks of posts to catch up on! love you <3

Carly February 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

I have been going through such a similar battle, so I love when you post about your experience.

I finally splurged to see a Naturopath and it was the best decision of my life. I am still sorting things out and don’t have a concrete answer yet, however, after much, much resistance from me, she put me on an elimination diet. It was the best thing I ever did. It was hard (SO hard), but I felt so good for those three weeks. I became regular and many other symptoms disappeared. Now that I’m reintroducing things, symptoms are returning, so somethings up…but anyways, my point is if you are considering an elimination diet, I can’t stress how much I completely stand behind it!

Anna, fitscally responsible February 28, 2012 at 11:37 am

I agree! I did an elimination diet. Sadly, I found out my problem was not what I thought (gluten) but I did find out that I have an issue with high-fat dairy. That is totally NOT what I would have expected!

Anna, fitscally responsible February 28, 2012 at 11:34 am

Wow, I can totally relate. I was told I just have a lazy colon too, after two colonoscopies. My grandma had 14 inches of her colon removed and both my mom and brother have diverticulitis (probably not the correct spelling but I’m too lazy to look it up). So, obviously this is an issue we get to share as a family :) It is common for me to go 7-10 days without a satisfying trip to the bathroom.

A few things that help me: running (5 miles + really helps), putting a fiber powder in my morning shake (12g for the powder + 6g for the fruit), I’ve done a natural cleanse that Arbonne has (it REALLY worked well but obviously those just clear you out, not fix the problem, so I do it every 3-6ish months), “drinking” one of my meals per day (i.e., why I have a protein shake for breakfast).

I have also heard birth control can be a factor. My friend went gluten-free and got off her birth control and said it was a 2000x improvement.

Anyway, good luck! I feel your pain.

Life's a Bowl February 28, 2012 at 11:58 am

I feel your colon pain chica! I wrote about my experience a bit last week and had a colonoscopy which had to be aborted because I still had stuff in me [the prep kicked in AFTER I left the doc appt- FAIL] and have to repeat the process within the next month but with two days of prep… In the past I’ve tried eliminating dairy which def helped a bit but I’ve always known I’m a little lactose, as well as gluten but that didn’t help much… Currently, I’m tracking everything I ingest and taking laxatives [gross, I know]. The docs think that it’s either a result of the Lupus or I have IBS/ IBD- regardless, all of them are stinky [literally]!

Annette@EnjoyYourHealthyLife February 28, 2012 at 12:11 pm

WOW. I hope you feel better soon! Sending good vibes to ya! I know that doTERRA (in UT) is a fabulous essential oil company and all their oils are 100% natural, with no fillers and additives, and I’ve used their digestive pills as well. LOVE ’em. I am def ‘regular’ ;)

Sara @my less serious life February 28, 2012 at 12:13 pm

thanks for this post. i can completely relate. i actually JUST went to the GI doctor for the first time last week with similar symptoms. he scheduled me for a colonoscopy march 12. in the meantime, he has me on really large doses of stool softerner/osmotic laxatives. they are working – but i don’t like how they make me feel otherwise , and (like you) i don’t like the thought of having to take these forever. i am eager to follow along with what you are trying and hope to find a natural solution!

niki February 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Janetha – i know i put a lot out there in the last two comments about pelvic floor dysfunction, but please ask your doctor about it. especially after the colonic. if the hose goes in, but it is hard to pass the water or waste out, it could be the muscles functioning improperly. if you have the urge to go and can’t get much out (even water) then the muscles are too tight. and there is no way to learn how to control them without help. the pelvic floor and digestion are directly related and it is a which came first, the chicken or the egg situation….could have been digestion that started it, could have been an injury to the pelvic floor or even stress. if you can make the stool softer to pass (with miralax and stool softener) that will help, but it is like trying to squeeze through a door that won’t open all the way.

grate fresh ginger and squeeze it into your smoothies to help digestion too. magnesium fizz will also help loosen stools. and extra vitamin c. i know not every suggestion is going to be the right fit, but i was in your position, with the same tests scheduled, and the motility doc stuck a finger up my bottom and found the problem. i never would have believed it, but pelvic floor dysfunction can be life changer. i’ll stop bugging out on the comments… i just thought if it was a possibility i would make one last plea to get it checked out. if you can’t find anyone in utah and want to come out to mayo in minnesota, let me know. i hope you find a fix soon!

niki February 28, 2012 at 12:56 pm

and UTI’s or chronic yeast infections can be a symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction. last one!

Jena February 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I have a patient with a similar issue, lazy colon, and we recently sent the patient up to a University Hospital where the pt is seeing a plethora of Drs. I spoke with the patient this week, and they reported that they are seeing a neuro – The patient has the same issues with the smooth twitch muscle fibers – According to the patient a medication that neuro prescribed has given them some relief w/ bowel movements. It might be a long shot, but maybe you can ask your GI, or do some research about seeing a neuro. just a thought… Glad you are feeling better this week.

Eizabeth @ reads recipes runs February 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I am SO glad you aren’t in as much pain! It sounds like you are doing great at being dilligent about your changes. You’re totally right though, one thing at a time, that way you know what’s making a difference :)

Also, my husband’s issues aren’t nearly as bad as yours, but when he is having issues he drinks smoothe move tea from yogi tea I believe. He says it really helps! You might want to look into that instead of the pepermint. Also, I’ve heard that magnesium is good too, there is this fizz you can buy at whole foods or places like that, it’s flavored and you add it to hot water. The container says something about stress… Iwould have to double check the brand. It’s also good for muslce soreness :)

Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather February 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm

So glad your gut is doing better! And definitely trying more natural things before jumping the gun to drastic measures (surgery) is the way to go. Hope it only keeps getting better!!

denise February 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Okay, this may be TMI but my problem is the exact opposite. I have gone as many as 15 times in one day. I have not had a formed stool since my daughter was born. I too have gone through the medical spector of diagnosis with not help but medication which I won’t take. I have found several ways to make my situation better (2-4 per day) and they are not explosive by simply controling what I eat and how much I eat at one time. All that being said I would rather have my problem than yours. You are certainly in my prayers. Be vigilang:)

Kathryn February 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I’ve had similar problems, but not as severe as yours. I tried taking a probiotic daily and ended up with severe abdominal pain. I stopped taking it and the stomach pain went away. I drink ginger tea, which is suppose to help with digestion. Have you been drinking apple vingear/water to help with digestion?

Janetha February 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Yes! I drink it daily with a little lemon.

Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) February 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Love the colonic place’s Logo- you almost can hear the birds chirping and water trickling down a waterfall. AND they rock b/c it sounds like they have a Japanese toilet! Did I ever tell you about the time that Derek & I went to a fancy tea ceremony in Japan and they had that kind of toilet? (The little buttons with the pictograms of, for example, water squirting??) Well, I didn’t dare press any buttons, but apparently Derek just had to press that one with the water squirting because he emerged from the bathroom with the front of his shirt soaked. I laughed at him for days.

adrienne February 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Hi Janetha, I have been interested in your “gut issues” since I first read about them. I have very similar problem, and I can tell you what my doctor(s) have said and what worked for me. I went to both a Naturopath, and an ARNP (general practice) for a second opinion. I never saw a GI doctor. At the Naturopath appointment they did a test for celiac (negative). The Naturopath also recommended probiotics and digestive enzymes. The enzymes REALLY helped me digest my food properly. So much that I thought I could skip taking them. After a couple days the problem was back. The ARNP said I should take miralax and metamucil every day (I did not do either). Both the Naturopath doctor and Nurse practitioner suggested a food sensitivity test (expensive!!) I did eventually do the test and so many things came up as red flags. So I eliminated the highest offendors: dairy, eggs. I lowered my intake of nuts, red meat, alcohol. I have greatly increased my intake of fiber (both soluble and insoluble), fruits & veggies. A good source of soluble fiber is oatmeal and for a supplement I liked Heather’s Tummy Fiber. I have been on this diet for 3 months and have not had these issues at all. My naturopath recently said I could try getting off the enzymes, make sure everything is working properly, and then VERY slowly adding one at a time the foods I had eliminated (ate in pure form, for a couple days to see if I notice any effects). This time getting off the enzymes has worked well! So far I have only added eggs back to my diet, i missed them so! All is well for the past couple days! One of these days I may add back dairy but very slowly. It is SO hard to be diligent about everything you eat, but feeling good is much more important! Thank you so much for sharing your issues it really helps to know this effects a lot of others. Good luck to you and I hope things get better for you soon!

Janetha February 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Wow! What a story. Thank you for the info and sharing your experience! It makes me really excited to get into a naturopath.

Heather February 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm

hi janetha! i have dealt with some similar issues….often i would go to the bathroom twice a week, if that! i have not had any of the medical testing done that you have had, but i was able to see a natropath (my friend’s dad is one). he recommended a series of supplements for me, along with a probiotic, that have worked wonders! i have been taking them for a few months now, but they started working within a week. i am not 100% regular, but pretty close and SO much better than before. here is what i take:
Natural Creations Nutriplenish GI (2 pills w/each meal)
Digest Basic Digestive Enzyme (1 pill w/each meal)
Renew Life Cleanse More (1 pill at bedtime, 2 if I’m really backed up)
Natural Creations Enterbiotic (probiotic – 1 each morning)

it seems like a lot, but my doctor’s explained that was once my gut is ‘healed’ i won’t need to take all of these things regularly. he said he can vary from person to person as far as how long the healing will take…anywhere from a few weeks to a few months… so i am just continuing to take the pills for now, but may ask his advice on how to reduce in the future. plus, you can get a lot of these online for pretty cheap.

i also cut back a lot on gluten, however that was before i even started the pills, and if i have a bit here and there it doesn’t seem to bother me too much… so i’m not really sure if i’m sensitive to it or not. anyway, i hope this helps you!!

Michelle February 28, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Hi. I just wanted to pass along another natural option you could try for your poop problem (or lack thereof). An herb doctor, Dr. Schulze, has a 5 day Bowel Detox program that is soooo good. His website is http://www.herbdoc.com. (It’s under Detox Program’s) I had a friend who never pooped either, and had all kinds of pain from it as well, and she tried this detox and said it changed her life. It’s very reasonably priced ($64) and comes with a booklet that explains the cleanse, and also explains the colon and all the possible problems people can have if their colon isn’t functioning properly. He says that the colon is like all our other muscles, wherein it requires training in order to work properly. The combination of herbs in the detox, help train the muscle to move regularly and efficiently, etc. I just finished the detox about a month ago, and even though I didn’t have a problem pooping regulary, it did make things even more regular for me. If you do decide to try it, I would recommend getting the capsule option verses the packets. This way you’re just swallowing a bunch of capsules vs. mixing up a packet of herbs into a tea like drink. The capsules make it more portable and I am always afraid of how herbs will taste too, so that way I didn’t have to worry. He has other items to help digestion and elimination, but the only other one I’ve tried besides the Bowel Detox, is the Digestive Tonic. I must say it ROCKS. It’s great for soothing a bloated stomach, acid indigestion, gas, etc. And it tastes good too. Another plus! I carry some with me in my purse, just in case I get a sick, bloated, or gassy stomach. It calms it fast. Anyhoo, good luck with everything. I’m glad you are checking out alternatives before the drastic measures your doc advised. Hopefully you can clear whatever it is up, without having to go that other route.

Janetha February 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Hey Michelle! Thanks so much for this information. I appreciate the link and the suggestions!

kerry February 29, 2012 at 5:45 am

i am SO making that chicken and cream sauce.. and i have a whole bag of quinoa i never know what to do with! Perfect recipe :)

Pure2raw twins February 29, 2012 at 6:50 am

so glad that you are making improvements! everybody is different and so happy that you are taking the steps to see what works for you. we did about everything you mentioned in this post, and we do feel our months and months of colonics we felt it really did help us. we did it for about 8 months straight, we had a lot of junk in our trunks too ;)
now we have gotten to a point where we somewhat know what works and what does not. we still get those random days where we get pain in our stomachs that we can’t stand up, and we have no reason why we are getting that pain. still trying to figure that one out!
but we noticed drinking at least 2-4 cups of warm lemon water in the morning really helps. and we try not to eat much until we go to the bathroom. most mornings it works for us which is a HUGS improvement!!! as we have struggled with constipation for our whole life. Lori has better success in the bathroom then me, my system seems to be a little bit slower then hers, but overall know I will get there too just like you!!!
hang in there!
if you ever need to talk about poo you know where to find us. as we talk about this subject daily in our life!

Rachel February 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I strongly second the magnesium suggestions and would just add that Mg CITRATE leads to loose stools, but Mg GLYCINATE promotes bowel movement without the loose stools (Mg Oxide doesn’t usually work nearly as well for me, I think it’s a less bioavailable form of Mg). I’ve been using the Mg glycinate for a while now and I find that, coupled with probotics (I actually eat Bubbie’s Sauerkraut, kimchi, and Bubbie’s pickles to get the little beasts) my gut behaves better. But believe me, I feel your pain and I’ve been following your trials with a lot of interest, as I have many of the same issues!

janetha March 12, 2012 at 11:27 am

Thank you for pointing this out!

Melissa February 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Thanks for reviewing your colonic. I’ve been more than 3 times in 23 days, but not many more. I am actually sitting here jealous, because I would love to be cleaned out and not full of crap all of the time.

I do the MgCitrate and it doesn’t really work for me consistently.

I may have found the root of my issues though, I have a way bigger problem and the potty issues are likely just a horrible side effect. Hopefully they will fix me, but it’s going to be long and hard likely

Marie February 29, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I am so glad to hear something is working to alleviate some of your pain. Nathan and I are really trying to eat cleaner this year and I hope one day that type of juice will be delicious to us, because it just sounds too healthy to me right now. :)

My cousin had several health problems and swears by a Naturopath so I hope they can help figure out some more solutions for you! Just said a prayer for you! ;)

Janetha February 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Thank you! You’re always so sweet :) And the juice is tasty, but even an adjustment for me.. it’s definitely very.. vegetable-y haha. XOXO

lisa bigness March 1, 2012 at 8:07 am

Hello Janetha,
I just happened upon your site yesterday. Have only read two articles (twosy Tuesday – sorry if I butchered that) and this one – You have a new reader, I love your style!

Re: your colon, lol. First I hope you do find a way to feel better. I don’t have this issue, but have read quite a bit on gut health.
Looks like you have quite a few things to try, thought I would send another to add to your list. Check this out when you get a chance…http://www.naturesplatform.com/index.html
There are others (ie fancier models lol) but this is the one I happened on when I just did a quick search. Here is some more info on the topic from one of my top five blogs:


There are many other posts on the topic there, as well as several gut health posts:




Good Luck!


Oh yeah – I didn’t read the veggie shake recipe above, but any type of fruit thrown in there will make it taste much better (strawberries and bananas mask the most)

Janetha March 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Lisa, thank you so much for these links!!

Amy March 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Oh my – 70 dollars for a colonic? I pay about 175 here as a “return” patient. Although, I must say when I can afford them, the colonics do help with the pain and bloating. (I also have a lazy colon and have actually had to take the laxs about once a week to go – which is a nono with a lazy colon but honestly — it is so f’ing uncomfortable) I’m on my 3rd specialist – best wishes for us both!

You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun... June 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I’m a little late to the show, but Abby from Abby Has Issues directed me here for some colon therapy of my own.

It’s such a relief to know I’m not the only one having traumatic backside problems. Fortunately, mine has been diagnosed as colonic endometriosis. Unfortunately, the next step for me is laparoscopy (for the reproductive zone) and possible bowel resectioning (for the poop chute zone).

At this point, after trying birth control pills (which is supposed to keep the flare-ups to a minimum), modified diet (well, “somewhat modified” because all the bad foods are obviously my fav), and acupuncture (which definitely helped ease the pain, but did nothing for the root of the problem), I cannot go in for surgery quick enough.

Have you ever just started crying at the drop of a hat because the pain is too much? That’s where I’m at right now.

Fingers crossed things get better for us both soon. <3

Janetha June 25, 2012 at 9:49 am

It’s so funny, because I heard the opposite thing about BC pills (that they can cause abdominal pain, bloating, constipation) but I guess each person is different. I have tried acupuncture and you are right–it is good for temp relief but not a solution. Sigh.

Yes I just burst into tears all the time! It’s so frustrating! Please keep me posted on your surgery and best of luck to you. xo

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