I have Crohn's Disease. I have been in remission since 2005, so this past month has been a bit of a hassle for me. I am used to having diarrhea for many days at a time. I expect diarrhea whenever I have a stress-flare or a flu-flare. So when I go to the doctor to figure why my Crohn's is acting up and the doctor tells me it isn't my Crohn's, I am both happy and apprehensive at the same time.
I am very happy that my Crohn's is not flaring. I still have it under control and can keep it under control -- mostly -- with my diet and lifestyle choices. I was quite worried that I would have to reassess the foods I eat to see what had changed into contraband. A big weight has been lifted knowing that I need not do this for my Crohn's.
I am quite apprehensive due to the fact that the doctor told me I was "very constipated." You read that right, "VERY constipated." Both my ascending and descending colon were overfilled and not moving. These two sections of the colon are not normally the same size, but in my X-rays they looked fairly even in size. The doctor went on to give me advise to deal with this condition in the future:
1. You should exercise. Just walking will help with this condition.
2. Be certain to eat more fiber. You need fiber in your diet.
3. Drink more water. You should stay away from soft-drinks, etc.
I can only guess that these three tidbits of advise work on everyone else that comes in (when they have never experienced constipation previously.) I had some news for her, though:
1. I jog 4-8 miles a week while also walking and biking on days I don't go jogging. I have a home gym that I use 4-5 times a week.
2. I eat fresh veggies and juice daily. I get fiber. I stay away from most grains and complex sugars.
3. I only drink water. I drink water to the point that I must pee at least once every one to two hours
The doctor looked at me not knowing what to say to my confessions. Seeing her unease, as I was not a normal patient, I proceeded to ask the doctor what other factors could influence or induce my body into such a state. I then started to ask my questions:
1. What sort of impact does caffeine have on the intestine?
2. How does stress contribute to constipation?
3. Is vertigo a precursor or sign?
The doctor told me that stress could cause the issue, but that stress could be a catalyst in just about any situation given the convergence of several necessary components. She then went on to state that while vertigo isn't a direct cause, it is a symptom of possible dehydration. I told her I had experienced slight vertigo the previous two days. I can only assume that the excessive heat at this time of year caused me additional fluid loss.
I then revisited my caffeine question. The doctor took a moment to weigh the question against potential answers and then told me that caffeine usually has one of two affects on people: it can cause drying up of the colon and it can cause an increase of liquid in the colon, both with varying degrees based on the persons body.
I must postulate at this point that there must be a connection between my caffeine abstinence and the recent onset of this new way my body is working. When I was drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks on a daily basis, I never had any issues going. In fact, within 6 months of removing caffeine I noticed that loose stool became almost non-existent for me. And I thought this was a good thing.
I am left in the quandary of whether I want to worry about potential impaction or whether I want to return to dealing with allergies. I will see if I can deal without both.
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