No. Constipation isn’t fun.
Believe me, I know. At age 32, I only knew that going to the loo (you know…#2) was normally a matter of every five days, if not more. I never knew anything different. Not without mentioning the effort every time but also the clueless way of living like this…
…until I noticed a lump in my lower belly.
-“OMG, what’s this? Seriously, what’s this!”
-“Let’s see.” (Touches desperately trying to think as if I was someone else, just like those times when I’m examining a patient.)
-“Think, Mariana, think. Anatomy classes. This is the lower intestine, okay. But also, there’s the left ovary around.”
-“OMG what if I have a tumour in my ovary!”
-“Wait, no…what else? There’s also the uterus, more intestine, the pancreas as well.”
-“OMG what if I have a tumour in my pancreas!? That’s massively aggressive and dangerous and even terminal!”
I lost my head.
I’m a doctor but before that, I’m a person. And when it comes to your own health or a beloved one’s, your knowledge becomes pretty much useless in most cases, at least in mine and I accept that fact. It’s certainly a safe and responsible practice when you know this.
Long story short: I was going crazy for several weeks. I was scared and thinking the worst. Having sleepless nights out of fear. The lump was still there, it wasn’t moving, it felt deep and attached. But it was painful, which usually means something not as malign. And again, my thoughts wandered through the darkest and most awful paths of my mind’s medical library.
I decide to get checked.
Gynecological check up: all good.
Abdominal ultrasound: all good.
Okay, all good but the lump and the pain are still there. Months passing by. I’ve had enough. Also, I love to travel, which means eating so many different foods. I don’t want to skip them every time, or having to suffer when on the road or at home. I want to eat food normally, argh!
After talking about this situation with colleague friends, one of them highly recommended her Ayurvedic doctor in Barcelona. I had no idea about Ayurveda but it didn’t matter. I would go for it completely. This seemed to be related to my forever constipation issue and I had no idea where to start. Her suggestion felt right. I was desperate, my stomach was eternally bloated, which meant frequent headaches, joint pains and more. Stuff that nowadays, after my own experience, I can only relate to a bad and chronic digestive health. Yes, that’s how bad and deep it can get.
There I was, suddenly at this Ayurvedic doctor’s office.
Such a diverse way of checking up on you than I would’ve imagined. After all, I’m only trained on the occidental medical way. This was interesting and way out of my league. But I was curious and most of all, in need. As he asked a few and simple questions he hold my wrist at all times, checking my heart beat.
He then examined me while standing up, abdomen included. That was hectic. After a while he explained on how my dosha types are mixed, according to Ayurvedic medicine and on how I’m highly and chronically dehydrated. He explained widely on how certain food combinations we make are usually bad for our digestive tracks and on how chronic inflammation feels pretty much like all the signs I had all along, according to his examination. I fiercely believed it all.
He suggested a one-month treatment which was all natural Ayurvedic remedies, along with some dietary fixes. I agreed and took it all.
After a month of being a persistent and consistent patient, while taking the special infusion before every meal, the special pill of mixed digestive herbs after every meal, and while avoiding and learning largely of all the food combinations that us westerners make so commonly and terribly much, my stomach began to behave differently. Two weeks in and the treatment felt like failure. Little did I know how everything would make a turn in just a matter of days.
It’s been two years now since I had to undergo that treatment.
Nothing ever helped me like it before. All my medical years and all my medical diagnoses, suspicions, tests and beyond would never let me know what a regular bowel activity and proper digestion really feels like.
For the first time in my 32 years of life by that time, I knew what going to the toilette every day for one week in a row felt like (…you know, #2).
Since then, it wasn’t just magic and rainbows all along. After my 1-month treatment was over, I feared that everything would go back to the old bad normal again. But I was determined. And I began reading and studying about all the Ayurvedic basics, about my dosha types and what they meant. About the food. Yes, it’s mostly about the food and the way you combine it all. And yes, food is delicious! A new world opened right in front of my eyes and my hands. I had to learn a lot and I still do, and nothing has ever been so rewarding and challenging at the same time.
The difference now is that I know my body better. It’s always changing and telling me things, but I know how to listen and to understand which things are good and which ones aren’t. I know now that I need a proper water intake every day, and as simple as this: if I don’t drink 1,5 litre of water every day, after three days, I’ll be constipated. If I don’t have at least one fruit and two vegetables (or viceversa) a day, I’ll be constipated.
If I do little hacks that I’ve discovered for my self, for example, taking one glass of warm water first thing in the morning, or one teaspoon of chia seeds or flaxseed left overnight in water and drinking it in the morning, or knowing that we need aprox 30 grams of fibre every day, which to me it translates into 10 dried prunes per day, for example. If I do two or three of these little hacks on daily basis, I now know that I’ll be okay.
Yes, I get tired at times about having to observe my habits so much. I even think that my family and friends got worried about my suddenly weird food lifestyle. I can understand, but I didn’t really care. I was happier trying to have a good relationship with my body, finally. Dear family, thanks for taking my craziness. It was for good reasons. Atte, Mariana’s happy bowel.
But when everything is running normally like never before, then I’m just grateful and happy that I can eat an ice cream or a big fatty burger on special occasions simply because I follow my little hacks every day and then my bowel is a happy one.
Which, by the way, I’ve also learned that it’s in the digestive track where a major percentage of body defenses are produced. No wonder why a happy bowel means a happy body, happy sleep, happy brain, happy mood, happy skin, happy everything. I really didn’t believe in all of this stuff…
…until I noticed a lump in my lower belly.
In case you can relate with my story or know someone who could do, please pass it along. I made this chart below for you as a reminder of how you too can observe your body, get to know it and come up with your own little hacks in order to live better.
A happy body will take you long way if you want to.
Image credits: Google Images