Angry bowel pixies and how to cope with them.

After over two decades of suffering from severe ill-health a doctor a few weeks ago finally told me that I won’t be getting better.  So for the last few weeks I’ve been processing this and tonight I realised something.  That while I won’t be getting better I do have a wealth of knowledge about how to cope with the symptoms I suffer from.   Everything I mention below is based on my own personal experience so if you do decide to use any of it please temper it with what you know about your own body.

Chronic diarrhea is a nightmare to live with.  Imagine not being able to go anywhere unless you plan out in advance where you might be able to reach a toilet. Or knowing that no matter what you eat a few hours later it will make a commanding appearance in a form more associated with Real Ale. It’s revolting, humiliating, smelly and it doesn’t exactly have a wonderful consistency either. But believe it or not the worst part of suffering from this for me at least is a combination of the post attack burn and feeling dirty all the time.

The latter is at least easily managed with a few simple pieces of forethought.  Carry baby-wipes, most of them are medicated which helps a lot and some even moisturise.  Wipe with toilet paper first to get rid of as much fecal matter as you can and then do a final polish with a wipe.

The post attack burn is a little tougher to deal with.  The only thing that I’ve found which helps is what I think of as a micro-douche.  Yep thats right a very small squirt of clean water up the jacksie.  Now here’s the thing about this, it has to be a very small amount.  You’re not cleaning your anal cavity out, only the first couple of centimeters so that the material causing the burn there is cleaned away.  This is something I use very rarely and only when the burn is keeping me awake or incapable of sitting.

The next biggest problem is the painful ache that seems to run from somewhere under the ribcage all the way to the rectum.  Seriously for anyone who hasn’t experienced this imagine a rope dipped in ground glass which has been sawed back and forth for an hour and you’re getting close to what this feels like.  I have never found a painkiller that touches it but I have found a trick that can help a lot.  Take the common garden variety hot water bottle.  Then put it in the sort of hollow made by where your bum and thighs meet.  I don’t know why but the heat seems to radiate up through the body in the most soothing way.  The bonus though is that it also makes cramping much more bearable.

Speaking of which cramping is a real pain in the…well you know.  They can be anything from just uncomfortable to being so profoundly painful that they drive you to your knees, literally.  To illustrate one day when climbing down out of a bus I got a really bad random cramp.  When it had passed I realised I was lying on the ground with about fifty people staring at me.  I’m afraid there isn’t much I’ve found that can help here. But being aware of what’s around you so you don’t slam face first into a marble countertop if one hits is a good habit to develop.

Some people occasionally soil themselves when they suffer from these symptoms.  Often this is purely because it’s very hard to hold onto something that’s totally liquid.  Well luckily there is a way to make it a little safer when you’re out and about. Maternity pads it turns out aren’t just useful for pregnant women.  Just position them so they will intercept anything that tries to execute a great escape.  It might just give you those few moments you need to run to the nearest ladies room.

Unfortunately the most insipid symptom is exhaustion. It is almost mind numbingly exhausting to sit on the toilet for hour after hour.  It wears at your soul and body.  The only advice here is to rest when you can. Learn from arctic explorers, when there’s nothing to do, do nothing and conserve your energy.  In essence have a nap or read a book, hey if you want you could even watch a soap-opera but really haven’t you just had enough drama in your life?

Apart from all this if there’s one piece of advice I can give its carry a small tube of Savlon everywhere with you.  It’s soothing and promotes healing of the skin, neither is to say the least a bad thing.

So I hope this might help someone out there to survive a really bad day with a severe bowel problem. Ah hell I’ll be happy if it helps someone out there survive the morning after a night in the local Indian.

3 Comments to “Angry bowel pixies and how to cope with them.”

  1. You are Celiac.

    • I’m assuming that comment is a question. The answer being not to my knowledge. I have been tested for it several times with a negative result each time.

      If your comment was a statement I will say this Shane. Even if you were a doctor you have no business making such statements. I’m guessing that you are celiac yourself or have a partner who is. And if so you have my sympathies, but don’t make the mistake of applying your experience to everyone who has similar symptoms.

      Anyway thank you for taking the time to read my piece, and comment on it.

  2. More soluble fiber to bulk your stool up (NOT insoluble fiber-this will make them ANGRIER) – avoid conventional wheat & dairy products – vegetables: two for every other thing you eat – proper hydration – eat smaller portions, slower & more often – give the bowels ten to twelve hours between daily feedings (I don’t eat after 10pm & don’t eat breakfast before 8am) – digestive enzymes with all food – probiotics on an empty stomach before bed and upon waking.
    My doc told me the same thing; chronic. I didn’t take that as acceptable so I took matters into my own hands. The above suggestions gave me an opportunity to regain my health & really live. I started with something called GAPS. It was really inconvenient, but not more than the symptoms. In two years, I have not completely healed, but am way better than I ever thought possible. Best of luck.

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