Let’s start with this – gut health is really, really important, and science is just beginning to discover just how important gut health really is, since gut bacteria create neurochemicals such as serotonin, as well as create vitamins to keep your brain healthy. Hippocrates said that “all disease begins in the gut” – which of course not ALL disease does, but many metabolic disorders do.
I myself went through a random change in bowel movements not too long ago and also had persistent bloating for a few months (not the type of bloating you get periodically when your stomach is upset but rather constant, “I look like I’m pregnant” bloating) as well as developed chronic constipation after never having constipation in my life. However, this wasn’t constipation in lack of bowel movements – they were regular – but rather dry and difficult to pass ones. So, I’ve had months and months on end of trying to figure things out. My latest scare was that the chronic constipation then led to seeing blood in the toilet which ended up being hemorrhoids that was caused by the straining.
“It takes actual work to heal your gut”
Doctors can often help give you guidance with these things, but unless you end up doing tests like x-rays, colonoscopy, endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or whatever the doc sees fit, then it can be really difficult to see what’s wrong with you. The digestive system is very complicated. Plus, those tests (especially colonoscopy) have their risks, so it is up to you to decide whether the benefits outweigh those risks. Unless surgery is required, many times what’s really going to heal it is your diet along with some supplements. It takes actual work to heal your gut.
After I saw the blood in the toilet, I was SO freaked out. I made a doc appointment, but I knew I needed to do something to not strain with bowel movements anymore. I was always nervous to try stool softeners or laxatives (many of them can actually irritate your gut and might treat the symptoms, but possibly even worsen the cause), and I knew just treating the symptoms wasn’t going to be enough. I said to myself as though speaking to my body, “please, PLEASE let me know what you need to heal. I don’t know what to do!”
It was at that point that I really started paying attention to how my body felt. Because I was scared. And unfortunately, sometimes it takes a scare like that to really get us to pay attention. To be more sensitive to what our bodies are going through.
Two Cups of Coffee Daily Was Irritating My Gut
I started taking whole organic psyllium husk, flax oil and coconut oil with daily smoothies which is helping tremendously, but I began to realize other important things about my body. I realized that my two daily cups of coffee that I down were actually irritating my gut (it took me like a year to see this. Sometimes we just don’t see what we don’t want to see). Coffee provides a laxative effect which I thought was good, but I felt and discovered that it was actually quite harsh (when you’re downing at least 2 cups of coffee a day like I was). When I looked up “coffee and digestive issues” on Google, it was FULL of research on this.
So if you are experiencing gut problems and you’re still drinking coffee, you have to cut it back. Just do it! It’s important to see how it might help. I cut mine back to one cup per day, and I drink it slowly throughout the day instead of downing it. I also add coconut oil to my coffee (see this awesome blog post from Wellness Mama for a great coconut oil coffee recipe), though I fully intend on switching to an herbal coffee alternative after I wean myself off of my drug.
Many times we’ll find excuses to keep doing what we want to do even though it may be harming us. I am a TRUE coffee addict. I’ve been drinking it since I was 13, drinking it at midnight never keeps me up; I love coffee. And maybe one cup of coffee isn’t such a big deal – but it’s important to just try cutting it back and seeing how you feel.
The Small Things Matter: Pay Attention!
When it comes to healing your gut, the subtle, small things matter. You really need to pay attention and tune into your body; once you do, you’ll be on the road to healing.