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Old 02-25-2003, 09:30 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9
Darcie8999 HB User
Thumbs up bowel retraining

Have any of you heard of Bowel Retraining? It is used when a person is unable to get their bowels to move. I did this retraining in Iowa City and it has helped me tremendously. It trains your brain to learn these simple things that we forget. Baby's are born knowing how to do it, but when we are sick for long periods of time, we forget how to go to the bathroom. Some people need a "reminder", like me. There are ten sessions, but I completed nine because the doc felt I learned what I needed to learn. If you are constipated, try doing deep breathing, not chest breathing, but stomach breathing slowly and hold it for a few seconds and release. And do it until you feel something working, or stop and try again later. Keep doing this every morning and you may find a pattern in your bowels. Don't sit on your rear-end, how can your bowels move if you are sitting on your bum? There are a lot of tricks to get your bowels to move. A warm drink, a warm shower, breakfast!, the breathing(try it you may be surprised), don't walk around squeezing your rear all day-relax! Untighten your muscles and breath slowly like I explained. Just thought this might help someone. I learned this from doctors in Iowa City.

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Old 02-25-2003, 04:07 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 45
fiber HB User

You are right. I start my morning with a hot mug of water, followed by a hot mug of lemon water and I have 3 bm's by lunch. I am active all morning, doing house cleaning. If I have to take a course or sit all morning, I cannot go. It just doesn't happen. I need to be active. Getting into a routine and eating your bran at the same time of day helps. Your system will improve and get used to this. It really works! Keep drinking tons of water!

Old 03-02-2003, 08:22 AM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 16
anna maria HB User

Wow, this is so interesting to me.
Darcie, if there are any other details of what you learned please share!
I've looked for this kind of info everywhere with no luck.

Old 03-02-2003, 10:53 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: stoughton WI USA
Posts: 4,085
mlgable HB User

Bowel retraining is often used for people who have chronic diseases or people who have been in a serious accident or with spinal injuries. It is also used in the elderly sometimes. It is not anything new. I plugged in Bowel retaining into my search engine and tons of links came up so the info is out there. Do a search and you should find plenty of info. One word of caution.........if you are an AOL user you do need to use a better browser like internet explorer or netscape.

Old 03-06-2003, 11:17 AM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9
Darcie8999 HB User

anna maria- the reason why I had this done was because I couldn't move my bowels anymore(at high school age!). Not even diarrhea, well I DID go now and then, but it would take days to go. My legs always felt numb for some reason, they felt achy all the time. They had no anwers for me, so I went to see a doctor in Iowa City at the University of Iowa City Hospitals. Call gastrointestinal dept. and ask to speak to the secretary to the doc who specializes in bowel retraining, then ask to locate a doc in your area that does this. When I had this done about 10 years ago, it was very new to this area. I was one of the youngest patients they had then, but is usually performed on the elderly. Of course they will test you and see if you need it, but if you are unable to move the bowel like you once used to, I would look into it. Now, my bowels MOVE!! Before they just sat there waiting for my colon to explode cause it couldn't hold anymore. Talk about cramping!

Old 03-07-2003, 09:52 AM   #6
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 16
anna maria HB User

I'm glad it worked for you.
I've been trying the breathing from the stomach technique and it is incredibly effective for me.
Thanks again for bringing this to my attention!
I've been dealing with fissures through diet etc. but I know the real culprit is my slow moving bowels so any other tricks that you can think of would be great to know.

Old 03-09-2003, 07:23 PM   #7
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9
Darcie8999 HB User

anna maria, I am so glad you tried the breathing! My mom actually jumps up and down to get things going. The laws of gravity! It works for her and I do it if I HAVE to but I am regular now and have a schedule so things just happen. If I sleep in, I can count on a bowel movement much later in the morn or even early afternoon. It's just always best to stick to a schedule and you are on your way! Do your breathing at the same time every day and soon or later, you will find you may not have to do the breathing. You are training your body and brain to work! You are doing your own training in your house for free! As said before, drink or eat something warm, warm showers, maybe a little exercise, even rubbing your tummy from right to left in a circular motion helps stimulate things. My little one has constipation and she does the breathing too! It works every time!

Old 03-09-2003, 07:30 PM   #8
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9
Darcie8999 HB User

anna maria, i forgot to comment about the slow moving bowels. I am still in search of learning how to make them move faster. I have slow moving bowels. Just make sure you relax until all is out. My oldest child has bowel movements fast as a speeding bullet. I would love that! When he goes, we all say "The rocket has landed!" hehehehe...... But, for now, just relax and take your time. Our peristolisis is just slower than others. I will let you know if I find anything though. Prayer always helps!

Old 03-10-2003, 08:47 AM   #9
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: chester
Posts: 23
nickyd HB User

hi...please can u tell me the address of this place as my 3 year old daughter has sereve chronic constapation....she has never emptyed her bowel....only through a klean-prep...which is every month...she has had tests...high fiber amount of laxatives...but still never been able 2 empty her bowels.

Old 03-10-2003, 11:49 AM   #10
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Michigan USA
Posts: 2
tedy HB User

I would like to hear about this retraining. I'm having real bowel problems. Went to the dr in June of 2002 he diagnoised gerd put me on reglan and prevacid. Was on reglan for 5 months I've read should only be on it for 12 weeks maximum. Have total loss of appetite and have since before Christmas this has caused marked weight loss and had CT, Upper GI series and Colonscopy done. Since then I have not had a normal bowel movement and must strain feverishly to do so. Am very ill. Can anyone hear advise me or should I start a new topic? Does anyone know of anyone who's had a similar problem? Does anyone know of these type of side effects if taking Reglan?

Old 03-10-2003, 02:24 PM   #11
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 547
kat721 HB User

With the problem of slow moving bowels you and your doctor must figure out why the bowels are slow. Are they really slow? or are they hindered by the colon being spastic? A spastic colon can create a slow moving bowel or a fast moving bowel just depending on the nature of the spasm.
If the condition is discovered to be spastic then there is a LOT of really good medicine available for treatment.
There is not test for a spastic colon.
The decision of a spastic colon is decided by a doctor who can decypher the symptoms.
Most of the time there is no organic reason for the spasms and then you get put into the category of IBS with diarreah or IBS with constipation.
Interestingly enough both the diarreah and the constipation versions are sometimes treated with similar meds with other meds being specific to each manifest condition.
The big key to retraining the bowel is to make sure you go when you have to.
Getting the bowel to go is half the battle. But then you have to work with the bowel when it says go and get up and seek out a toilet.
A lot of people work with retraining a bowel and then choose to ignore the urge when they are out away from home. Bowel retraining means making adjustments for the condition of your bowel and working out your activites to accomodate the need.
Excercise is vital and using coffee in the morning to give your bowels some stimulus by daily timing is also helpful.
Massage and foot reflexology helps too with the much needed relaxation phase of the process.
I have tried a lot of things fibre suppliments,
prescription meds, etc....but the absolute best thing that works for me is Raisin Braan with no soy additives and non fat plain yogurt mixed with water and poured over the cereal as yogurt milk.
I've had 3 surgeries in less than a year that have somehow all involved my colon and now, almost a year dowwn the road Raisin Bran,yogurt milk, exercise a good diet, medication for the specific problem and lots of water is what has helped me retrain my bowel.

P.S. a few months ago my bowel problems were about the
same intensity of trying to give birth to a watermelon anally. I was winding up in the hospital for medical help with my bowels and an I.V. full of meds so my poor heart wouldn't give me a heart attack.
Things are much better now. My bowels currently pass every day and they are no longer the terrible effort they once were. I still have good days and bad days but these days, bad days are nothing compared to my previous toilet traumas
Keep working with it. There's hope.

[This message has been edited by kat721 (edited 03-10-2003).]

Old 03-11-2003, 12:28 PM   #12
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Michigan USA
Posts: 2
tedy HB User

Hi Kat, Thanks for your answer and for replying. I know you have given me good advice however since I'm on reglan having been diagnosed as having GERD I'm not suppose to have coffee which I loved up until about 2 months ago, and also he says I shouldn't eat alot of fiber since my stomach isn't working well enough to digest it. These things are big hinderances to me. I am taking a colon cleanse fiber though and it seems to help a little. I work at a job that doesn't permit me to leave my desk unless I'm releived so I'm suppose to take my rest-room breaks during break which I think contributed to my problem because sometimes by the time I was free to go I couldn't go if you know what I mean.
Did you have loss of appetite at all? I keep force feeding myself and I'm tired of doing so. I read an article that says there is suppose to be medication out there to try to help increase your appetite but my doctor says he doesn't know of anything. Do you know anything about the side effects of Reglan and what medications it shouldn't be taken with?
I'm sorry to hear about your problems and surgeries. What kind of surgeries did you have if you don't mind me asking? That's one of my fears when I go see the gastroenterologist Friday. I know all about trying to pass watermelons and about fishing out the stool, etc. That's been my routine for over 2 months now. I also am having some pains in my chest but I figure it's because I'm in bed most of the day, have to really strain to have movement and due to the weakness. I don't know what state you live in but here I begged the doctor to put me in the hospital when this first started happening and several other times and he wouldn't do it. Something to do with the kind of HMO I have and the fact that they haven't found anything from all the tests that they did so they did chalk mine up to irritable bowel syndrome and depression and anxiety also. However I think the Reglan caused depression as I'm much better since I went off of it that way anyways.
There are days I just feel like curling up in my bed and just dieing. I'm sure you've been there probably a time or two yourself.
Anyways thanks for answering me back. It's nice to have someone to talk about this horrible thing with. Hope you can help with my other questions as well.

Old 03-12-2003, 01:21 PM   #13
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 547
kat721 HB User

Teddy, I don't know much about Reglan except that I recently ran across some information regarding it's side effect of stimulation the milk production hormone and it is also used with women who are breast feeding to increase milk production.
I always get a little cautious when stuff seems to go messing with the hormones like that. But then I tend to be hormone phobic coming from a family where the women get breast cancer.
The other contraindications I've seen seem pretty standard. Like for BP problems and such.
I think they gave me Reglan once for one of my surgeries. It didn't work near as well as phenergan for controling nausea.
Well, that's going to be tough going with your Doctor doing the restriction thing.
Tough to follow Doctors orders sometimes.
We are getting ready to change gastroenterologists over here. The only one I have liked so far was the one we had to leave behind when we moved this last summer. He was brilliant.
Since then finding a competant Gastro Doc has been a real challenge. I was lucky to find my Reproductive Endocrinologist who understands the bowel problems and helps out with my needs medicine wise.
My appointment with the new Gastro Doc is in April.
Yes, I went through a very bad period where I could not eat much. Didn't want to and if I did I was soon too sorry later. There were months that my stomach could not tolerate anything but Raisin Bran and Yogurt milk. I'd even eat that stuff dry for my snack.
When we drove to the new city where we now live I took Raisin Bran in the box for my road food. There I was riding in the moving truck with a bottled water and my Raisin Bran for 1,000 miles.
What's in that colon cleanse? Well at least THAT's working! Some days every little bit saves the day.
Yes, having the stress of a job that regulates your toilet time will put you into back up mode in an instant. It makes bowel training a real challenge.
Life should not be that difficult. It's terrible.
When I get all backed up, which hasn't happened in a while, I have used glycerine suppositories to at least get what is down low and stuck, going.
You might try this at home first. Time a toilet break. Go, try to make the BM on timed command. If nothing moves with out a lot of effort, insert a glycerine suppository and stand up and wait a few minutes.
When the bowel urge happens then sit down and try to get a movement going.
Glycerine will not wreck your colon and it will help to soften the lower contents of your bowel and maybe get a bit of pressure off your colon.
You don't have to ingest it so it shouldn't mess with the concern over your upper GI issues.
Do this often enough and soon the bowel gets a clue.
It's worth a try but don't try it at work until you are comfortable with the process and it's getting you the results you want.
I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
Here's Hoping!
My surgeries were originally for female problems. But they found my colon involved with the female problems so that's where the Irritable Bowel thing came in.
My Colon was wraped around my ovary on the lefts side and both the colon and the ovary were stuck to the muscle of the pelvic wall by adhesions and endometriosis.
It was a huge mess and my surgery ran 4 1/2 hours on the clean up gettng my colon free of that mess.
20 days after they removed most of my female organs and cleaned up the exterior colon, my colon went tilt and stopped working altogether. It was pretty scary.
I went to the Emergency Room because my pain was in the insane hysteria level and I was taken to the Operating Room as soon as they had available space and could get me ready to go.
I went through a huge ordeal getting my bowels to work again even after the emergency surgery.
Constipations is some scary business. It can turn life threatening so fast.
I am not allowed (Doctors orders) to get constipated anymore.
If I "go there" I have to go to the ER for bowel help.
They usually give me some I.V. mds or do an enema with soap. I don't do home enemas anymore. The day of my Emergency Surgery I called the doctor to discuss my constipation and he told me to use a fleet enema. My friend went to the pharmacy and we followed Doctors orders and from that point on things quickly escalated from bad to worse to beyond immaginable reality.
It was a bonified horror show.
So we just don't do enemas at home anymore. It's the Hospital ER if things get that bad.
I had my 3rd surgery several months after the colon extravagaanza. More pain, more trouble. This time my Reproductive Endocrinologist did the surgery.
He was tending my one remaining ovary but while he was in there he found my colon stuck once again to the Pelvic muscle. So he lysed those adhesions and had to move my colon back to it's place because somehow it had managed to travel a far piece up before it attached it self somewhere else. Since he had a lot of experience with adhesions, he knew to use a gel barrier to help my body defend it self against adhesion formation. It's now two months later and I don't have near the pain and problems I had after the first surgery so things are looking up. The first month though, I still had to make a major effort to keep my bowels moving. Colons do not like surgery. They don't like being moved either so they tend to get sluggish after such procedures. But since I already had 2 surgeries, I knew what to do this time to make the bowels wake up.
Live and learn.
I'll bet you are having some pains in your chest from all that straining and toilet trauma! Heck, my heart freaked out and I eventually went to the cardiologist to find out that I had been walking around with heart failure.
I was one sick puppy. I am now on a ridiculously high dose of a Beta Blocker an Ace inhibitor and a Diuetic.
Craziness to control my pulse that became chronically bad. And I must wonder if I could have avoided all this intense trauma if only someone, including my self, would have figured out the problems a little more early on instead of my body having to go into break down mode on so many different levels.
Well, believe it or not, that's the short version.
After you pick yourself up off the floor from being so tired from reading you need to make a question list for your doctor visit on Friday. List all your fears and concerns and ask the important questions and keep exploring until you get the answers that make your situation better.
There are answers. They are just hard to find sometimes.
Take care and good luck with your next Doctor visit.
Keep me posted.

By the way here's a link for you>>>
for information on reglan including possible side effects.

Old 04-08-2003, 07:16 AM   #14
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: eddy,tx, usa
Posts: 12
amanda dzamba HB User

I had a problem with chronic constipation for about 3 yrs. I could never go to the bathroom and 3 or more weeks would pass without ever bloating or feeling like I had to go. My doctor tried to do the retraining and it didn't work. He tried giving me internal injections (ouch!!!!!) then retraining but it still did not help. Eventually it was determined after many tests that my large intestine was not functioning (basically a dead colon). To make a long story short I had a total colectomy (removal of large intestine) about a month ago and now I am functioning great. I am glad that all of you are doing okay on the retraining and I hope that none of you have to go through what I went through. Good luck guys.

Old 04-08-2003, 07:23 PM   #15
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: chicago, IL, USA
Posts: 137
giupset HB User

Have you tried flaxseed oil caplets? Don't know but that may or may not help, depending on the cause of your problem which is not really known at this time.

I got in the holistic mode and included the above. I already have leakage and discovered this only causes more. Eat plenty of fruits and drink a lot of water which you probably already know.

FYI - Reglan is for peristalsis (to speed up the bowel) and is many times given after abdominal surgery as well until your first bowel movement. If you're on any other drugs, this may contribute to the constipation (e.g. pain meds, relaxers, etc.).

Good luck.

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