my specialist has told me that i must have soft stools as i'm developing hems once again...
They are between grade 1 and 2, no bleeding.
The problem is i have had 2 surgeries in the past already and having soft stools is difficult now for some reason. I usually go twice in the morning. The first one is almost always a little hard just at the beginning which causes me to strain to get things started. The second bowel movement is a breeze, no problem there. I have some scarring so this could be an issue.
I try to eat properly but i will confess i could go better so that's first on the list. He recommended i take Metamucil everyday. Has anyone else had success with this?
I will probably need something i can use long term so it must be safe for this. I'm terrified of using any laxatives long term as i saw the results of this with my aunt and the horrible problems she has now.
Take plenty of olive oil with your food. It is a natural stool softener and is much better for you than those over-the-counter laxatives. (Read my other posts for a fuller account of its benefits.)
I know what you mean about the hard beginning of a stool and it's usually that bit that does the damage to your anus and hemorrhoids. The bit that follows is usually soft. I think it is because the end of the stool has 'dried out' from the water you consume and the only way to stop that happening is to create an emulsified stool (oil and water) that resists drying out at its very end or may dry out but at least maintains some oiliness to keep it fairly soft.
When I'm out for a few days and cannot stick to my oily intake I am well aware that that first passing can do a lot of damage down there. If I think I am going to have a problem I'll douche the colon with water and wash out that first bit with plenty of water. It usually does the trick. You can get a simple hand held rubber douche from that well known on-line auction house that starts with e.
I was taking extra virgin olive oil some time back but it didn't seem to make much difference. I would take 2 tablespoons morning and evening. Is that enough? How much do u consume daily? I do drink quite a lot of water daily also.
I take about three desert spoons with my main meals i.e. breakfast dinner and supper. That is also on top of a couple of desert spoons of coconut oil. I'm very active so I can take the extra calories without worrying about putting on weight but if you are concerned about putting on weight then increase your intake of coconut oil and reduce the olive oil accordingly.
I'll also take a couple of sachets of soluble fiber every day. Too much oil and fiber will lead to stools bordering on the runs so you have to experiment to get the balance right to suit your own constitution. It's not easy to get it right every day. Sometimes the stools tend to be a bit too hard for my liking (particularly that first bit) and other days they might be a bit too soft. But as long as they don't cause pain or blood then you can say you've had a successful day. It's an art difficult to get absolutely right because of all the other things you eat which might effect how things develop in your gut, but as long as you take oil, water and fiber in good quantities then I don't see how you can fail to have reasonably soft stools.
My usual failing is not taking enough water because I often forget to drink when I'm working so I think the few times I have a 'hard start' is down to lack of adequate water. But at least I managed to cure my anal fissure with the oil, water and fiber intake and it hasn’t returned yet so it has worked for me well so far (fingers crossed).
I wouldn’t recommend over-the-counter laxatives to anybody as they can be bad for you with continuous use but oil, water and fiber is the natural way to go for sustainable long-term self help.
The Cretans consume about a pint and a half of olive oil a week with their food and they are the most long lived people in Europe so they must be doing something right in consuming that amount. But don't just take my word for it. There is enough evidence out there on the benefits of olive oil and coconut oil in your diet so I would recommend that you do your own research and draw your own conclusions. A good place to start is to type (or copy and paste) ‘The skinny on fats Mary Enig’ into a search engine and have a read. Cheers.
It's good stuff, nothing wrong with using it according to Mary Enig who is a food nutritionist I trust because she backs up her views with sound evidence.
There are a lot of misunderstandings about ghee because it basically is reformed butter and the margarine industry has managed to turn people away from butter with a very pervasive propaganda campaign that margarine is better for your health when actually there is no evidence for their claims and the opposite is true. Personally I prefer coconut oil instead of ghee because it last longer once you have opened the container and I'm a bit of a waste not sort of person.
I can only speak from personal experience but yes slow transit time can cause a hardened end to the stool because (if you think about it logically) it has had longer for the water to be drawn into your colon i.e. dry out so to speak. It's then that the douche comes into its own as it flushes the area to help ease expulsion.
Re foods. Obviously plenty of fruit is going to help make soft stools and any other things that don't take a lot of time for your digestive juices to break down. Meats probably take the longest to break down because of the fat content and probably all lipids including vegetable oils but not coconut oil because it is a medium chain fatty acid and doesn't require bile salts to act on it first.
The thing you want to watch is nuts. If you are feeling tender down below then nuts that have not been digested and broken down completely by your stomach acids can be quite abrasive as they pass through your colon. Having said that I don't avoid them I just make sure I really grind them with my teeth before swallowing. One you start being conscious of chewing it's amazing how many things you swallow without pulping them first. I eat anything and everything, even hot spices though I might tone them down a bit if I am having a hemorrhoid flare-up as I hate feeling like a space rocket.
If you are going to start taking olive oil try taking one of your doses in a glass of tomato juice in the evening. It is a really tasty drink although a bit gloopy with the oil but still nice. As you are a 'bloke' the tomato will have a beneficial effect on your prostate gland. The statistical evidence of the benefits of tomatoes in avoidance of prostate cancer is very high (check it out). So you can kill two birds with one stone as it were.
I don't think it matters too much but the aim is to try to get an even textured emulsified stool and the way to do that I believe is to take the oil with some food or drink so that it mixes nicely in your stomach. Imagine you are a concrete mixer (ha ha).
I have been known to swig neat olive oil from the bottle when I've got home having been out for a meal. After a while (when you take it like that) you start to appreciate the different flavours and why you pay more for one brand than another. Always try to buy it in dark bottles so that light is kept away from oxidising it and turning it rancid. You pay a bit more but you can be sure you are getting fresh oil. Most people are ignorant (as I was) that supermarkets are probably selling rancid oil if they keep it and store it in clear bottles for any length of time and the customers don't know the storage times. In dark bottles it will last for ages in a cool place. The most expensive (and best) oil I have ever bought and tasted was Australian oil which I paid about £8 for. I was surprised because most of the best oils are reputedly supposed to come from Crete or Greece. After a while you start to look at the brands and where they come from like you would look at wines. After I've bought a brand I haven't tried before I'll take a few swigs just to do a 'tasting'.
I'm not alone because at the point of harvest and after the process of crushing the cold olives professional oil tasters then decide on its quality and price it accordingly. There are international standards they have to follow so that an oil from Italy can be rated equally with an oil from Spain etc. Quite fascinating when you get into it. The only difference between oil and wine is that you don't pay a premium for the 'year' of harvest with oil as it is not a commodity that will store for years so there is no point. Oil buffs tend to favour certain plantations and varieties of olive over year of harvest. I'm rambling, sorry.
Re fiber. Mary Enig advises against the 'processed' cereals because they've been subjected to extreme heat and messed about with to make them more palatable for people who find chewing 'whole' grains difficult i.e. grains that have just been crushed or shredded or whatever. Any sort of bran tastes a bit like cardboard but like you I cheer them up a bit with fruit and coconut oil is great with them.
Keep rambling, i find it all very interesting and helpful.
I had the most effortless bowel movement today that i have had in months. I never thought i could be so happy about such a thing.
I hope very much i can keep it up with the combination of oil and fibre like u suggested KB. The mods here should make your advice on this a sticky here on the forum so others could link to it right away. Imo, it is very valuable info and thank u very much for it.
I haven't tried the coconut oil yet(haven't been able to find it just yet) and i'm not concerned about weight gain from the olive oil so do u still suggest both?
Try to keep your balance between omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids roughly balanced. That will involve taking an omega 3 supplement in the form of cold pressed flax oil and/or cod liver oil. I take both but don't over do. About a teaspoon of flax oil and a high strength cod liver oil capsule will do the trick and eat plenty of fish (about 3 portions a week is recommended).
Mary Enig believes that it is the imbalance between these two fatty acids that could be the cause of many of the degenerative illnesses suffered by people in developed countries because in less developed countries where they obtain a natural balance in their native diet they don't suffer anywhere near the same amount of illness. She backs that view with evidence. Margarine and other polyunsaturated fatty acids are the culprit for too much omega 6 consumed in the developed world, but if you have read the link I gave you you will already be aware of that. It is theorised in recent research that overloading the body with omega 6 leads to cell inflammation which can break out in all sorts of illnesses the cause of which have been a puzzle for years.
I have suggested in other threads that getting your diet right is an 'art form'. What I mean by that is that your body has an unusual knack of adjusting to what you eat and going back to equilibrium i.e. hard stools (if that is what you normally get). What I do to compensate for that natural tendency towards equilibrium is to avoid the exact quantities of oil, fiber, fruit vegetables etc. every day. I try to surprise by intestines by ringing subtle changes so that it doesn't get lazy. But I don’t cut down on water in fact I don’t drink enough usually.
Thanks, i'll work on that balance and i"ll try and get more fish in my diet. I do eat sardines on occasion and love my fish n chips but i'm not sure if those count.
Another thing i've noticed. I love bananas. I was eating them everyday but i have a sneaking suspicion they may have made my digestion slower contributing to some hard stools as when i stop them things seemed easier.
There are basically 2 types of fiber that make your bowels move.
Insoluble and soluble fibers and you need a combination of both to have normal BMs.
Insoluble fiber does not abosorb fluids but causes the intestine to contract causing digested food to move through your intestines and out.
Soluble fiber absorbs fluids and bulks up your stool.
A person needs 25 to 35 grams of fiber for normal BMs. Soluble fiber causes your stool to be softer and sorta lubricated.
Insoluble fiber is all fruits, and all veggies . The outer bran part of all grains, beans, legumes, and peas. Also, nuts and seeds. Green beans are an insoluble fiber. And, Fibercon is consider insoluble type fiber.
Soluble fiber is the inner parts of all grains, beans &peas. The root veggies like potatoes(both white and sweet) carrots, beets and turnips are all soluble. And of course OTC fibers like psyllium seed in Metamucil, Guar Gum that is in Benefiber, methylcellulose in Citrucel, and Fiber Choice that contains chiory root(Inulin) are all soluble fibers.
All meats, seafood and dairy products do not contain any fiber.
Of course you need to take essential fatty acids that are in oils-- like flaxseed and Omega 3 fish oils as well as others. They are needed to help replace all cells in your body. A way that you can tell if you get too much oil in your diet is that your stool floats.
Last edited by Harry; 02-28-2009 at 11:40 PM.
Yes, thanks for that useful detail about fiber Harry. I think most fiber supplements are unnecessary if you eat adequate amounts of fruit and veg, but it's always a helpful and useful option to be able take additional soluble fiber for a quick fix to an immediate problem, that is how I tend to use it when I have a hemorrhoid flare-up.
Re floating stools, I know oil is lighter than water but in my exerience it hasn't followed than an emulsified stool necessarily has enough oil within it to make it float. I have found that too much oil just causes runny stools, it does with me anyway but I must admit that it is usually when I'm taking a fiber supplement as well. My most successful oily stools are so smooth that they sometimes shoot straight round the bend before I can have a chance to take a look. LOL.
You have awakened a curiosity so I shall inspect more. I have however read that having floating stools (for whatever reason) is a good thing (I know you didn't imply that) but in my reasoning using that as a 'test' for a good stool (as some health advisers do) is a bit hit and miss and a bit too simple for my liking. But hey lets just celebrate the fact that we have a soft stool eh.
I'm trying to find the right combination of these fibres. My problem is even if the stool is fairly soft, if it is too big it is still hard for me to pass as a result from my past surgery. The optimal BM for me is the soft smaller pieces instead of the the large long ones which i seem to have more than the other.
One thing i try to do if i know i'm going to have a difficult time is use my stomach muscles to help out instead of the rectal ones. What is the biggest difference between coconut and olive oil other than the calorie intake?
Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid and it doesn't require your bile salts to break it down before it is digestible, so it is quicker to digest. As a consequence it gives you either quick energy or quick heat. Athletes use it for energy; I use it for both because I'm very active in the garden and in the winter it can really help keep me warm. They contain different fatty acids and that's why I like to take both. Olive oil I take more for its lubricating and emulsifying qualities. Coconut oil is nicer to take if you like coconuts. LOL
I know what you mean about having the soft smaller pieces of stool and I usually get them if I take a lot of fiber as well and sometimes I'll try to have those sort if I'm having a hem flare-up.
Good tip about using your stomach muscles; I must give it a try.
My best days are when I have a bm which doesn't feel as if I've passed anything at all but when I look into the pan I've actually passed a lorry load.
You've probably had that experience too. It's an Hallelujah moment.