Most people experience constipation at some point in their life. They make a note to eat more fiber and expect everything to go back to normal in a day or two. Luckily, for the better percentage of those inflicted, this method works. Not so lucky are the ones who are battling something much more serious than the occasional bout of constipation.
Constipation is a condition that can be very difficult to find the originating cause. There are so many different causes, from medicines to lifestyle changes, that pin-pointing the true cause of the constipation can be like finding a needle in a haystack.
One potential cause that medical experts are looking very closely at is the relation of high blood sugar and constipation. What effect does blood sugar have on the digestive system? Are diabetics at higher risk for constipation?
As it turns out, diabetics are definitely more at risk of experiencing constipation. Nearly 60% of all diabetics also suffer from constipation. Abnormal blood sugar levels can negatively affect many of the bodyâs systems and functions. When blood sugar levels are elevated, the nerves in the intestines that control the length of time waste stays in the body can be seriously damaged. The nerves canât do their job properly and food waste begins to build up in the intestines. This doesnât happen over night, of course. This condition affects type 1 diabetics who have been using insulin for a number of years.
Another disastrous effect high blood sugar has on the gastrointestinal system is Gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is when nerves in the stomach are damaged to the point that they can no longer work properly. The stomach doesnât know when to send the food through the digestive tract. Up to 75% of diabetics also have Gastroparesis.
How Does High Blood Sugar Damage the Nerves of the Intestine?
High blood sugar damages the actual blood vessels that carry oxygen and essential nutrients to the nerves of the stomach and intestine, or the vagus nerves. With the necessary nutrients and oxygen severely reduced, or stopped from reaching the vagus nerves, the digestive system goes into a state of shock. The food waste backs up and it can cause terrible complications.
The difference between Gastroparesis and constipation is that with Gastroparesis, food waste gets stuck in or near the stomach, and in constipation the waste builds up in the small intestine. How can one tell a difference? Here are some of the symptoms of Gastroparesis:
- Vomiting of undigested food
- Bloating and loss of appetite
- Heartburn, acid reflux and nausea
- Weight loss and stomach spasms
Gastroparesis can be a chronic condition and in severe cases require surgery to remedy.
Constipation can be diagnosed in a patient exhibiting the following signs:
- No bowel movements for 3 consecutive days
- Hard stools 25% of the time during bowel movements
- Straining at 25% of bowel movements
- Have two or less bowel movements per week
Treat the Cause, not the Symptom
Itâs important to understand that constipation is a symptom and not the disease. By that, I mean there must be an underlying reason for the constipation. In this case, itâs the high blood sugar level thatâs causing the constipation, not the other way around. You need to treat the cause to remedy the symptom. Treat the high blood sugar and your chances of experiencing constipation will decrease.
Constipation, while very dangerous if left untreated, is usually an easy condition to get rid of. Eating a healthier diet, with more fiber and water can greatly reduce the chances of constipation. Exercise can also have a great impact on keeping a healthy digestive tract. With both conditions, the key is to control your blood sugar levels. Healthy diets, exercise and water can help keep blood sugar levels closer to a normal level, but of course diabetics may still require assistance in controlling their sugar levels.
The New England Journal of Medicine did a study of class 2 diabetics and the effects that eating a high fiber diet can have on blood sugar levels. There were 2 groups of participants. In the first group, they were instructed to follow a diet that included 24 grams of fiber per day for six weeks. The second group did the same thing, but had to have 50 grams of fiber per day. After six weeks, the two groups switched diet regimens and followed that diet for six more weeks. It was found that when both groups were on the higher fiber diet, their blood sugar levels were lowered by 10%.
If you are diabetic and you are suffering from severe constipation, itâs time to get your blood sugar tested. The longer you wait, the more serious it can become.
The Colon Cleansing & Constipation Resource Center
Hangover is the name given to the heady sensation that follows a heavy alcoholic consumption. Generally, hangovers are felt when the mind returns to its proper faculties, i.e. the intoxication has worn off. Hangovers are felt mostly in the mornings following an alcoholic session the previous night. The general characteristics of hangovers are a feeling of nausea, vomiting, heaviness in the stomach, headache, sensitivity to light and noise, excessive thirst and lethargy. The symptoms may widely vary from one person to another. In people with low resistance to alcohol, there can be diarrheas, fevers and pains in the joints and muscles due to a hangover.
The alcohol that humans normally consume is ethyl alcohol. In its pure form it is a colorless liquid which is very easily miscible in water. For this reason, no sooner does the alcohol hit the stomach than it gets dissolved in the blood stream. The presence of the alcohol in the blood reduces the nervous impulses. This is what leads to the intoxicated feeling when one is drunk. But if the feeling continues until the next morning, then the person will suffer from a hangover.
Just indulging in drinking binges is not enough; it is very essential to know how to tackle a potential hangover. Not only will a hangover spoil the day for you, but it will also wreak havoc on your health. When one drinks, there is a loss of water and essential nutrients from the body. Hence, along with fighting a hangover, the person must also replenish the lost nutrients.
Ayurveda has developed several effective therapies to solve the hangover problem since the time when the maharajas used to drink alcohol. The following are some of the very effective therapies that have been in use:-
1. First and foremost, one should never drink on an empty stomach. It is ideal to drink after or with some filling food. That is why the concept of appetizers and starters has arisen. The food to be taken in accompaniment with alcohol must be ideally a fatty food. This will increase the vata and help the body to get prepared for the alcohol better. Even otherwise, the fried food will stick to the inner lining of the gastrointestinal tract and retard the assimilation of alcohol in the blood stream.
2. Water is the best natural therapy that can be used to fight a hangover. Ideally, a person must drink as many glasses of water as they have had of the alcoholic drink. The water can be had early in the next morning to assuage the effects of the alcohol.
3. Citrus fruits are very beneficial in fighting hangovers. A glass of juice of a fresh orange or lemon, sweetened with sugar is good. Also, bananas are effective. Bananas contain fructose (a carbohydrate which helps the body to regain its lost energy) and potassium, which is one of the nutrients voided by the frequent urination that alcohol causes. Kiwi fruits are also rich in proteins.
4. Caffeine and chocolate have positive effects on a hangover. After an alcoholic binge, chomp on a bar of chocolate or drink a cup of coffee. This will help you regain your nerve impulses. Though, too much of coffee could eliminate the nutrients from the body further. Hence, not more than one cup of coffee must be taken.
5. The morning after the alcoholic binge, have a breakfast of two sunny-sides up omelettes with bread. Eggs provide energy to the body and build up the protein content. Also, eggs can help remove the accumulated toxins in the body. Have the omelettes with toast so that the bread will also provide the requisite amount of starch.
6. If there is constipation in the morning along with the hangover, then any over-the-counter medicine can be taken in order to stop the constipation. Peppermint and chamomile tea can be consumed in order to stop the constipation.
7. Ayurveda uses therapies such as cold irrigations on the head (Shirodhara) and applying cold packs on the body to reduce hangovers. These methods have been found to work excellently. Alternatively, cold foods such as ice-creams are also prescribed to people suffering from hangovers.
For people who wish to get their hangover problems solved, Ayurveda prescribed the following medicines:-
a) Brihat vata Chintamani rasa, of which 200 milligrams must be taken at bedtime
b) Vata Vidhwansa rasa, to be taken in the same dosage as above
c) Brahmi ghritam, of which 30 ml must be taken at bedtime with milk and
d) Sarvatha choorna, of which 5 grams are to be taken with either bread or milk at bedtime.
Some people combat hangovers by having another peg of the same drink in the morning. How this works is not known, but having some more alcohol helps to reduce the effects of the hangover. However, it is advisable not to go for a strong peg in the morning. Have a mild alcoholic cocktail such as a Bloody Mary or a Virgin Mary. The salty content of these cocktails can reduce the effects of the hangover to a large extent.s