Help...traded years of diarrhea for unbearable constipation

Answered on February 01, 2015
Created February 01, 2015 at 1:39 PM

Hi all,

I'm at a bit of a loss here so I thought I'd seek out some advice. For years I thought I was eating "healthy" (no processed or fast foods, but loads and loads of 100% whole grains and more nuts and seeds than was probably normal), but I sufferred from constant diaherria (several times a day), bloating, cramping, eczema, and a constantly stuffed nose/post-nasal drip. In September, it finally hit me that this was not normal and I had to try to get it under control. I knew nothing about paleo or nutrition at the time, but I decided to start by cutting back to a diet of bone broth, chicken, carrot, brown rice, and oats for a couple of weeks. I was amazed to have my diaherria completely disappear, and the eczema and other issues soon receded to lower levels or disappeared as well. My only complaint was that my bowel movements were a bit slow (sometimes every 2-3 days), but a 1/2 glass of prune juice in the morning quickly got me going if necessary.

All was going well for a couple of months and I started to slowly add foods back in one by one. Still knowing little about gut issues or nutrition and thinking I just had a wheat issue, I included grains like quinoa as well as things like peanut butter. When I noticed my eczema making a return, I started to do some research and found out more about paleo and gut health in general. I switched to a paleo autoimmune diet, for the first time totally taking out grains and other irritants, but this is where the real problem started. I just couldn't get my bowels moving, and the prune juice that used to work like a charm became totally ineffective. The only thing that worked was Milk of Magnesia. I stuck with the autoimmune diet for a month or so, but with the eczema and constipation continuing to get worse I decided to expand to standard paleo to have some more potentially beneficial options. I have since been on probiotics every day (kefir, sauerkraut, or yogurt), and have also tried prebiotics (potato starch), increasing fat, increasing salt, increasing fiber, increasing tubers/carbs etc. etc. and the constipation only gets worse and worse. At this point I'll wait 5 or 6 days and not go before forcing it with Milk of Magnesia. Last time, I found I had to increase to the max dose because the min dose I was using had stopped working. I'm now getting bloated after most meals as well, which hadn't happened since I cut the wheat. When I'm eating I often feel my tightness in my chest and the constant need to clear my throat. Mentally, I feel more tired than I ever have and not able to think clearly. I struggle with anxiety, but I've always had that issue.

As I said I don't really know where to turn. I feel like I'm eating an anti-inflammatory, nutrient-rich diet, but nothing seems to help. Any thoughts for how to get things moving in the short-term as well as how to resolve these issues for the long term would be much appreciated.

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on February 01, 2015
at 04:36 PM

Something that helped me was to eat a clove of raw garlic once or twice a day.  Sounds a bit strange perhaps but garlic is a natural anti-fungal and stimulates digestion.  This really settles my stomach and helps digestion when it gets a little "off".  I think that incomplete digestion is the cause of many elimination problems.

It helps to be a garlic lover because chewing up a raw clove of garlic is a bit spicy.  You could try the tablets but I think they'd be less effective.

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