Constipation SOS

Asked on July 25, 2015
Created July 25, 2015 at 4:34 AM

Hello! I thought I would reach out to this diverse and well knowledgable community for help and support. 

The title explains it all. Before I begin, let me define my constipation and the health journey I'm on-

Constipation: I 'go' daily, but in pellets. I feel urges to go, but these annoying little guys pop out. Color is either a dark green or mild brown. NO blood/mucus/undigested material.

Diet: Lot's of leafy greens. 2-3 TBS of coconut oil per day- sometimes I change it up and use either flax oil or olive oil. I also eat avocado, nuts/seeds, fatty fish, eggs, coconut flakes/yogurt. Protein- chicken (sausage, drumsticks, breast), fish (shrimp, salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, tuna), eggs, turkey (homemade ground turkey burger patty), fermented foods (coconut water kefir/yogurt, homemade pickled ginger and pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi (brands I use are Farmhouse Kraut and Healing movement), and small amounts of kombucha (I use the brand Health-Ade). I mostly eat a paleo diet. It's low in starchy carbs, admittedly, but I do eat a lot of squash, starchy roots like beets and carrots, plantains, and sweet potatoes. With fruit, I have about 1-3 servings a week- usually it's grapefruit and kiwi but sometimes I'll have some pineapple, berries, or whatever is in season locally.

Health Journey: Born with colic, never breast fed. Raised on the SAD diet, delt with constipation (I never knew at the time that not emptying oneself everyday was bad; I never complained and lived with this for years). Have always been extremely petite, although some of that can be blamed on genes. I'm 21 and stand at 4 foot 9; mother is 5 ft; grandmother is now 4 foot 6 in her late 70s. But I was always a tiny, skinny kid. My father's side has tall (6 ft range) fast metabolisms. On both sides, I'm Cuban. I state this info in case someone out there has any insight into genes and cultural heritage and health. 

From age 12 all the way to 19, I suffered from intense psychologically abuse and emotional trauma from a family member. My problem with not being able to 'go' on the toilet quickly changed into my constant going. I was always anxious and depressed, and my stools became loose and I was constantly bloated. I lost weight despite eating a ton of food. This family member was convinced I was anorexic. My doctor at the time had me work with dieticians and psychologists to remedy my 'illness'. I was put on so many weight gaining protocols. It took a long time and counseling for me to step up and confess to the root cause of my problems. Once I did, some things improved. My weight stabilized, but I was forever hurt by conventional medicine. I learned how to take care of myself, incorporating real foods and exercise into my life. I cut off ties with this family member. However, things were still not all the best.
Age 20 (not too long ago): Became vegan due to ethical reasons and pressure from yoga teacher training community. I spent a year as a vegan; got candida last summer. Worked with an ND. Good: Eradicated the yeast. Spent $500 in a Metagenics stool test to confirm this.

But I still was not 100% well on my vegan diet. Since April of 2015, I've gone Paleo. No grains/soy/gluten etc. I feel better on a lower carb (not no carb; high fiber, really) diet, with plenty of good fats. BUT, the constipation that was my worst enemey from childhood still haunts me. I've tried everything- magnesium, triphala, more water, acacia fiber, flax seed, Ibergast prokinetic supplement, more fermented foods... getting only sub-par results.

In May, I did tons of research into what I suspected was SIBO. I took a course of garlic extract and berberine herbs. Internally, I felt 'clean', and indeed my bowels improved, but once I got off the herbs, the symptoms came back. I've tried taking Soil Based Probiotic supplements (Primal Defense, Primal Flora, and Prescript Assist), and those seem to make my constipation even worse. The only good thing from those is that my skin is especially clear; I suffer from very minor breakouts (cheeks, forehead, maybe jaw), which are controlled through my diet and a good skincare routine, but the SBO;s truly clear this nuisance. But not my stools. 

I'd also like to add that I belch constantly after meals. Sometimes, I get a reflux sensation. No heartburn. Just constant belching. I know this is an indication of low HCL/stomach acid. I've found my dose- 3 pills, lunch and dinner. Been doing this for a month and so far no results. In the past, I've tried enzymes, but stopped as I realized that acid was my main problem. I also learned from my father that he, his mother and sister, and great grandmother all had/have the same problem. But the belching and constipation and minor bloat I get are driving me crazy.

I cannot afford to get a breath test or stool test from my doctor. I have a part time job and am studying to become a nutritionist and personal trainer. Whatever money I make goes to gas, groceries, and supplements. I take a good multivitamin (PURE encapsulations; iron free), Omega 3 (Carlson's), L-Glutamine (5g), Magna Calm (before bed), HCL (Twinlabs), and Zinc Carnosine in the afternoon away from meals for the GERD-like belching. I also have been taking a new probiotic supplement from Garden of Life that was formulated by Dr. David Perlmutter (Grain Brain, Brain Maker)- it's a 90 Billion count. I used to have problems taking probiotics, and now I can without any diarrhea or cramps. But it still hasn't cured me of the constipation.

So... I know this is a lot to take in. I have other suspicions what I might need to do or try- working on the Migrating Motor Complex, my liver, and adrenals (I exercise daily, and have a fair amount of stress from work, but I do meditate and practice yoga). I've had my thyroid tested before and nothing 'wrong' has turned up. I also think I need to continue rebuilding my acid levels, perhaps with ginger or prokinetic, stimulating herbs (swedish bitters?). Remedies I've found are HTP, MotilPro.... 

Otherwise, I believe I've improved a lot in my life, but am still faced with this nagging, embarassing case of constipation. I hate having to spend nearly an hour on the toilet only to bed faced with very little 'results'.

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