by Dr. Luis Valencia
Medical Associate, Aegle Wellness Center
The colon, or the large intestine, is more than a repository of undigested material prior to elimination. At around 5 feet long, it houses billions of bacteria known as our normal gut flora. These "healthy bacteria" enable the body to absorb micronutrients such as vitamins (vitamin K and vitamin D, for example), and defend the body against potential toxins and infectious bacteria. The colon also has the ability to reabsorb water and important electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium. It thus functions as an important water source in times of decreased water intake.
Colon function is strongly influenced by the types and volume of food we eat, the timing of our food intake, water intake, regular physical activity, stress level, and adequacy of sleep and rest. The colon is very active at night while you rest as the body works to complete the digestive process.
Overeating, especially during celebrations, can take a toll on your colon. During these times, we tend to binge eat, indulge in very sweet desserts, drink too many alcoholic beverages, and end up getting inadequate sleep from all the festivities. Deep sleep can then be further delayed as certain uncomfortable symptoms arise when we lie down after overindulging, such as abdominal fullness, feeling of "gassiness," occasional nausea, or even acid reflux. It's not unlikely that frequent eating binges can result in disrobed bowel movements which may vary from periods of constipation to periods of diarrhea, and even stools consisting of incompletely digested food.
How can you restore the healthy gut flora in your colon? Undergoing colon hydrotherapy, or colonics, is a simple way to assist the colon in returning it to its normal function. People who have very irregular bowel movements, such as recurrent periods of constipation lasting for days, or intermittent diarrhea, benefit the most from colonics. Prior to the treatment, you consult with an Aegle physician to screen you for any possible contraindications, such as recent abdominal surgery, or a history of gastro-intestinal cancer.
The procedure is simple. Distilled water is infused through a rectal speculum and then pumped in gently through a machine. The water and the low pressure then enable the colon to rid itself of its contents.
People who've tried colonics usually report feeling lighter with less abdominal distress afterwards.
At Aegle Wellness Center, we always provide a summary of do's and don'ts after the treatment, which includes a list of foods that will be beneficial, as well as foods that must be avoided. We also strongly recommend that probiotics be taken on a regular basis, especially if you may be suffering from recurrent bouts of irregular bowel movements.
Colonics can provide relief for your gastro-intestinal symptoms. It's not however, a solution for recurring symptoms. At Aegle, we consider it important to discover the root cause. Aside from testing for the presence or absence of gut inflammation, gut infestation, enzyme deficiencies, and efficiency of the normal gut bacteria, our medical team will also review your diet, lifestyle, and even hormone levels in order to optimize your colon health, and to ascertain the cause of your recurrent gut dysfunction. Your Aegle physician will discuss your results, and our nutritionists will recommend a personalized diet for your specific needs to make not only your gut bacteria, but your entire body, healthy.
This article was originally published on Alphaland Atmospheres Issue No. 8