Change of Bowel Habits?

April is Bowel Cancer awareness month. So okay, we all are a bit embarrassed when talking about poo, but lets be truthful we all do it. Only some people have serious issues with their poo and they are too embarrassed to talk about it. Bowel Cancer is not something that only affects older people, and any changes to your bowel habits that go on longer than three weeks whatever age you are, you need to see a G.P. There are lots of reasons for a change of bowel habits and most are perfectly innocent, but sometimes it can be a sign of something more serious such as Crohn's Disease, or Ulcerative Colitis, as well as Bowel Cancer. In females there is a rare possibility a change of bowel habits can be for a gynecological reason such as endometriosis or even ovarian cancer.

George Alagiah the British newsreader, journalist and television news presenter was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer in 2014 and after undergoing treatment he returned to work only for the cancer to return in 2017. He has since undergone further treatment and is now stable enough to return to work.

The BBC journalist Jeremy Bowen has revealed he is also suffering from Bowel Cancer, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47771752 Mr Bowen shared his diagnosis to encourage others to get screening. The screening age is being lowered in England and Wales to 50, which is welcome news. But over half of 60 year olds are not getting screened.

'Don't die of embarrassment'

Bowen said: "The key thing is - get tested. I've been saying to all my friends - get tested.

"Things to do with your bowels and poo ... are not things people normally want to talk about. But actually it's part of all our lives and you need to work on it."

He said a gastroenterologist had told him: "Don't die of embarrassment, for God's sake.

IBS

I see a lot of clients who present to me with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and it is one of my favourite issues to treat because it responds very well to a change of diet, acupuncture, and / or hypnotherapy, however I am extremely careful and always check for red flags with the client before we start. These are;

  • Bleeding from the bottom or blood in your poo
  • A persistent change in bowel habit, especially going more often or loose stools
  • Abdominal pain, especially if severe
  • A lump in your tummy
  • Unexplained weight loss or tiredness

I also ask about bloating especially in females and what the poo is actually like when its passed, as this gives a good indicator of how your gut is working. At this point I should mention that if you are passing a pencil thin stool, its worth mentioning it to your G.P. even in the absence of the red flag symptoms. If you are experiencing IBS type symptoms, and have not yet seen a G.P. I strongly advise you to do so and get a definite diagnosis, because IBS can mimic other diseases which could be serious, so don't delay. Otherwise these are the IBS symptoms which people usually experience;

  • Pain and Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea
  • Changes in Bowel Movements
  • Gas and Bloating
  • Food Intolerance
  • Fatigue and Difficulty Sleeping

Don't Be Embarrassed

Remember don't be embarrassed to talk about your poo, especially with a medical practitioner because they've heard it all before. Acupuncturists and Nutritionists also want to know about your poo, so don't be surprised when they ask you during a consultation. They are not being nosy, it really does give them vital information about how your digestive system is working, so relax and be honest about what's going on....it might just save your life.

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