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Things about Your Colon that You Should Know

Your colon is responsible for absorbing minerals and water from the food that you’ve eaten before discarding it as waste. A lot of things can go wrong along the process and you should know how to treat this part of your body.

Digestive Diseases By Ariba Khaliq / Aug 04, 2014

Your Personal Garbage Bin

Your colon, also known as the bowel or large intestine absorbs minerals and water from the food before it pushes the remains out into the toilet. The process sounds simple but a lot can go wrong in between. These problems could come from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and constipation. Even age-related maladies like haemorrhoids and diverticulosis can keep your colon from running smoothly. Some foods, natural cures and cutting-edge treatments can help to treat conditions of the colon. Find them here. Image Courtesy: Getty


Irritable Bowel Syndrome:What is it?

Doctors use this term to describe gastrointestinal issues such as recurrent diarrhoea, bloating and/or constipation that they can't explain. Out of all people who suffer from IBS, 60 percent are women. The reason for their susceptibility is now known but it may be due to their more sensitive nerve cells in the digestive tracts. You might feel abdominal pain or discomfort for at least three days a month for three months if you have IBS. Image Courtesy: Getty


Irritable Bowel Syndrome:Treatment

Over-the-counter medicines such as stool softeners, fibre supplements, probiotics or prescription antispasmodic medications can be used to relieve abdominal pain. To reduce the intensity of pain signals going from the gut to the brain, your doctor will recommend some low-dose tricyclic antidepressants. Dairy products may cause flare-ups, so you might have to avoid them. Image Courtesy: Getty


Diarrhoea:What is it?

When your colon walls do not absorb the food and fluids properly, you end up with diarrhoea.  A virus in your intestines can cause your colon walls to inflame and as a result, the food and fluids end up exiting your body instead. There could be other culprits that can cause diarrhoea such as food poisoning, taking antibiotics or a lactose or fructose intolerance. A person with diarrhoea experiences loose, watery, sometimes explosive stools, often with cramps and bloating. Image Courtesy: Getty


Diarrhoea: Treatment

A traditional approach to treating diarrhoea is the BRAT diet which includes eating bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. You can also eat other bland, low-fibre foods. Many episodes of diarrhoea can make you to lose electrolytes or minerals, that’s when eating potassium-rich foods such as avocados, and drinking electrolyte-containing fluids such as coconut water would help. Image Courtesy: Getty


Constipation: What is it?

If a person has less than one bowel movement every five days, he/she is suffering from constipation. But, everyone’s “normal” bowel movement is different. Some may go fairly frequently and still feel constipated if they’re struggling when they do go. A constipated motion is hard and dry, so you really have to strain to pass them. You may also have bloating or lower-abdominal discomfort. Image Courtesy: Getty


Constipation: Treatment

Fibre bulks up and softens stool, making it easier to pass; make it your best friend if you are prone to constipation. At least 25 grams a day is recommended for young adults and 21 grams for people over 50. A cup of cooked black beans has about 15g, a medium apple has 4.4g and a cup of instant cooked oatmeal has 4g. Ingest all this with at least 2 quarts of water a day; without it, fibre can actually slow things down. A simple abdominal massage can help relieve constipation, says to a 2009 Swedish study. Go for it. Image Courtesy: Getty


Haemorrhoids: What are they?

They are characterised by inflamed arteries and veins in your rectum or the skin around it; pregnant women would probably know what we are talking about. They can be caused by straining during a bowel movement (especially if you suffer from chronic constipation) or from increased pressure on the veins during pregnancy. Bright red blood on your toilet paper or dripping into the bowl or some itching or irritation around that area, are all symptoms of haemorrhoids. Image Courtesy: Getty


Haemorrhoids: Treatment

To treat haemorrhoids, you must treat constipation first, and you know how a high-fibre diet can help you with that. You could also use over-the-counter pads with witch hazel, to relieve pain and itching. Sometimes, if the haemorrhoids protrude out of the anus and the condition becomes chronic, its surgical removal might be required. Image Courtesy: Getty


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