What You See in the Toilet Can Give You Valuable Insights into Your Health

Story at-a-glance

  • What’s normal and what’s not when you look into the toilet after using it? You can learn a great deal about your overall health by taking a look at your stool and noting its color, size, shape, consistency, odor and other features
  • Your toileting habits, such as your frequency of elimination and the ease with which you move your bowels, can provide additional clues to your health status
  • If you know what to look for, you may be able to detect health problems early enough to stop them in their tracks, including serious diseases like celiac disease, Continue reading

Benefit from Castor Oil

“No drug exists that has the ability to improve lymphatic flow; however, the job can easily be handled through the topical application of Castor oil,” said Dr David G. Williams. Continue reading

Antidepressant Found to be Just as Effective as Placebo in Child Pain Relief

Antidepressant Found to be Just as Effective as Placebo in Child Pain Relief

WASHINGTON – A new study has shown that the antidepressant amitriptyline is just as effective as placebo in treating pain-predominant gastrointestinal disorders in children.

“Many pharmaceutical products are prescribed for off-label use in children due to the lack of clinical trials testing the efficacy of the drugs in children and adolescents. Therefore, the pediatric gastroenterologist frequently has to make treatment decisions without the evidence of how drugs work in children,” said Dr. Miguel Saps, of Children’s Memorial Hospital and lead author of the study.

“The high placebo effect we identified in this study suggests that further studies of the use of certain antidepressants in children with functional bowel disorders are needed. While several trials have demonstrated a beneficial effect of antidepressants, including amitriptyline, for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in adults, more research is needed to determine how effective this drug is, if at all, in children,” Dr. Saps added.

According to background information in an article on the study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, amitriptyline is used to treat symptoms of depression, but it is some times prescribed to children for pain relief from pain-predominant functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs).

Pain-predominant FGIDs are among the most common causes for medical consultation in children. Such disorders include three common conditions: IBS, functional dyspepsia and functional abdominal pain.

For their study, the researchers designed a large prospective, multi-centre, randomised placebo-controlled trial in which children, ages eight to 17, with IBS, functional abdominal pain or functional dyspepsia were randomised to four weeks of placebo or amitriptyline.

Of the 83 children who completed the study, 63 percent of those who took amitriptyline reported feeling better, while 5 percent reported feeling worse.

Among those given a placebo, 57.5 percent felt better, while 2.5 percent felt worse.

Pain relief was excellent (7 percent), good (38 percent) in children on placebo and excellent (15 percent), good (35 percent) in children on amitriptyline.

The researchers observed that both amitriptyline and placebo were associated with excellent therapeutic response, although patients with mild to moderate intensity of pain responded better to treatment.

According to them, there was no significant difference between amitriptyline and placebo after four weeks of treatment.

In children, the use of drugs to treat pain-predominant FGIDs is mostly empirical and based on adult data.

There have been only a few small, randomized clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of drugs for the treatment of pain-predominant FGIDs in children.  

Soluble Fiber Effective in Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Soluble Fiber Effective in Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome

UTRECHT – A new study by researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands has suggested that a soluble fiber supplement called psyllium should be the first line of attack in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

In the study, researchers compared adding bran, psyllium and a dummy supplement to sufferers’ diets.

They found psyllium was the most effective, warning that bran may even worsen the symptoms of the condition.

IBS is characterized by abdominal pain and an irregular bowel habit.

Its exact cause is unknown and recommendations for treatment include dietary advice, antidepressants and drug treatments.

Many relying on dietary adjustments still turn to bran in a bid to help improve the way the intestines work.

However, the new study of 275 patients questions the wisdom of this approach.

The researchers gave patients 10g of either psyllium, bran or rice flour twice a day for 12 weeks.

At the end of the study, those on psyllium, a naturally occurring vegetable fibre, reported symptom severity had been reduced by 90 points using a standard scale of rating problems.

For bran it was 58 points and for the placebo group, 49.

The study also showed that patients seemed less tolerant of bran, with more than half of the group dropping out during the trial, mostly because their symptoms worsened.

Soluble fiber can also be found in fruit such as apples and strawberries, as well as barley and oats.

“I think adding psyllium to the diet is the best treatment option to start with. In the study, people did this by adding it to things such as yoghurt and it had a real effect,” the BBC quoted Dr Niek de Wit, one of the researchers, as saying.

The study has been described in the British Medical Journal.

Home Remedies Series – Colitis

Symptoms include: Increased urgency to move the bowel, bloody mucus in the stools

Colitis usually begins in the lower part of the colon and spreads upwards. The first symptom of the trouble is an increased urgency to move the bowel, followed by cramping pains in the abdomen and, sometimes, bloody mucus in the stools. As the disease spreads upward, the stools become watery and more frequent and are characterised by rectal straining. The loss of blood and fluid from the bowels results in weakness, fever, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and anaemia.

Bloated feeling, constipation, insomnia

Other symptoms are a bloated feeling, constipation alternating with diarrhoea or persistent diarrhoea for years together, and insomnia.. The patient is usually malnourished and may be severely underweight.

Colitis cause

Colitis Symptoms, Causes, Remedy and Diet

Chronic constipation, use of purgatives

One of the causes of colitis is chronic constipation and the use of purgatives. Constipation causes an accumulation of the hard faecal matter which is never properly evacuated. Purgatives used as a ‘cure’ only increase irritation.

Poorly digested roughage especially of cereals and carbohydrates

Often colitis results from poorly digested roughage, especially of cereals and carbohydrates, which causes bowel irritation.

Intake of antibiotics and stress

Other causes of the disease are an allergic sensitivity to certain foods, intake of antibiotics and severe stress.

Colitis treatment using Banana

One or two ripe bananas taken every day are one of the most effective home remedies for ulcerative colitis. Being bland, smooth, easily-digestible and slightly laxative, they relieve the acute symptoms and promote the healing process.

Colitis treatment using Buttermilk

A glass of buttermilk taken daily is another effective remedy for colitis. It is the residual liquid left over after the fat has been removed from curd by churning

Colitis treatment using Tender Coconut

Drinking the water of one tender coconut daily has been found valuable in colitis. It is soothing to the soft mucosa of the colon.

Colitis treatment using Apples

Steamed apples also aid the healing of ulcerative lesions because of their ample concentration of iron and phosphorus.

Colitis treatment using Drumstick

Drumsticks are also useful in colitis. A teaspoon of fresh leaf juice, mixed with an equal quantity of honey and a glass of tender coconut water, is given two or three times daily as a herbal medicine for the treatment of this disease.

Colitis treatment using Rice

Rice has a very low fibre content, and is, therefore, extremely soothing in colitis. A thick gruel of rice mixed with a glass of buttermilk and a ripe banana, given twice a day, forms a very nutritious, well-balanced diet in this disease.

Colitis treatment using Wheat-grass

The juice of wheat-grass (a grass which grows after sowing wheat grains in the earth) used as an enema, helps detoxify the walls of the colon. The general procedure is to first give an enema with lukewarm water. After waiting for twenty minutes, 90-120 ml of wheat-grass juice enema is given. This should be retained for fifteen minutes. This enema is very helpful in disorders associated with colitis. Wheat-grass can be grown at home in earthen pots if it is not available through dealers.

Diet for Colitis

Papaya juice, raw cabbage juice and carrot juice

Diet plays an important part in the treatment of colitis. It is advisable to observe a juice fast for five days or so, in most cases of ulcerative colitis. Papaya juice, raw cabbage juice, and carrot juice are especially beneficial.

Avoid Citrus juice

Have steamed vegetables, rice, home-made cottage cheese etc

After the juice fast, the patient should gradually adopt a diet of small, frequent meals of soft cooked or steamed vegetables, rice, porridge, broken wheat, and well-ripened fruits like banana and papaya, yoghurt, and home-made cottage cheese. Sprouted seeds and grains, wholemeal bread, and raw vegetables may be added gradually to this diet after about ten days. All food must be eaten slowly and chewed thoroughly.

Avoid white sugar, highly seasoned foods, alcoholic beverages

Foods which should be excluded from the diet are white sugar, white bread, and white flour products; highly seasoned foods; highly salted foods; strong tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages; and foods cooked in aluminum pans.

Other Colitis treatments

Warm-water enema

During the first five days of the juice fast, the bowels should be cleansed daily with a warm-water enema

Buttermilk enema

A buttermilk enema taken twice a week is also soothing and helps in re-installing useful bacterial flora in the colon.

Complete bedrest is necessary, avoid stress

Complete bedrest is very important. The patient should eliminate all causes of tension and face his discomfort with patience.

Oxidized Form of Vitamin A May Treat Bowel Diseases

CHINA – Here’s another reason why you should take your vitamins: A new research report suggests that retinoic acid could be a beneficial treatment for people suffering from ulcerative colitis and other irritable bowel diseases.

Researchers found that retinoic acid, he oxidized form of vitamin A, helps suppress out-of-control inflammation, which is a hallmark of active ulcerative colitis.

“Pharmaceutical strategies based on this research may offer a promising alternative to our current approaches of managing immune diseases including, IBD, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and so on,” said Aiping Bai, a researcher involved in the work at Nanchang University in Nanchang City, China.

To make this discovery, reported in the October print issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, Bai and colleagues conducted in-vitro studies with human tissue and in vivo studies in mice.

Both studies ultimately found that treatment with retinoic acid reduced the inflammation in the colon by increasing the _expression of FOXP3, a gene involved with immune system responses, as well as decreasing the _expression of IL-17, a cytokine believed to cause inflammation. Because many experts believe that IL-17 relates directly to the uncontrolled inflammation seen in ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel disease, the discovery that retinoic acid reduces IL-17’s ability to cause inflammation could accelerate the development of treatments for these chronic diseases.

“Runaway inflammation is serious problem, no matter where it occurs in the body, but in many instances, the root cause is a mystery,” said John Wherry, deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. “This research helps scientists better understand what causes and controls inflammation in the colon, which in turn, helps lay the groundwork for new classes of drugs to treat this devastating condition.”