June 18, 2014

On Hiatus! (See you in September!)

Cranky Gerd is on hiatus until mid-September!   Until then, browse the old entries, send me links or suggestions for future posts, breathe and nurture your guts and your whole bodies!   :)

May 16, 2014

Report From My Gut: Let's Talk Motility!

This blog entry is not for the faint of heart!

Time to talk "motility."   For people with GERD, gastroparesis, and other GI conditions, "not going" is not just uncomfortable -- it's a crisis.   One "slow" day can easily spiral into a few days, making my already challenged intestines and slow stomach even more cranky.   And, I have found that when I am constipated, nausea often follows.

This morning, I am on day three of feeling not my best.  

I do all the advised things.  I've done most of these in the last 24 hours:

  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits (Veggie diet -- check!)
  • Eat more fiber (that's ALL I seem to eat some days…)
  • Take probiotics (done -- in the form of pickles and Puehr tea…)
  • Exercise (stair-climbing daily, a few big walks each week, Tai Chi, stationary bike…)
  • Drink more liquids (water, non-caffeinated tea, caffeinated tea, more water)
  • Relax (trying!!  trying!!  trying!! but easier said than done when the clock is ticking and I need to leave the house for work -- bloated, again!)
Now it's less than 40 minutes to my departure time and I need to shower, get dressed, pack my lunch, and head out -- but who wants to schlep to work feeling like you've got an extra 29 pounds in your gut?  Gassy.  Crampy.  Psychologically bloated.   I don't like using public restrooms (who does?) and with "gut issues" it's just better dealing with things at home, trust me.

So, this remains an ongoing issue for me.  For months, I had somehow settled into a routine and constipation was occasional.  It is upsetting to be back in this situation, worrying where and when my next bowel movement will be!   If I "take too long" in the morning, that can prevent me from meeting my exercise goals -- a 45 minute walk before work, or my Tai Chi class.   It's a daily struggle.

One comfort:  If you are reading this and experience the same issues, you are not alone.  Constipation is one of the most common concerns, and one of the least discussed.  It may not be "life threatening" but it is definitely life-impacting.


A few interesting and helpful online resources:

Silent Struggles: The Ugly Truth about Gastroparesis and Constipation

Gastroparesis FAQ:  Constipation Causes & Remedies.  Video from Living With Gastroparesis blogger Crystal Saltrelli, Certified Health and Nutrition Counselor

Excellent graphics and information are included in this Constipation Fact Sheet by the Bladder and Bowel Foundation 

Australian Government Initiative: Looking After Your Bowel -- A Guide to Improving Bowel Function.  A whole government-issued document on the subject!  More good graphics here.

April 14, 2014

Linkage: Mind Over Stomach (and Everything Else)

I heard a story this morning on NPR about how putting different labels on the same milkshake caused different physiological reactions in test subjects' stomach responses.  Fascinating stuff.  See below for the link.

How much of our body's response to food is in "our minds?"   And, if there is a placebo effect, is this a bad thing?  How can we leverage this unreality to our benefit?   I say if it's "just" the placebo effect, well, great!  Feeling better and improving your health without medication side effects -- absolutely!  

But -- as you know if you're suffering gut issues, the stomach IS a second brain -- will this make the expression, "it's all in your mind" even more frustrating when there is scientific evidence to back this up?


Mind over Milkshake: How Your Thoughts Fool Your Stomach (From NPR, 4/14/2014)

Placebo Effect in the Treatment of Duodenal Ulcer (British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 12/1999)

Radiolab: Guts (Season 10, Episode 7)

Nortriptyline No Better Than Placebo for Gastroparesis Symptoms (American College of Surgeons News, 5/2013)

Homeopathy is Bunk, Study Says (The Guardian, 4/2014)