- Coca-Cola May be the Best Cure for Stomach Blockages
- Dealing with a Partial Bowel Obstruction
- My journey with ulcerative colitis
- What I’ve learned about bowel obstructions
- The pain from a full bowel obstruction
- Getting help for an obstruction
- Common causes of bowel obstructions in patients who suffer from CD or UC are:
- Helpful things when suffering from a partial obstruction:
- I know how scary and unpredictable an obstruction is
- Intestinal Obstruction.
- Could You Have a Bowel Obstruction?
Coca-Cola May be the Best Cure for Stomach Blockages
TUESDAY, Jan. 8, 2013 — Soda may not be all that good for your health when consumed straight out of the can, but researchers are finding that the iconic soft drink, Coca-Cola, might be useful in another unusual way.
Not only can Coca-Cola remove grease stains from clothes and fabric and clean your car engine, but now researchers say the soft drink can get rid of stomach blockages.
Researchers reviewed 10 years’ worth of detailed cases on 46 patients with a condition called gastric phytobezoar — a stomach blockage — who were treated with so-called Coca-Cola dissolution therapy.
Phytobezoars, the most common type of stomach blockage, are composed of indigestible food fibers from fruits and vegetables including celery, pumpkin, prunes, raisins, leeks, beets, persimmons, and sunflower seed shells. Unless they are successfully removed or unblocked, they can lead to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, gastric obstruction, perforation, abdominal pain, and bleeding.
These blockages occur most often in people with risk factors that include decreased stomach size or reduced stomach acid production, having had gastric surgery that resulted in delayed stomach emptying, or having diabetes or late-stage kidney disease.
Researchers at the medical school of Athens University found that of the 46 patients who were given Coca-Cola to treat the blockage, the treatment cleared the blockage in half, 19 patients needed additional non-invasive treatment, and four needed full surgery.
Coca-Cola was administered in a few different ways:
- Some patients drank the beverage in daily amounts from 500 milliliters to 3,000 milliliters for up to six weeks.
- Some had gastric lavage, or therapeutic irrigation of the digestive tract, which was done using 3,000 milliliters of Coca-Cola over a 24-hour time period.
- Eight patients had combinations of Coca-Cola treatment — drinking, injection, and irrigation.
The researchers found Coca-Cola was successful as a treatment for phytobezoar resolution in 91.3 percent of the cases, according to a study published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.
While the researchers couldn’t fully explain how Coca-Cola removing the blockages, the liquid has an acidity level that resembles that of gastric acid, which is thought to be important for fiber digestion. Not only that, the sodium bicarbonate in Coke has a loosening effect that, when combined with bubbles from carbon dioxide, may have aided in dissolving the blockages.
Diet Coke and Coke Zero worked just as well as the sugared versions because they contain the same basic ingredients.
“Coca-Cola ingestion should be the treatment of choice considering that less endoscopies and accessories are needed and patients stay less at the hospital,” the researchers wrote. “Moreover, availability, low cost, rapid way of action, simplicity in administration and safety renders Coca-Cola a cost-effective therapy for gastric phytobezoars.”
Dealing with a Partial Bowel Obstruction
Having lived with a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for almost 17 years now, I have unfortunately dealt with a lot of bowel obstructions and partial obstructions (also known as blockages.) That certainly does not mean that you will have to deal with a lot, or any for that matter, given inflammatory bowel disease is hardly a one size fits all disease.
For those of you who do suffer from this because of your Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, I wanted to share some of my experiences with you.
My journey with ulcerative colitis
I have lived with a colon (obviously 🙂 ),a Jpouch, a temporary ileostomy, five continent ileostomies, and now a permanent ileostomy
In addition, I no longer have a rectum or anus. I share this and especially the latter not to be TMI but to give anyone reading this who is trying to understand more about their own disease and body, or for someone who might be trying to gain more insight for a loved one, some context behind it.
Quite often, I find people share what they have gone through during a particular situation, but leave out some of the back story. For example, if a person is sharing their experiences with how a medication is working for them, wouldn’t it be helpful to know what type of IBD they have? Or, what medications they have tried? Or, if they have had any surgeries? Do they have an ostomy or a Jpouch? I think you get it. It is for this reason that I try to share more of who I am and what my body is like right now so that anyone reading this might be able to tell if what I am saying has anything to do with them or a loved one.
I hope that makes sense.
Anyway, I recently suffered from another partial blockage and it got me wanting to share some of my thoughts and some tips I have learned along the way.
What I’ve learned about bowel obstructions
A bowel obstruction is when your small or large intestine is so blocked that food (or anything else for that matter) is unable to pass through the intestines in a “normal” way. Before I share my personal experiences, I want to clarify that a partial obstruction is very different than a full-on bowel obstruction. For me personally, I can tell the difference in a few ways.
In a partial obstruction, I still have some output while a true bowel obstruction I would never have an output (aka stool coming out of a person’s stoma or anus) or even bowel sounds.
Both types of obstructions cause my stomach to be incredibly distended and feel discomfort and pain, but with a partial, the pain is more manageable.
The pain from a full bowel obstruction
A true blockage is without a doubt one of the most painful things I have ever experienced
With a partial obstruction, I don’t have this block, so to speak, in my mind telling me not to eat. When I am in the midst of a full blockage/obstruction, I cannot even think about consuming any food or liquids. If I do in an attempt to flush things out of my system, it will almost always make things worse or cause me to vomit.
Getting help for an obstruction
If you are experiencing a true bowel obstruction, please call your GI or surgeon and get yourself to a hospital ASAP. I don’t say things like that lightly because I know how awful it is to have to go to the ER or be inpatient in the hospital. Like a lot of you reading this, I look at it as the absolute last resort. However, an obstruction can be very dangerous and cause a lot of problems the longer you wait to seek medical attention. Not to mention, your pain will become increasingly worse and the frequency at which your body is throwing up will increase.
If you are not in severe pain (trust me, you will know the pain I am referring to if it happens to you) and have some stool output either through your stoma or rectum/anus, it is most likely a partial obstruction. That does not mean you should just go about your day and forget what is happening to your body. It means you have been given a chance to help yourself before it gets to a more dire state. I would also never deter anyone from calling their doctor or going to a local emergency room if they are scared of what is going on and want to err on the side of caution. You can never be too careful when it comes to a disease as complex as IBD.
**If your partial obstruction ends up turning into a full-blown blockage, that does NOT mean it is YOUR fault!!**
Common causes of bowel obstructions in patients who suffer from CD or UC are:
- Undigested food
- Strictures, which are narrowing of the intestines.
- Prior abdominal surgery since adhesions could be present. Therefore, the more surgeries a person has, the more adhesions there probably are in the abdomen.
Helpful things when suffering from a partial obstruction:
- Hot Coffee (I always go with decaf but I am sure regular coffee would have the same result)
- Hot tea.
- Milk. Many people who suffer from IBD cannot tolerate lactose or dairy well. While usually this means someone probably wants to stay away from foods that contain this, it also might have a laxative effect on the body which could aid in flushing your system out. In fact, any beverage that has this impact on your intestines could help unless it causes you a great deal of pain and suffering in another way.
I find heating pads to be soothing to lay on your stomach.
- Moving your body a little has also been known to help get things flowing again.
I know how scary and unpredictable an obstruction is
To any of you reading this who suffer from frequent bowel obstructions of any kind, please know you are so far from alone. It is fairly common in those who have severe Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis. I know how scary they are and how unpredictable they can be. I always try to pinpoint it to food since it is how I try to control a lot of my symptoms. While sometimes it is food related which makes me happy since I know I just need to avoid whatever that triggering food was and I will be okay, other times I cannot. Enter frustration overload.
Do you experience bowel obstructions frequently? Are they usually partial or worse? Do you usually have to go to the ER/hospital? Have any tips for others?
The great news is we now have an entirely new treatment for strictures (scar tissue) in both the small intestine and colon that actually dissolves the thick, fibrous tissue and restores the area to normal tissue. Yes, the stricture can actually disappear after 2 to 6 months of treatment. If this seems fantastical to you, read on and I’ll explain in detail how this occurs and what we’ve learned thus far from our experiments with this new Intestinal StrictureHeal protocol.
As a result of our experiments with numerous natural substances that soften, dissolve or transform scar tissue, we now have an experimental protocol for softening, and perhaps even completely healing, intestinal stricture or bowel obstruction, called Intestinal StrictureHeal.
Intestinal StrictureHeal is a two-step treatment protocol; there is the oral (or internal) component and then there is the topical treatment. The effects experienced by people who have done just the topical treatment suggest that complete healing of intestinal strictures may be possible by this method alone, but would likely take considerably longer than doing both the oral and topical treatments simultaneously.
In addition, even if you heal your existing stricture(s), but you don’t address the underlying infection and inflammation that is causing them in the first place, it won’t be long before you have additional, or recurring strictures. So by doing both the oral and the topical protocols, you are addressing both the root cause and the symptom at the same time.”
IMPORTANT: Please be fully aware that this is an EXPERIMENTAL protocol. Currently 540 people have downloaded the eBook, but we do not have enough reports back yet to make any definitive claims for this healing protocol. The healing substances used in this protocol are:
- Colloidal silver
- Potassium Iodide
- George’s Aloe Vera Juice
- Natren probiotics
- Cold-pressed castor oil
- Wild oregano oil
My own brother used Intestinal StrictureHeal to completely heal a “strong fibrotic stricture” (diagnosed by ultrasound) in 9 weeks. His complete healing was confirmed by colonoscopy. We have ongoing reports and questions coming in all the time on my blog post, Natural Healing For Intestinal Strictures, so feel free to check that out first.
In the meantime, if you wish to follow the protocol given above to RELIEVE the pain and soften the stricture, here are the instructions for the hot castor oil pack…
Hot Castor Oil Pack
A castor oil pack has many applications, and has also been used to treat non-malignant uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, headaches, liver disorders, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal disorders, gallbladder inflammation or stones, poor elimination, night time urinary frequency, inflamed joints, and general detoxification.
I have used a hot castor oil pack repeatedly on myself and many of my family members for many reasons (usually pain, cramping or spasming) and it has never failed to provide significant, and usually total, relief.
- Expeller-pressed castor oil
- White cotton flannel twice the size of your abdomen (so you can fold it in half and cover your abdomen)
- Hot water bottle or heating pad
- Thin dish towel (or baby’s burp cloth, or old diaper cloth, etc)
- Sheet of plastic (a garbage bag will work)
- Old bath towel
- Old t-shirt and sweat pants
Cut a piece of plastic that will cover the flannel with at least 1 to 2 inches extra around the border of the flannel. Drizzle approximately 1/4 cup of castor oil onto the flannel, then fold it in half to saturate. The pack should not be dripping with oil – it should have just enough oil to make a slight oil mark on furniture, as if you were going to polish it.
NOTE: The first couple of weeks you use the pack you will have to apply a tablespoon or so of oil about every 3 to 4 days. Eventually the pack will be saturated enough that reapplication of oil should only be needed every couple of weeks.
Lay out an old towel on the surface you will be lying on. Castor oil stains, and you want to avoid getting it on sheets, carpet, or clothing. Lie on your back and place the saturated flannel on your abdomen. Cover the flannel with plastic. Then place the thin dish towel or old cloth over the plastic. Place a hot water bottle or heating pad over the thin towel and plastic, and wrap the bath towel around you to hold it all snug.
Relax for 30 to 60 minutes. This is an excellent time to practice visualization, meditation, or deep breathing exercises, listen to classical music or sleep – or to watch a good movie! Finish up treatment with Colonic Massage, see my video below for instructions.
When finished, you can remove the oil with warm water and soap in the shower. I prefer to just wipe my abdomen with an old towel and leave the oil on my skin to be completely absorbed while I sleep (I apply the pack at night, before bed – but I sleep on a towel or old sheets, as even the oil residue can stain).
Store the pack in a large zip-lock bag. You can reuse it many times, adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated. Replace the pack after it begins to change color (usually several months). Do not wash the flannel – just throw it out.
NOTE: This Symptom Page provides only basic information about natural treatment to relieve intestinal stricture or bowel obstruction. However, we do have a new experimental protocol to completely dissolve the scar tissue and permanently heal the stricture, called StrictureHeal. Purchase Jini’s Healing Guide: Natural Treatments for Intestinal Strictures eBook in our Shoppe for full, detailed instructions and dosages StrictureHeal.
Synonyms:—Ileus; occlusion of the bowel.
Definition:—Intestinal obstruction is a condition of the bowel in which normal peristalsis and evacuation are markedly hindered or entirely prevented.
Etiology:—There are three types of intestinal obstruction:
(a) That due to paralysis of peristalsis.
(b) That due to excessive peristalsis; i. e., spasm of the bowel.
(c) That due to mechanical obstruction, as twisting or volvulus, intussusception, kinking by bands of fibrous tissue, hernia, stricture, neoplasms, foreign bodies, pressure and congenital malformation.
This condition may occur either in an acute or in a chronic form. The acute cases are most commonly due to paralysis, spasm, volvulus, intussusception, adhesions and hernia, and the chronic cases to tumors, either within the bowel lumen or external to the bowel and pressing upon its walls from without; also to fecal impaction.
Symptomatology:—As will be readily seen, the symptoms will vary with the cause of the obstruction. In general, however, there is a well-marked train of symptoms clearly distinguishing the acute cases, which are in their order, pain, nausea or vomiting, tympany and coprostasis.
A discussion of the more common forms is necessary.
Intussusception:—Clinically three types may be recognized: the ultra-acute, death resulting within twenty-four hours; the acute, death resulting in the first week unless the condition is relieved, and the sub-acute, lasting a month or more. The small intestine may be involved alone: the ileum and cecum may be invaginated within the colon; a portion of the colon may be invaginated within its own lumen; the rectum may be involved alone.
The first symptom is most commonly sudden and violent pain, which subsides and recurs. Vomiting soon occurs in the great majority of cases, and nausea is always present. Vomiting may not appear for hours in adults, and may even be absent. Bloody mucus is passed from the bowel after the contents below the invagination are evacuated, especially in children. Tenesmus is usually felt and is severe. Sometimes the tumor may be felt and peristaltic waves seen through the abdominal wall.
Strangulation:—Bands of adhesions may form, most commonly at the site of an operation on the abdominal viscera, and these may kink the bowel, or the latter may become looped beneath them. The symptoms are sudden pain of great intensity, which continues, though there are remissions in intensity. The pulse is rapid and becomes weak. The temperature is usually elevated from one to three degrees. Vomiting becomes established within thirty-six hours and is fecal in character. After the bowels are evacuated early in the attack, constipation is absolute.
At first it may be possible to palpate the kink of the bowel, but tympany develops, which soon obscures the palpatory findings. Tenderness may be marked over a portion of the abdomen, and this is often at a distance from the strangulation. Sleep is impossible. The patient has an anxious expression, bodily weakness develops, but the mind is alert. While intussusception is most common in children, strangulation is seen most commonly in adults.
Volvulus:—This condition is most frequently found after middle age, and in men more commonly than in women. The small intestine is involved and is usually twisted, with the mesentery as an axis. Pain is not so constant or severe a symptom as in other acute forms of intestinal obstruction, but abdominal distention is marked. Constipation is absolute and there is considerable vomiting.
Paralytic ileus is a condition which usually occurs after operations upon the abdominal organs. There are seldom malformations or malpositions of the intestines. The muscular fibers are simply paralyzed. Vomiting, meteorism and constipation are the conspicuous symptoms.
Obstruction from Foreign Bodies.—Indigestible articles swallowed are an occasional cause of intestinal obstruction. Gall stones and enteroliths are more common causes. The symptoms are not so severe as in the foregoing forms. Constipation is the most marked. Tenderness is usually present, with occasional attacks of colicky pain. Vomiting is excited by the taking of food. The symptoms are in general those of a severe form of gastro-intestinal catarrh, with the exception that there is constipation instead of diarrhea. Gall stones and enteroliths are often passed, and should be looked for in the bowel movements obtained.
Diagnosis:—The diagnosis of intestinal obstruction may be difficult in the early stages and must be differentiated chiefly from appendicitis. In this the early localization of the appendiceal pain, the history of other attacks, the leucocyte count, and the rigidity of the right rectus muscle will help to decide in favor of appendicitis. The obstinate constipation, the developing abdominal distention, the rapid pulse, and the fecal character of the vomitus will point toward intestinal obstruction.
In gall stone colic a history may be obtained of previous attacks; there may be jaundice; there is tenderness over the gall bladder and the liver, and the pain is reflected to the region of the right shoulder blade.
In renal colic the pain is distinctly in the lumbar region, and if reflected is reflected to the pelvis and thigh. Blood is usually found in the urine.
Prognosis:—The prognosis depends upon the age of the patient and the type of the obstruction. It is not good in infants, while the causes producing intestinal obstruction in adults are usually remediable if recognized early and appropriate operative measures can be employed. Of course, the prognosis in cases due to neoplasms is the prognosis of these diseases themselves.
Treatment:—So insidious is this condition in most cases that it is considered only a case of constipation and physics will have been administered in nearly every case before the physician is consulted. Physics should be avoided in all cases. It is a good plan, however, to thoroughly evacuate the bowel below the obstruction; this may be accomplished by the use of enemata. While the obstruction can only be overcome by surgical means, in most of the cases, medical treatment of the symptoms is of great importance. The pain should be controlled, usually with hypodermics of morphin; other remedies are either temporary or inefficient; for the vomiting it may be necessary to irrigate the stomach. No food or drink should be taken into the stomach, if possible, during the existence of the condition.
If the obstruction is due to impaction alone, high rectal injections persistently repeated will ultimately succeed in removing them; or an injection of olive oil may be used. It is a good plan to invert the patient and use a fountain syringe held sufficiently high to produce considerable hydrostatic pressure. This may be alternated with massage or manipulation of the abdominal walls, conducted systematically and carefully.
If the case be one of intussusception, distention of the bowels with water, or inflation with gas or air, should be practiced. There should be some remedy given which would produce complete muscular relaxation, if this has not been accomplished by the original hypodermic injection of morphin.
If these measures repeated and persisted in for from twelve to eighteen hours are not successful, a surgical operation must be performed without further delay. Early operations are successful in a large majority of cases; the danger lies in procrastination.
The Eclectic Practice of Medicine with especial reference to the Treatment of Disease, 1910, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
Could You Have a Bowel Obstruction?
Identifying Bowel Obstruction Symptoms
Bowel obstruction symptoms usually come on suddenly, and they are severe — acute pain in the abdomen, along with nausea or vomiting. Most people affected by a bowel obstruction are unable to pass gas or have a bowel movement, and may have a swollen abdomen.
Infrequent bowel movements or hard stools usually do not indicate obstruction. “A lot of people have nonspecific symptoms like abdominal pain, and they’re concerned about obstructions because they’re constipated,” Desi says. “Obstruction and constipation are two different things. Bowel obstruction is nothing chronic — there’s usually a very dramatic progression of symptoms.”
Why It’s Critical to Treat Bowel Obstruction
If you have bowel obstruction symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor right away. Doctors may use a CT scan, which creates a cross-sectional picture of your body, to look for an obstruction. Regular abdominal X-rays can also be used. If you have a complete obstruction, immediate surgery is required.
Partial bowel obstruction may be treated in a hospital setting with a few days of “bowel rest,” a technique in which any remaining food is drained from a patient’s stomach and further food is eliminated. Intravenous fluids help you stay hydrated. “Sometimes, within a few days things can open up and start moving along,” Desi says. “Patients can respond and do very well.” If bowel rest does not work or bowel tissue begins to die due to the blockage, surgery may then be attempted.
In some cases, people with bowel obstruction symptoms are found to have no blockage in their intestines. This is known as intestinal pseudo-obstruction, a disorder that happens when nerves or muscles lack the ability to move food through the body. Children and older adults are more likely to develop intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Treatment may involve ingesting liquid food through a feeding tube or intravenously.
Bowel obstruction can be a very serious condition requiring immediate medical attention — be aware of the symptoms and contact your doctor to get the treatment you need.
Learn more in the Everyday Health Digestive Health Center.