In Part I of “What your symptoms are telling you,” we read about how symptoms, whether they are just annoying or life-changing, have meaning. Symptoms are the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. The more subtle symptoms, such as constipation, can have multiple causes. We discussed what normal is and some of the causes, such as lack of water, fat or fiber in the diet, even lack of food, digestive insufficiency, and lack of muscle tone because of certain diseases.
Here are some other reasons for constipation. Stress can become a cause of constipation, either due to inactivity, making poor food and liquid choices or even not taking the time to go when you need to. We train ourselves to be constipated, due to pain or simply inconvenience. Painful bowel movements due to hemorrhoids, fissures or chronic constipation cause people to hold it in until it is chronically held in. Many activities make it difficult to respond immediately to the call, so we actually train ourselves to be constipated. Antacids and other medications, especially diuretics, opioids for pain and others, are constipating. Even laxatives can be constipating with excessive usage over time, causing a rebound resistance to laxatives. Endocrine orders such as diabetes and hypothyroidism can affect metabolism and thereby stools.
All this and we’re just talking about one “simple” disorder. But like all disorders — simple or complex — there are reasons for it. Our job is to dissect it and figure out what the body is trying to tell us.
Some symptoms are actually trying to help us, such as high cholesterol. The body doesn’t elevate cholesterol just because it wants to. The notion that eating cholesterol makes your cholesterol go up was debunked nearly two decades ago! High cholesterol combined with high glucose levels and/or dehydration causes thick blood that can initiate a stroke or heart attack. But why are the cholesterol levels elevated? Cholesterol is a healing serum of the body. If it is high, what is it trying to heal? This is an example of the body trying to help, but in helping, creating a new problem.
In taking a patient’s history I like to be thorough. I want to know everything that is going on with their body. Like a picture puzzle, every puzzle piece provides a clue as to what may be going on with them under the surface. Often when I ask if there anything else they say, ‘only a couple minor things.’ Things they have acclimated to, or don’t consider too important because they are more of an annoyance than a “problem.” Many times, these “annoying” symptoms are a vital key — even they have a reason. The body tells us in more than one way what is wrong with it. We have to be the detectives and ask what the symptom or group of symptoms are trying to tell us. Only by listening to what the symptoms are telling us can we truly make a difference in total health.
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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective.” She looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.