Posted 7/22/2006 9:32 AM (GMT -7)
Have you been concerned because when you have a bowel movement it looks the same as it you have just eaten it, totally undigested? Then this post is for you.
I realize that this is a quite lengthy post and that most of you who have had IBS a long time and have researched and learned that IBS can be regulated by a special fiber diet. But for the "newbies" or even folks like myself who was diagnosised 15 years ago and just left it at that withought doing the proper research into seeking the cause and learning to regulate my IBS this post may be of interest to you and perhaps informative.
I have been doing some research as to finding a diet that not only relieves the symptoms of IBS but prevents it for the most part. I learned that it has to do with the proper consumption of two different types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, the proper amounts, and how to introduce them into my diet
However, before this knowledge, and still in my ignorance, I would wait until a symptom, such as constipation, occurred and then eat a lot of spinach or other foods high in insoluble fiber. It would temporarily relieve the symptom but in a few days it would be right back. Then my stools would be too loose so I ate I ate an abundance of soluble fiber and so it went, back and forth,and my IBS was never regulated.
When I overdo it and eat too many foods in soluble fiber my stools come out looking just as I have eaten them. I was a bit concerned but assumed this was the problem.
Well, when I got up first thing this morning by bowel movement consisted of corn, peanuts, peas, carrots,and beans. My first reaction was that I had introduced too much soluble fiber into my diet but because of my hypochondria I was a bit concerned that I was misdiagnosing myself and my "cyberchondria" set in.
Although I know that practicing cyberchondria can be additive and cause misdiagnosed or over-looked problems that can be of a more serious or even less serious condition. I did however learn something very interesting.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF THERE IS UNDIGESTED FOOD IN THE FECES?
If food appears in the feces looking very similar to how you it was when you ate it, this means that the food has not been digested (broken down and absorbed) by the body. Believe it or not, many foods that we eat cannot be digested by the enzymes in our digestive system. An enzyme is a type of protein that helps produce chemical reactions in the body.
Foods that cannot be digested by the human body usually contain a high amount of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is a term for chemical substances in the cells of plants that cannot be digested by the human body. Dietary fiber cannot be digested by the human body because it lacks the necessary enzymes to do so. More specifically, dietary fiber is resistant to hydrolysis. Hydrolysis is a process in which a substance is broken down by splitting its chemical bond and adding water to it. Since dietary fiber cannot be digested, it passes through the body virtually unchanged and cannot be used as an energy source. Although humans cannot digest dietary fiber, some of it is broken down by bacteria to produce gas and acids.
Examples of foods that are not digested well by the human body include corn, peanuts, peas, carrots, cereals, and beans all of which I had eaten the night before (with the exception of the ceral.). If the bacteria in the body are successful, some of the carbohydrates in these foods may be broken down. If not, however, we will see these foods in the feces. Ok, I felt relieved and was sure that my diagnosis was accurate, until I read the next paragraph which stated:
"If the above reasons are not causing food to be undigested, this could indicate a problem in the digestive system. In a healthy person, it should take between 24 and 36 hours to digest food. If the food comes out of the body faster than this, this usually means that there is a build up of debris (the remains of something broken down) that is preventing the colon from digesting food.
Well, it had not taken 24-36 hours for my food to digest; it had only been about 16 hours. So, as usual, my "cyberchondria" set in and I started researching other causes of food passing straight through my system and what could be the cause/causes that prevent the colon from digestinng food. Then it dawned on me. One of the primary symptoms of IBS is that the intestines squeeze too hard or not hard enough and will cause food to move too fast or too slowly through your system. Case solved. Now I can poop in peace!