El Penski, May 2013, updated October 28, 2013
This may be the most important short report you will read in your life. ALS and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) have been known to drive people to suicide. I was initially diagnosed with ALS, but when I kept living without total incapacitation; my diagnosis was switched to PLS. I have had most of the symptoms of ALS since 2004. (For details on ALS and PLS)
"Everyone has a separate, mostly independent nervous system in their gut called the enteric nervous system. One hundred million nerve cells distributed throughout your digestive system direct movement through your intestines.
"This ‘second brain’ can work independently of the one in your head, but there is an awful lot of talk back and forth between the two."1
I noticed many times since 2004 with ALS or PLS that my conscious had to get the permission of another part of my brain. For example, at times, if my one foot was slightly in a awkward position, I could not lift it (I felt paralyzed), but if I slid it over ground it to a less awkward position, then I could lift it. Also, when I felt constipated my walking was more difficult. Also, there was a strong correlation by bowel activities and bladder functioning. It is very clear to me that some other part of the brain than the conscious has a veto power over what the conscious does in many situations. I had a friend that could not keep himself from inappropriate laughing at funerals. All he could do was not attend. In order to deal successfully with many such problems, you have to understand what your autonomic nervous system wants instead of wasting your energy and wellness fighting yourself.
Most of my life I never paid any attention to my bathroom habits. I never noticed how often I went or what I did. I was most often thinking of other things while I was in the bathroom. In January 2013 I started noticing there was over a week between bowel movements because my movements were very painful, and I was also observing some urgency for urination right before my bowels finally moved. After I completed a stressful tax season in April 2013, I had an attack of IBS. First, I was running to the bathroom every half hour. Finally after a totally exhausting day, I put on a Depend underpants and laid down on a recliner. My gut was hurting and my uncontrolled penis was in pain. I was urinating and passing gas every few minutes. After hours I wanted to stand up to relieve the pain throughout my body. I lowered my foot rest, but my legs kept straight instead of dropping to the floor. I tried twice to have a friend and my son do what I could not do – pushing my feet down to the floor. I asked myself why I was going through such pain and the answer that ran through my brain was, “You dummy, there is no way you will listen to your bodily messages without extreme pain.” After I relieved myself about 10 or more times and generated 11 + or - 2 lbs of excrement, the pain stopped and I was able to stand up and walk better than I walked in months.
I went on the Internet and found I had an extreme version of “irritable bowel syndrome.” (IBS) I found that 20% Americans have IBS. Most individuals have their first attack between the ages of 15 and 40. I guess for my first 77 years, I was active or lucky enough to avoid IBS.
The cause of IBS is unknown. It is termed a functional disorder -- no physical abnormalities that can be measured. That is what they say for ALS. The medical industry says there is no cure or known cause for IBS, ALS, or PLS.
The medical industry tells you to eat food with the lots of fiber for IBS, but then tell you it is important to avoid gas-producing foods which have the most fiber. They are not much help. For example, "worldwide the research on constipation has been extremely slow because it has been hidden by an overwhelming belief both in the lay and medical population that it is the lack of fiber which causes constipation. We now know that nothing can be further from the truth since removal of fiber from the diet of healthy patients does not cause constipation."2
While I still eat eggs and meat, I have solved the constipation problem by eating a Spanish Queen Olive and yogurt with active live cultures with every meal, trying to populate my guts with beneficial bacteria and enzymes, running my vegetables through a food processor with olives, and eating more varied fruit and fish. This has worked for several months.
The intestines seem to touch and control nearly all parts of a person’s innards.3
It is well known and widely found in the literature that constipation accompanies ALS, but I have never have found the suggestion that extreme constipation causes ALS. I believe that extreme constipation may initiate some symptoms of ALS and then autocatalysis takes over. Fear and stress on the patient from overreaction by family, caregivers, and the medical industries’ treatment and concern for lawsuits drive patients to decline quickly thereafter.
I am certain that constipation causes bladder problems in myself, but I have never read that anywhere.
I have observed in two instances that IBS causes temporary paralysis of the legs. Also, I know that I can move my feet easier when I walk when I am not constipated.
When people have the initial symptoms of ALS, I suggest routinely checking them with sonography for a full or overstuffed intestine.
Some research should be done to see if extreme constipation causes problems of the heart, lungs, other organs, blood tests, brain and major nerves.
1. The Brain Gut Connection in IBS, By Barbara Bradley Bolen, Ph.D., About.com Guide, Updated April 03, 2013, About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board, http://ibs.about.com/od/symptomsofib1/a/braingut.htm
2. Constipation, The Centre for Digestive Diseases, The Centre of Excellence in Gastroenterology, Five Dock, NSW 2046, Australia, 2009.
Home to El's Research Studies
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