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Colonic Hydrotherapy for Digestive Problems

by Hannah McDonald(more info)

listed in colon health, originally published in issue 134 - April 2007

Simon (not his real name) first came to see me after a course of colonic hydrotherapy treatments failed to clear up his digestive symptoms. He had been suffering with excessive gas, explosive bowel motions and lower abdominal gripes for several years. In addition he had a sore, inflamed and itchy anus for which the doctor had prescribed an unsuccessful course of anti-fungal cream. Simon had a family history of Coeliac disease, but this had been ruled out after tests at the hospital, and the doctors were waiting for results of tests for Giardia, as Simon had travelled widely in his early twenties, including nine months spent in India.

Simon’s diet was fairly high in wheat, dairy produce and sugars and, although he ate a mainly vegetarian diet, there was a lack of green leafy vegetables and fruit on a daily basis. We agreed that the initial course of action should be to wait for the results of the Giardia tests, while eliminating wheat, dairy and sugar from the diet and increasing green leafy vegetables and fruit.

After two weeks I telephoned Simon, and he reported that his bowels had started to settle with less explosive bowel motions, but still a lot of gas. However, he and his wife had suffered with a sickness and diarrhoea which was still hanging around after almost a week. He had not yet had the results of the test from the doctor, so I advised him to try a Grapefruit-Seed Extract supplement and some probiotics to see if this could help to settle his stomach. At his second appointment two weeks later, Simon confirmed that the tests from his doctor showed he and his wife both had Giardia and they were currently undergoing antibiotic treatment.  He reported that his bowels had started to settle down, but had reverted to their old pattern since he had started the antibiotics. He was reluctant to discontinue the antibiotics but agreed to also continue with the Grapefruit-Seed Extract and probiotics at the same time, and return when he had finished the antibiotic treatment.

One month on, and Simon returned saying that his bowels had improved, his movements were less explosive, firmer and he also had no nausea or pain.  However, he was still having four or five loose bowel motions a day, and still suffered with excessive gas which was increasingly smelly. The irritation and soreness around the anus and his lethargy had got worse not better. He had been referred to a specialist and was due to have a rectal examination as he was now getting a bit of blood in his stools. I suggested that there may be another pathological agent causing a problem in his digestive tract and he agreed to undertake a stool analysis to look at levels of intestinal bacteria, fungal infections and possible parasites.

The results of the stool analysis took a month to arrive and in that time Simon had undergone a rectal exam and a colonoscopy which found a lot of polyps which were shown to be benign, following a biopsy. Otherwise there was some inflammation, but nothing else was found.  The results of the stool analysis, however showed a severe imbalance in his digestive bacteria, with moderate to high levels of Geotrichum candidum, along with moderate to abundant levels of the pathogens Citrobacter and Enterococcus species. He had good levels of Lactobacillus species but also showed a mould-like fungus and had very depressed levels of intestinal SIgA, indicating low intestinal immunity to infections and a weakened mucosal membrane.

Simon agreed to undertake an extensive course of supplements to help correct the current situation, which included an immunoglobulin complex and fructooligosaccharides along with Oregano and Clove oils, Grapefruit-Seed Extract, and Artemisia. Alongside this corrective programme, we included a digestive enzyme complex to ensure that he was able to digest his food properly and reduce any irritation from incomplete digestion.

After two months Simon reported that he thought the supplements were definitely helping. He was less sore and itchy around the anus and his bowel motions were less frequent. His levels of gas had reduced significantly and his energy was gradually improving, although still sporadic. He agreed to continue with the supplement programme as it was, with the addition of some L-glutamine to help strengthen the mucosal membrane.

Another three months on, and Simon reported that his bowels had normalized.  He was having two well-formed bowel motions a day with little or no gas. The soreness and itchiness around the anus had cleared up completely and his energy levels were now much higher. He also reported that he was having to eat less frequently and was more in control of his diet; he felt that his food was now lasting him much longer than before. He had stopped excluding wheat and dairy with no ill effects, but was successfully keeping his sugar intake to a minimum.

A repeat of the stool analysis confirmed that the Geotrichum candidum, Citrobacter and Enterococcus infections had disappeared, the mould-like fungus had gone completely and the levels of intestinal SIgA had risen to normal. 

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About Hannah McDonald

Hannah McDonald has been working with Diet and Nutrition for over 11 years. She trained as a Nutritionist at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and has a successful practice in Gloucestershire. She specializes in a multi-discipline approach, working closely with many other therapists, including Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists and Homeopaths, developing specialist protocols for chronic and acute illnesses. Hannah regularly gives talks on many aspects of Nutrition and Health, and has written articles for a variety of publications. She can be contacted via Tel: 0845 130 3248; hannah@absolutenutrition.org.uk

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