Fundamentals of the Digestive System
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According to the legendary Hippocrates, sometime approximately 2,000 years ago he stated “All disease begins in the gut”. Now, lets take a minute to digest that statement! The topic I have chosen to speak about this time is a very important one to me and to many folks in North America as well as around the world.
Many decades back, talking about “passing stool” was somewhat “taboo” and rarely shared with among others however with more and more people having high aspirations to achieving great lengths in their health, nothing seems to be ruled out in 2017. So I decided to talk about one of the most important engines created for man. The digestive system!
You see the way I see the digestive system is like a manufacturing plant, food is taken in, goes through several processes and the end products are excretion and nutrients retained. Very simple. However, the mechanics that work behind the scenes are crucial. We have to make sure our digestive system passes the inspection tests (free from symptoms and hiccups) and in order to do that we ought to learn more about this beautiful body ours. It is so precious, flexible and endures a lot however, if you neglect the symptoms (body’s cries) for prolonged periods our bodies will pay the ultimate (high) price whether it be buying laxatives, undergoing procedures or experiencing non-stop pain.
Our digestion system has many organs/enzymes that assist us in:
- Breaking down our foods
- Capture the nutrients for growth & development
- To excrete what our body no longer needs.
*The time length it takes for this whole process to complete varies between one person and another*
The digestive system is made up of the stomach/colon/large intestine/small intestine/rectum:
Stomach: food is broken down into small pieces and juices/enzymes get all the necessary nutrients needed
Small intestine: nutrients are absorbed and digested
Large intestine: water and salt are absorbed and cause the stool to become firmer and
Rectum: stool is now pushed through a series of muscle contractions
Once the “unwanted portion of food” passes through all of the above components of the large intestine, the stool is parked at the rectum At that point, nerve signals are sent to the brain to let you know that it is now time to go to the bathroom and release the stool. The main issue is when the individual decides to go later on and not immediately. As the stool continues to be parked at the rectum, the water from the stool continues to be absorbed by the colon and as more and more stool continue to build at the rectum. Overtime, it becomes dry and painful to release it from the body. If you continue to ignore (or delay) the messages from your brain
TO learn a more visual understanding about how the digestive process work please visit the following video (linked to Youtube):
Now that we’ve gotten a glimpse of how the digestion process works, we have to look at what could harm this manufacturing plant and lead to people experiencing different degrees of constipation. This rules out if you have a genetically pre-disposed condition, per se, that would not allow you to fall under the criteria such as Crohn’s disease.
Different forms of stools:
Below is a diagrams that indicate the different formats in which stool may leave the body and how far off they are from what is considered as “ideal stool”. You should look closely at this chart and compare what may cause you from not getting the ideal form of stool. If you are managing a medical condition, taking medications etc. it is best to discuss what options you have to attaining the best stool flow.
It amazes me how great our bodies work, the amount of tolerance they keep up with and cry out symptoms in painful ways when the matter is serious. A few years back I suffered from a serious of symptoms mostly sharp pains around my belly button and was tested positive for Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) bacteria which is found within the digestive tract. Throughout my entire 25 years of life, I have suffered from constipation and the procrastination slowly built itself to the point where I had to get tested through a series of exams and was placed on a 1 week antibiotic program. I completed the treatment with the goal to never disrespect my body and health again.
I went onto this journey about learning how to overcome constipation using natural remedies and supplementing my diet with the daily recommended dose of fiber. Health is a magnificent thing when you have it and enjoy life pain-free. However, if you repeatedly ignore your body’s cries and warning signs it may, sometimes, be too late to save your precious organ/tissue etc.
The next blog will be in-depth on constipation, what causes it, managing constipation, natural products that could help you to heal your gut, role of micro-flora and the domino effects of when you have constipation under control.
I hope you learned a thing or two about the digestive system. Thank you so much for stopping by and see you on my next blog!
Coach Hanan Yusuf