Your Colon: the good, the bad and the ugly
The colon is the last part of your digestive system. It does not absorb as many nutrients as the rest of the intestines, but it does absorb water, potassium and some fat soluble vitamins. There are four sections to the colon: ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid. The colon itself is about five feet long and an average of two and half inches in diameter. It is part of the large intestine.
A good colon is a healthy colon. A healthy colon contains over 50 varieties of bacteria meant to aid in digestion, maintain a good pH balance and prevent harmful bacteria from growing. The good bacteria in your colon creates folic acid and other vitamins such as vitamin K and B. A good colon will aid in the process of digestion by the formation and elimination of feces. Two or three bowel movements a day per day, shortly after eating is a sign of a good colon. Stools should be light brown in color, long, large and not have an offensive odor. A good stool from a good colon will be easy to eliminate and break apart when flushed.
A bad colon is one that is not producing regular bowel movements. Irregular or infrequent bowel movements allow toxic residues to remain in the colon. For example, diarrhea is your colon’s response to mild toxins accumulating in the colon. The colon has developed an system of expulsion to defend itself from a further build up. Constipation refers to infrequent bowel movements that are hard and painful to pass. It is usually a result of by a diet low in fiber or liquid. Medication can also cause constipation, as well as certain muscular and functional abnormalities. The aforementioned conditions are, thankfully, easily remedied with changes in diet or mild medications. Eating lots of leafy greens keeps the colon happy. Drinking sufficient amounts of water also helps turn an bad colon into a good colon.
The ugly colon is a sick colon. Sick colons may be responding to an autoimmune disease such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD can be broken down into a few different classifications. Colitis is a condition involving inflammation of the colon, as is Crohn’s disease. Diverticulosis is a condition in which pockets form on the outside of the colon, when the pockets become inflamed the disease becomes Diverticulitis. Either condition involves pain, fever, diarrhea or constipation. The most ugly colon is the one which has untreated polyps that have become cancerous. Colon cancer confined within the wall of the colon is usuallycurable with surgery. If left untreated the cancer will spread to lymph nodes, where it can also be cured through surgery and chemotherapy.
It is impossible to predict how our colon will develop and if it will be good, bad or ugly as we get older. But we can try to keep it in the realm of ‘good’ with proper diet, lots of fluids and regular bowel movements. The media is always giving us recommendations for healthy eating to benefit our entire body, let alone our colon. Most people know that eating lots of vegetables, probiotics and drinking water will keep our bowels happy and regular. But you do not hear very much about the benefits of colon hydrotherapy, or enemas. An enema or high colonic are a less invasive version of hydrotherapy. The enema flushes out the last third of the colon while hydrotherapy cleans out all five feet of the large intestine. That is a pretty shocking concept to someone who has not had the experience. Many people swear by the procedure, saying it stimulates their immune system and flushes out toxins that can cause headaches. Even celebrities have spoken out in favor of hydrotherapy. Most notable is the late Princess Diana. She received hydrotherapy three times a week and credited it with keeping her slim figure. Even the famous Mae West believed in the benefit of a morning enema. She claimed her regular enemas kept her feeling vivacious and her mind sharp even in old age.