I. Physiological Considerations
Constipation - inadequate, difficult, or infrequent evacuation of the fecal content of the bowels - probably causes greater disturbance of function and more symptoms of dis-ease in the human being than any other single condition.
Most commonly, constipation has its origin in an acidity created in the assimilating system of the body. We call this acidity "stomach trouble." Implied in the readings - though not explicitly described - is the concept that stress, tension, arguments, disagreements, anger, and other negative manifestations of the adrenal gland bring the acidity into being in the stomach/duodenal area.
The Peyer's patches provide for the body the alkaline forces necessary in the acid-base balance that must be maintained. (See Acidity-Alkalinity Circulating File.) With excess acid present in the stomach, lymphatic function decreases and creates an inactivity in the liver. A relative lack of enzyme production with a subsequent decrease in proper assimilation follows. This in turn cuts down markedly on the rebuilding forces available for producing normal eliminations. Then some foods which are at times acceptable to the body become as poisons and the system becomes overloaded with "used forces" - those end products of metabolism and the substances produced by improper metabolism and intestinal wastes that begin to be reabsorbed through the lower intestinal walls. After this occurs, a condition which might be described as an intestinal indigestion comes into being which causes a packing of fecal material in the large bowel. The system, reabsorbing waste into the bloodstream, reinforces the beginning factors which brought the constipation into being.
Certainly it must be recognized that constipation occurs as a result of various types of diseases, but the development as described above is probably the most common. Associated with constipation nearly always and sometimes acting as a cause of constipation are varying pressures and subluxations of the cervical, dorsal, and lumbar segments. Improper diet, such as an acid-reacting one, kept up as a regular practice, is also a major factor. The consequences of constipation are consistently underrated, possibly because they are not understood. When toxins are reabsorbed into the circulation, the liver progressively loses its ability to excrete as well as to secrete. The kidneys usually respond to this relative liver shutdown by becoming overtaxed in their function of eliminating substances from the body. Symptoms of dysuria appear, associated with inflammation of the kidney, bladder, and the tubes associated with the renal system. The skin and lungs - two other organs of elimination - are called upon to exercise their functions more vigorously in order to keep the body in a good general balance. Thus halitosis or various skin disturbances may occur.
In case , the accumulation of toxins produced a general nervousness with bad dreams - an incoordination of the cerebrospinal and the autonomic nervous systems. What caused all this? "This same restlessness as was produced in the nerve system, which carries, as it were, its message of those conditions awry in the system to the brain. This, then, produces restlessness, and the tendency for the body to have hallucinations or visions that would harm physically the body." (550-1) From the disturbance of the incoordination comes also the inability to rest well, a constant waking during the night, and a tiredness when rest should have brought about resuscitation. These symptoms arise because the recuperative processes malfunction due to the toxins throughout the system. The eyes might become inflamed, the hands become cold on occasion, and skin eruptions appear. Headaches are a common symptom, nausea at times, and a heaviness in the feet. Also a dryness of the mouth; sometimes a swelling of the feet; and the color and circulation are reported as "bad."
In looking at the various types of incoordination produced, it becomes evident that disease syndromes can be built upon the simple condition that we know as constipation. It becomes important, then, to regard the elimination system with a great deal of respect.
There should be a warning to all bodies as to such conditions; for would the assimilations and the eliminations be kept nearer normal in the human family, the days might be extended to whatever period as was so desired; for the system is builded by the assimilations of that it takes within, and is able to bring resuscitation so long as the eliminations do not hinder. (311-4)
II. Therapeutic Considerations
Constipation that has progressed beyond a single episode must be given due respect when therapy is being considered. A wide variety of treatments, certainly, is available. However, for constipation that has progressed to the point where it becomes a problem for the individual, there seems to emerge a pattern of three basic therapies.
- Diet: Unless a condition of alkalosis is present, the diet should be a highly alkaline-reacting one with many leafy green vegetables. Starches and protein should not be combined, such as bread with beans or high protein vegetables, and white potatoes with bread. Cereals and juice (citrus) combinations should be avoided. Important: The diet should be kept to consistently and for a long period of time.
- Osteopathic treatments were advised for , who was to have three treatments a week for five weeks, then two a week for perhaps 10 weeks, then rest 10 days - then another series of six to eight treatments. Sometimes a longer series would be needed, depending to a great extent on the chronicity of the constipation. (Relaxation or manipulation should be used at all times with the exception of one adjustment of specific nature every three to five treatments.)
- Cleansing of the intestines includes colonics, which are very helpful and frequently necessary; enemas; various types of eliminants, such as Fletcher's Castoria, olive oil, Agarol, and cleansing diets. These may all be necessary at one time or another to keep the bowels cleansed. Castor oil packs may occasionally be needed or abdominal massage. Massage with olive oil should follow the course of the stomach to the duodenum, past the Peyer's patches to the jejunum and ileum, and then across to the caecum, up over the ascending, transverse and descending colon, for as long as the body will absorb the olive oil.
Most often treatment for constipation will be in conjunction with treatment for other conditions, so this must be kept in mind when the above suggestions are utilized.
An Elimination Program for a Torpid Liver
After each meal for two or three days, take about a quarter teaspoonful of the Alcaroid.
After the third day that this has been taken, leave it off, and take two Zilatone tablets at bedtime-on the day after the Alcaroid has been left off, you see; drinking plenty of water!
Let this go then for two or three weeks, then do this again.
But to keep the eliminations each day that there is not the evacuation through the alimentary canal, the high enemas - salt and soda enemas. Preferably take these yourself, using a fountain syringe. Not necessary that the water be hot. Do not have the water warmer than the temperature of the body, but use this each day when there is not a natural evacuation from the alimentary canal. (1269-1)
Constipation - Acute Infection
In case [25), Cayce suggests that an eliminant be given that is of the lactic nature rather than of the acid nature. In this case the teenage boy had tonsillitis which was causing pains in the joints and a toxic condition.
Hence it would be necessary that, not too much excitement to the secreting organ but, sufficient and rather the lactic nature than of the acid; that is, these properties taken to produce elimination shall be Tactics and of the saline nature rather than of an acid nature. That is, such as these would be well for the body to take regularly for some time after this was done:
Plain phosphate of soda, half a teaspoonful in half a glass of water, and add five to six drops of oil, or syrup of sarsaparilla. (25-2)
This boy was advised to have his tonsils removed and to clean out the intestinal tract.
The following extract helps us to understand the balance of mind and body that is needed, for emotions do have an effect upon our physical beings:
Do not become overanxious - for, to be sure, the mental is the builder; and overanxiousness may bring about barriers to proper reactions throughout the system; whether as related to the circulatory forces or the assimilations or eliminations of the body.
But these influences kept in a body-normal eliminations, near to normal assimilations - without accident - it, the body, reproduces itself in every phase of its experience. The natural balance is an eighty percent alkaline to a twenty percent acid reaction. This means reaction in the system, and these should be kept.
Keep these physically, mentally, with a spiritual basis of constructiveness for the mental attitudes. For grudges, animosities, hates, overanxieties are a part of the mental and become conditions reactory in the physical forces. (816-8)
[Note: The preceding overview was written by William A. McGarey, M.D. and is excerpted from the Physician's Reference Notebook, Copyright © 1968 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA.]