Reflux + Constipation + IBS: Holding on, Letting Go

Holding On and Letting Go
Here we are — Mid-Autumn — a time when the nights grow longer, trees aflame with color, crops have borne their fruits (and veggies, grains, flowers!), and we collectively retreat into the darker energies of Autumn into Winter months (here in the Northern Hemisphere).

As we near Halloween, we are aware of the growing shadows. For some, this is a scary time of year — yet for others, it is an exciting time to delve deeply into the Unknown.

What better time to reflect upon stories of the Hidden; A perfect time to explore what is beneath the surface and that which we cannot readily see or procure awareness without inner reflection!

This week’s Patient Story began with aims to resolve Chronic Gastrointestinal Acid Reflux (also known as GERD – or “Acid Reflux” – most commonly).

This Patient was a woman in her late-70s and — understandably — experiencing Upper Digestive issues following the death of her spouse after more than 6 decades of marriage.

We had begun a straightforward approach to sorting Acid Reflux, where she was experiencing some relief, but not complete resolution.

This was puzzling at first, because the Patient had expressed normal DAILY bowel movements and we established a balanced, reasonable diet with adequate frequency of meals.

Upon her third consultation call, we received a diagnostic report (scan) that her bowels were FILLED to capacity of fecal residuewaste.

Despite daily bowel movements, she was packed with waste and as a result, had a sluggish rate of gastric emptying and small intestine motility. [ This means that the contents of the stomach were slow to pass into the small intestine, and then the small intestine was sluggish to assimilate her foods for moving onto the large intestine ]

In Layman’s Terms: If you don’t take out the trash, IT BACKS UP!

The Digestive System is ONE LONG TUBE: mouth to anus! If we continue to consume meals and pack it in, eventually the system will experience symptoms of backup.

Functional Details
We have muscular gateways along this tube [also known as the Alimentary Canal] — that we call SPHINCTERS. They help contain each segment and their contents [mouth, esophagus/stomach, small intestine, large intestine/sigmoid colon/rectum]. Each segment requiring their own pH (acidity vs alkalinity) levels. The Nervous System influences function and control of these muscular sphincters, so spasm or overly-relaxed activity features into symptoms and how we manage them.

When we experience this “backup”, it alters the pH of the preceding segment; This means that the segments being compromised by altered pH will not function properly.

Largely, this is due to:

  1. Enzymatic production + activity alterations, and
  2. Bacterial “flora” – or the microbiome – that require certain ranges of pH to function adequately.

While supplementing with PREbiotics and PRObiotics can be useful in certain circumstances, it is not always the answer in digestive issues.

Ah, I digress — back to the personal story…

On an energetic and emotional level, this woman was nursing her Beloved through lung cancer. She tended to him constantly through the battle; a slow, painful process that was heady and deeply challenging on various levels (both conscious and subconscious processing).

From that energetic-emotional standpoint, she was HOLDING ON to her mate, to sustain him through this time. She was HOLDING IT TOGETHER for him, their children and grandchildren –emotionally.

As it turned out, his final moments were the urge to move his bowels, and he passed while in the bathroom.

Heavy stuff, hey?

So, as I consulted with my Patient and discussed all of these factors in a bigger picture, she could see that her HOLDING ON and HOLDING IT TOGETHER meant that she was also internally restricting the release of her own digestive system!

My Patient was INTERNALLY PROCESSING the emotions and circumstances mentally and emotionally — yet unable to RELEASE and move beyond it.

Think about it:
We CONSUME food for sustenance.. we digest/break it down, assimilate and utilize what we need and discard/eliminate what we don’t need and the waste of general metabolism, used hormones, and other biologic substances.

We CONSUME information, circumstances, experiences on INTELLECTUAL – EMOTIONAL – ENERGETIC – SUBCONSCIOUS levels… we internally “process” them… and we assimilate them on these various levels.

If we have a challenge with information overload, we often have difficulty with the initial intake and processing — leading to Acid Reflux….

If – once we process the information – we have a challenge taking what we need from it and releasing the rest, it often seems to reflect physiologically as “holding onto” the waste and Constipation or Irritable Bowel Syndrome [IBS] (as we generate internal pressures, variations of acceptance, bottled-up emotions, difficulty “letting go”, etc).

Sometimes we also experience bouts of Diarrhea, and all of these variations of symptoms come through waves of emotional processing that impact the Nervous System.

Once we realized the extent to which her body was retaining waste and addressed those deeper issues — to delve deeply into the shadows of the body, heart and mind — we saw her through to a FULL RECOVERY of her Acid Reflux, Chronic Constipation, and finally able to begin mending her heavy heart in the loss of her Mate.

This didn’t take very long on my end (compared to the many more months she was experiencing Acid Reflux symptoms) — I believe we sorted her physical challenges within 4-6 months to full resolution. (results vary in individuals based upon Personal Medical History, concurrent medical treatments, emotional factors, and lifestyles – amongst additional influences).

I created a video reflecting on this story: CLICK HERE



Tami Bronstein

University-qualified Medical Herbalist-Physiologist — via University of Wales/College of Phytotherapy (Cardiff/London, U.K.), Hofstra University, Exercise Physiology + Psychology (New York), and Post-Graduate Fellowship alongside Medical Doctors (France) in NeuroEndocrinology support via Plant Remediation. Clinical Nutrition perspective is part-and-parcel of Clinical Herbal Medicine + Exercise Physiology education and perspectives. Nearing 30 years in-practice.

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