Procedure #4 Indications: This procedure may be used to induce regular and easy bowel movements, especially important for people who have diverticuloses. When bowel movements are delayed or difficult or both, the colon (lower part of the large intestine) can become inflamed. That condition, known as diverticulitis, can cause pain, fever, damage to the colon which requires surgery, or in the worst cases can cause death. Because regular and easy bowel movements are so important to prevention of diverticulitis, this procedure may some day make a crucial difference.
Procedure #4 Details
Follow your doctor's orders concerning everything which affects bowel movements. They may include increased consumption of fruits and dietary fiber, reduction of "binding" foods such as some kinds of cheese, use or non-use of enemas or suppositories, use or non-use of prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs, exercise, or any other means to induce bowel movements. If bowel movements are not regular and easy in spite of all the above, then try the following.
First, try increasing water intake every day. A large intake of water has several health advantages in addition to regular bowel movements. Some are mentioned elsewhere in this Internet page. For good health, an average adult should consume at least 80 ounces a day. Solid foods will supply about 30 ounces, so drinks with meals or between means should supply about 50 ounces of additional fluids per day. More than that won't do any harm. Carbonated drink cans hold 12 ounces, coffee mugs about 8 ounces, and tea cups about 6 ounces. A large daily intake of water tends to keep the feces softer so a bowel movement can be induced at will. This works for some, but not for everyone. If need be, try the next sequence:
Do this when a bowel movement is desired in the next hour. This has worked for me and is only needed occasionally: Three people in one family I know habitually drink warm water before breakfast each day. That brings on bowel movements in about an hour. If that is an inconvenient time of day, try the variation which follows:
1 - Drink about 8-12 ounces of warm water at any convenient time.
2 - Drinking the warm water soon causes a strong urge to empty the bladder, but wait until after the bowel movement. The strong urge seems to be important, because it seems to return water to the colon, thus softening the stools and increasing the volume. If there is no strong urge to urinate, take some more warm water.
3 - Be prepared to get to a bathroom in a hurry.
4 - While waiting, relax the anus sphincter muscle. The feeling is the same as when a bowel movement is in process. That relaxation induces traveling colon contractions (peristalsis) which propel the feces out of the body.
5 - Pushing moderately may get the movement started, but have a suppository handy, and use it rather than pushing hard to get the movement started. That may be necessary if Immodium was taken since the last movement, causing the anus to be blocked by dried out stools.