Oh poop. No, literally – oh, poop.
Did you grow up in a poop-friendly environment? Probably not. Did you learn about your gut microbiome before you became middle aged, only to then discover that was goes in does not always come out … as expected? Nope and oh yes. Do you most often keep all things from this end of the body locked away in a giant secret safe of “if it’s not working, then I am broken and obviously it’s my fault and most definitely I need to figure it out alone?” Obviously.
As for my history with the #2, I can thank Celiac disease and Hashimoto’s for giving me an early start to wanting to know everything about the gut. I may or may not have been obsessed, most likely (definitely) to an unhealthy degree. In fact, my family loves to remind me that at my older brother’s rehearsal dinner way back in 2001, I made sure to passionately tell all of his friends about “eating dirt pills”. In my defense, I had just read a book called Patient Heal Thyself written by a zealot of some kind who claimed moving to a far away land and eating undisturbed soil cured him of every illness he had every had. The discovery was that this miracle soil was full of healthy bacteria, resulting in a return to happy plumbing and overall vitality.
Thankfully, the science of our guts – and our poop – has come a long way from the zealots and dirt pills (I won’t mention coffee enemas, ahem) I encountered then. Now, there’s ample research and a ton of fascinating data on the importance of our microbiome, along with more and more information on how we can get things happier in, well, all things evacuation.
The issue that remains, though, is that we STILL don’t talk about it a ton. We still feel a little hush hush about the whole subject. That might be because we still live with messages from our childhood that mostly shunned “potty talk” and parents who never asked about our poop much less talked about their own. Or it might be because when you do talk about it, you get lackluster help. I have many friends who, when honest, will confess that they are constipated or in distress at least a few times a month. If they go to the doctor, they get the advice of “drinking more water, eating more fiber, and reducing stress”. They try that, maybe even adding in prunes and chia seeds and abdominal massage.
Some of these things help, but a lot of times it doesn’t. And, so, we are left either ignoring it or playing secret detectives (hello Dr Google), neither of which are generally successful pursuits. The truth is that there are so many other nuanced variables at play. We here at MommaStrong have a list of a few that seem to be not talked about enough, certainly many of which don’t really have any concrete answers (yet).
Have you changed your medications in any way recently?
Have you been holding your poop (fear of pooping in public or in people’s house you don’t know well enough hahaha)?
Have your hormones shifted?
Do you have pelvic floor issues that need help from a pelvic floor physical therapist?
Do you have back pain or sacroiliac dysfunction?
Have you experienced stressful events?
Are you relying on the same recipes/foods because who has time for creative cooking?
It’s our hope that in this most summery-almost-back-to-school-post-vacation-but-not-vacation-actually-maybe-more-stressful-experience month of August, we can dig into yet another part of our health – together – and just rip away the quiet all around it. It might also be essential, in my opinion, that we do this. It seems that our health revolves around the good working order of our guts, which means we just need to ask questions and get answers.
And yay for us, as this month in The Hook, we are talking about Poop Problems: Help for Your Plumbing. And – hooray – we are also using this month to test a new structure to The Hook, where we actually help you with worksheets, weekly emails, experts on our podcast, and some accountability for your daily movement (hahaha, see what I did there).
We do hope you join us. I promise that Jya and I will make the most awkward jokes and the best puns.
Here are the details on how to get registered for The Hook, a la Poop Problems, as a new member or a current member:
Registration begins July 31st and goes through August 7th. If you are a new member, HELLO! Simply become a member here for only $5, then login to your account and click on The Hook and sign up.
After you register, all we encourage you to do is to read one email each week. In that email will be a mini podcast episode you can listen to and brief education with a few things to ponder upon. Then, comment or discuss as you like in our community.
OH, and you try to show up for 5-15 minutes of exercise as often as possible during the month. We help you plan how you’re going to get that done, realistically.
We will see you soon.