One of the helpful tools I picked up from the GAPS diet is the Enema. During my career working as a Registered Nurse, I maybe administered 5 enema’s (in 17 years). All of these were administered to elderly patients. In our culture we just don’t realize the value of cleaning out the colon.
On the GAPS diet, one is strongly encouraged to administer an enema if a person has not had a bowel movement in more then 24 hours. The rationale behind this is that as the stool sits in your intestines for too long, your body starts to reabsorb the toxins in your stool Ugh. This made alot of sense to me, but I was very reluctant to administer an enema (to myself and my children). To do so, seemed scary and weird. But, after two years on the GAPS diet, two of my kids were still struggling with their health. They were constipated more often then not. So, I bit the bullet. I walked through my fears and I began to utilize this tool. And it helped tremendously. After about 3 weeks of regularly using an enema, my two children started having daily bowel movements on their own. And their health did improve.
I know this next bit of info is a little strange, but we are a bit of a strange family. When I started teaching my two kids how to administer an enema, the other children became interested and curious about what was involved in this enema business. So, some of the kids did “practice” enema’s. It actually was a real enema, but I only used 1/2-1 cup of water. They got to feel what it was like to have the water go inside them. I did this to take away any fear they might have about it, if they needed to have one in the future. And it worked. They thought it was strange, but not scary. And their curiosity was satisfied.
Recently, one of my little ones (9 years old) got to experience the magic of an enema. She came to me complaining of upper left quadrant abdominal pain. She complained that it was her rib causing her pain, so I wasn’t too worried. I thought maybe she got too rowdy on the monkey bars the day before, and had pulled a muscle. I put her in the tub with some Epsom salts. But as she sat in the tub, her pain became very intense (a 10 on a pain scale).
She asked me to take her to the doctor. I examined her belly more closely. It was firm and tender upon palpation. Abdominal pain can be scary. For the parent and the child. If it was right sided I would have been more worried about the appendix. I asked her when she had last pooped. She reported it had been more then three days. So, I set up our trusty enema bag and primed the tubing. It took a total of 10 cups of filtered water (not all at once though), but it worked. She got lots of poo out. Afterward, her belly was soft and pain free. No need to visit the E.R.! I’m telling you folks, an enema is a beautiful thing!!
*If you are at all interested in administering an enema, here is a helpful link to explaining how to proceed.
*When you administer an enema to a child, speak calmly and explain exactly what you are going to do. Make up a soft bed of towels on the floor of the bathroom, pillow included. Gently massage his/her belly as you slowly administer the water. Sometimes the whole thing can take a while. I was in the bathroom with my daughter for 1.5 hours. (Just FYI though, it only takes me about 20 minutes to self administer an enema.) It may be helpful to bring your lap top or ipad into the bathroom and have your child watch a show or listen to music through out the duration of the enema.
*One more thing. Even if you don’t have eleven children to care for, it can be hard to keep up with whether or not your child is pooping at least once every 24 hours. It’s easy when your baby/toddler is still in diapers. But once they are independently using the toilet, it’s important to check in with them and make sure they are pooping enough. When my kids were on the GAPS diet, I taped the Bristol Stool Chart (posted below) behind the toilet. It was their reminder to make a mental note and to keep me posted. I used to have a note book where I charted the types and amount of each child’s stool. I haven’t done this for a while, but because of this last painful episode with constipation, I have reminded my children that they must poop everyday and to let me know if this isn’t happening.
*Please note that the content of this blog is in no way intended to be substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This is just one of the tools in my tool box. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.