Constipation Can Cause Pants-Wetting and Bed-Wetting

Back in Novem­ber 2011, I explained that chil­dren who “refuse” to have bow­el move­ments in the pot­ty or are “hold­ing” their stool for days on end aren’t mis­be­hav­ing, they’re con­sti­pat­ed. Recent­ly, I saw some pub­lished stud­ies (click here and here) that showed that con­sti­pa­tion can also cause pants-wet­ting and bed-wet­ting acci­dents. Those stud­ies showed that the prob­lem could often be solved by giv­ing the child lax­a­tives. A bet­ter solu­tion would be to feed the child a diet that would pre­vent con­sti­pa­tion to begin with: a plant-based diet with no dairy prod­ucts.

The stan­dard Amer­i­can diet is a recipe for con­sti­pa­tion. That’s because it is low in fiber and includes dairy prod­ucts. Food that comes from ani­mals (meat, fish, eggs, and dairy prod­ucts) con­tains no fiber at all. Processed foods con­tain lit­tle or no fiber, because the fiber has been stripped out by the pro­cess­ing. Dairy prod­ucts are also a major cause of con­sti­pa­tion. The major pro­tein in cow’s milk is called casein. When you digest casein, you first break the casein mol­e­cule down into small­er pieces of pro­tein, called pep­tides. Some of the pep­tides that come from casein are called caso­mor­phins because they act a lot like the drug mor­phine. Besides being slight­ly addic­tive, caso­mor­phins slow down the mus­cles that are sup­posed to move food through the intestines. The result can be severe con­sti­pa­tion. In some peo­ple, even small amounts of dairy foods (milk, cheese, yogurt) can cause con­sti­pa­tion.

Many peo­ple in the Unit­ed States have always eat­en a con­sti­pat­ing diet. As a result, they may think that it’s nor­mal to go for three or more days with­out a bow­el move­ment. They may think that it’s nor­mal for bow­el move­ments to hurt. Par­ents are often unaware that they them­selves are con­sti­pat­ed. They might be even less aware that their school-age or teenage chil­dren are also con­sti­pat­ed. If a child is pass­ing small amounts of stool fre­quent­ly, the par­ents may have no clue that the poor child’s rec­tum is dis­tend­ed with stool. As a result, the par­ents may have no clue as to why their child or teenag­er is wet­ting the bed.

A con­sti­pat­ed person’s rec­tum may be so enlarged that there’s not enough room for the blad­der. As a result, the blad­der sim­ply can­not hold much urine. The pres­sure from the enlarged rec­tum can also put abnor­mal pres­sure on the nerves that serve the blad­der. When you add these two prob­lems togeth­er, the result can be loss of blad­der con­trol.

Of course, con­sti­pa­tion can cause far more seri­ous prob­lems than bed-wet­ting. Con­sti­pa­tion can also cause hem­or­rhoids and painful anal fis­sures. It can even cause appen­dici­tis, which can be dead­ly. If the con­sti­pa­tion goes on for years, it can cause oth­er kinds of prob­lems, such as vari­cose veins. For­tu­nate­ly, con­sti­pa­tion can eas­i­ly be cured by switch­ing to a high-fiber, dairy-free diet.

Many doc­tors are con­vinced that con­sti­pa­tion results from peo­ple “hold­ing it” for days on end. Dr. John McDougall debunked that idea. In his book Dr. McDougall’s Diges­tive Tune-Up, he wrote: “One of my med­ical text­books states that con­sti­pa­tion is caused by fail­ure to answer the urge to defe­cate. I chal­lenge any­one to ignore the urge after fol­low­ing my dietary rec­om­men­da­tions for just a cou­ple of days.”

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