Constipation Knows No Gender

constipation and diet

Often for different reasons, both women and men in the U.S. are among the millions of people who experience constipation on any given day, notes Darlene Holloway, founder of the Alternative Health Center of Cary and acknowledged as a national leader in the field of colon hydrotherapy.

Her many honors include selection as Colon Therapist of the Year by the International Association of Colon Therapists in 2009. She now serves as an at-large member on the organization’s governing board.

“We see men coming to us seeking relief from constipation,” she notes, “when, in fact, their important health issue is an enlarged, swollen prostate gland that is applying pressure on the rectum and anal region, resulting in constipation—the failure to move bowels at least once a day.

darlene explaining digestive system with chart“Often, the issue of constipation is directly related to the medications prescribed to relieve the enlarged prostate gland, so it is kind of a catch-22. And that is where we can be most helpful, working with the client to provide a diet that will help move the elimination system. We often recommend herbs and supplements that, working together, will not only help produce a bowel movement, but will also reduce the inflammation in the prostate itself.”

Women and Surgery

Similarly, there are a number of fairly common causes underlying persistent constipation in women, she notes. “Surgery in the abdominal area, for example—such as a C-section or hysterectomy—can create scar tissue—and scar tissue can put pressure on the colon.

“Remember, the colon—nothing more than four layers of muscle—is 2.5 inches in diameter, and five to six feet long. Scar tissue can push down on the colon, leading to constipation. The scar tissue, over time, may cause the colon to balloon out and create a pouch which fills with waste matter, which is a step on the path to constipation. Colon hydrotherapy can be a blessing in addressing this issue and offering relief.

“Our purpose with colon hydrotherapy,” says Ms. Holloway, “in terms of physical goals: is to hydrate the system; remove waste; stimulate muscle movement; rehabilitate the nerves, muscles, glands, circulatory, and immune systems that form the components of the digestive system; and reposition the intestines.”

The hydrotherapy process, she explains, is the safe, gentle infusion of warm, filtered water into the rectum using no chemicals or drugs. “This is a restorative, painless procedure that is both relaxing and effective,” she says. The client lies comfortably on a custom treatment table, and a small speculum is inserted into the rectum. The therapist then monitors the temperature and pressure of the water infused into and out of the colon—the large intestine—without any assistance on the part of the individual.

“The colon hydrotherapy method cleanses the entire colon without stressing the individual,” she says. “This method provides a closed system in which waste material is eliminated through the instrument and out of the drain line.

“It is a restorative procedure that is both relaxing and effective—an extended and more complete form of an enema. Colon hydrotherapy extends beyond the rectum to cleanse the entire large intestine.”

Diet as a Factor

For men and women, diet is a critical factor underlying constipation, Ms. Holloway finds. “If a client has a diet heavy in flour and pasta, for example, they are in effect creating a glue that sticks to the walls of the colon. To ease constipation, I often suggest daily use of a magnesium product that comes in powder form and is mixed in water. We adjust the use of magnesium to the client’s condition. In an acute case—a client who hasn’t moved his or her bowels naturally for several months, for example—we will use a therapeutic dose. The goal is to get to a maintenance level, where the client has good function on a daily basis.

“Good health is as much a function of our elimination status as the quality of food we ingest,” Ms. Holloway points out. “Every year, over 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer—and nearly half will die from the disease.

“Periodic cleansing of the colon could prevent stagnation and minimize the exposure of potential cancer-causing agents to the colon wall. Colon hydrotherapy has a dissolving and therapeutic effect on the large intestine, resulting in a cleaner, healthier colon and improved overall health status.”

For more information about colon hydrotherapy and other therapies offered at the center, contact:


919 Kildaire Farm Road
Cary, NC 27511
Telephone: (919) 380-0023

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