Medications for Bowel Diseases

Hello, Karl Essen here to write about acid in the stomach, how digestion habits are formed, and ask the question of whether a lifetime of taking medicine for bowel diseases is the best way to go.

What pain is serious enough to seek help immediately?

Usually with something like appendicitis there is such an acute pain and so different from indigestion, people just know to seek medical help immediately.  In case you do not know, the appendix is a pouch or tube extending off the large intestine, right after the small intestine.  If it breaks or become infected, a dull pain the belly will migrate to the lower right abdomen and become very sharp.

Irritable Bowel System problems and Bowel Diseases

What about all the nagging, intermittent, sometimes burning pains a lot of people experience?  What exactly are these caused by, and why do they continue to bother us week after week after week.

The digestive system learns bad habits

This brings us to a very important point about the digestive system.  The digestive system learns bad habits very quickly.  Good habits take a healthy lifestyle and good diets.  Bad habits are learned and saved by the digestive system.

Confusing combinations of symptoms

Intestinal Bowel Syndrome is a confusing combination of symptoms that cannot be diagnosed as originating from a specific ailment.  This does not by any means indicate it is not a real ailment, or causes real suffering and inconvenience.

Intestinal Bowel Disease can be traced to a specific ailment that can be diagnosed by medical testing procedures.

Similar symptoms

Symptoms can be similar ion both IBD and IBS, and a person can have both at the same time.  Some of the problems are genetic, meaning you can inherit a tendency to get these problems from you parents.

When people go to doctors they are given prescriptions and recommendations for over the counter medications that will help reduce the symptoms.  Many are extremely effective providing almost immediate relief.  This is good, right?

If our bodies are so good, why do we do interfere?

This article started out talking about how amazing our bodies are at processing food, without any thought or action by us.   The stomach the food we swallow is exposed to very acidic conditions in the stomach.  The walls of the stomach produce the hydrochloric acid for this process.  In the small intestine, the food is exposed to very basic conditions.
Bicarbonate is produced in the Liver, stored in the Gall Bladder, and ends up in the 1st part of the small intestine where the acidic material from the stomach is turned very basic.  The Gall Bladder is connected to the small intestine.

The stomach and small intestine have very strong acids and bases

Ever make a volcano for a science project out of vinegar and baking soda? It foams up and is a very cool demonstration of how acids and bases combine.

The stomach lining produces acids. The liver produces bile which is very basic, and is stored in the gall bladder and injected into the acidic stomach juices raise the ph.

The volcanoes is not the reaction that takes place in your small intestine though.  The body is an amazing thing isn’t it?   Do you think that perhaps when we try to do what the body does naturally that it can cause confusion?  It can and does.

Two things to consider before answering the question if our meddling leads to curing and healing, or long term slipping deeper into an illness.

Signals from the brain control digestion. The brain is far away from the stomach and it can take a while for the information to get to the brain and the brain to respond to correct the problem.

Many systems in the body occur almost instantaneously. Blinking is an example, so are changes in breathing to meet oxygen requirements. Digestion is a slow process where the brain and digestive system can be days apart and out of sync.

When you treat symptoms your brain can be fooled into thinking there is not a problem. If we constantly control the acidity in our stomachs by taking medicines, the body very quickly relies on the added inputs, and does not do its job. The "curing" is temporary.

In my case, I used many diets, different over the counter medications, and some lifestyle changes that weren’t too radical or difficult. I am both for taking medicines and for letting the body does it’s job. These are not mutually exclusive at all. In fact it is a wise integrated approach that works.

The next article will discuss the brain and digestion and some medications commonly taken and prescribed.


Karl Essen

Digestion Biologist

Medications for Bowel Diseases


Medications for Bowel Diseases