On many occasions, the medical approach is to perform surgery, which, in turn, can create other complications depending on the individual, the severity of the prolapse and the type of surgery.
The topic is extensive so I offer an outline here on some of the causes of various prolapses and how natural therapies can help.
Transverse colon prolapse
The transverse colon travels across the body from the hepatic flexure (near the liver) to the splenic flexure (near the spleen). When it is weakened and prolapses, it dips down towards the reproductive organs and bladder.
When a structural problem occurs within the body, it is not always possible to correct it. Even with surgery it really depends on how chronic or severe the condition is and the type of prolapse. Prolapses can be minor or severe.
Why would a transverse prolapse occur?
It is quite common with the worst looking like a full "V" shape where the middle of the colon drops down deep into the pelvis and can put pressure on other organs. A medical term "enteroptosis" is used to illustrate a multi prolapse consisting of the transverse, bladder and (in women) uterus, and in men the prostrate and gonads. A prolapsed transverse tends to be more common in women. Such a prolapse can contribute to constipation and certainly affect circulation to nearby organs in the pelvic cavity. When a woman experiences many pregnancies, this could also be a contributing factor to one if not more types of prolapse.
If you have weak abdominal muscles or you have spent time lifting items that are excessively heavy, this can also contribute to many types of prolapses, along with hernias.
Anyone who has suffered chronic constipation for years may well experience a transverse prolapse and possibly rectum as well. The colon becomes impacted with waste that simply accumulates over weeks, months and years and, even if laxatives are taken, this old waste does not always free up. Each case presents with varying degrees of toxicity.
Being diligent with methods used to free up toxic waste is so important, in particular to clean the colon wall. When the colon is full of old waste it then bulges out and pockets can form where the waste has lodged. When these pockets become inflamed this can result in diverticulitis. Some people may opt for a colonic irrigation treatment, but it's not suitable for everyone. If the bowel is tight, tense, spastic or pinched I don't recommend a colonic. This could make the structure of the colon worse by irritating and weakening it. Enemas are gentler but they do not penetrate as deeply.
A bulging tummy can manifest and no matter how much exercise you do or diets you put yourself on this bulge will not budge!
What else can you do?
Work on clearing up any long standing constipation
Ensure you maintain a healthy fresh food diet with no sugar, refined carbohydrates or too many starchy foods. Seek professional nutrition guidance.
Make sure you do not strain when at the toilet - use a small toilet stool to place your feet on, yoga blocks or three large phone books! This helps prevent weakening the pelvic floor and also improves the ability to eliminate. Many cultures still practise squatting when eliminating the bowels as it puts far less stress on the colon and pelvic floor.
Make sure you practise daily exercise - walking is good for everyone but variety is important to work different muscles. Do make sure you enjoy it!
Practise Pilates or yoga to strengthen your core muscles and pelvic floor
Massage is very good at helping move waste along the colon, especially if you have slow peristalsis and transit time. Ask a professional to show you how to apply self massage in between treatments with your therapist. Castor oil can be used for massage. Please do not drink it - it is far too cathartic.
If you have just discovered that you have a prolapse of the colon you can seek help with acupuncture or Bowen therapy. With acupuncture and Bowen therapy we can work at improving and managing the prolapse so that it does not worsen. Often a combination of the two therapies is extremely helpful, backed up with specific minerals to strengthen and tone tissues, muscles and ligaments. Taking calcium would not be the correct approach; you need to be assessed to ascertain underlying deficiencies or weakness and enable the practitioner to prescribe mineral combinations that can help you.
Next month we will look at causes and natural treatments for bladder and uterine prolapse.
Sydney-based Lyn Craven is a practitioner of naturopathy, nutrition, medical herbalism, Bowen therapy, Reiki energy healing and meditation, and is a corporate health presenter/consultant with 19 years' experience in natural therapies. www.lyncravencorporatehealth-naturopath.com
Disclaimer: Information presented in this column is not intended as medical advice but to advance the understanding of holistic nutrition and lifestyle and its place in a balanced approach to health. Readers are encouraged to be guided by their own healthcare professionals.
Lyn Craven is a practitioner of Naturopathy, Bowen Therapy, Energy/Reiki therapist, meditation teacher and Corporate Health Consultant. She is also a health researcher/writer and has produced a meditation CD assisting people to manage anxiety and stress. She runs a private practice in Sydney and can be contacted on +61403 231 804