Tales from Our Clients: Natural Stool Bulkers
Yes, it is true—much of what we learn is actually from our patients. If we listen carefully and we start to hear the same things over and over again, then we know there may be some truth to what we’ve heard. Patients do not lie.
So, what have we heard from our patients? Here are some of the things that you all have said “bulk things up.” They may or may not have scientific validity, but we have heard them a lot.
- Soft pretzels—those big, soft pretzels that you often find at baseball games and summer fairs. Many of you have reported that they work better than your antidiarrheal medications! There may be some truth to this. These pretzels are high in complex carbohydrates, which tend to “bulk things up.” It is worth a try, and they are rather tasty.
- Rice—yes, plain white rice is a good standby. This is a little tactic that many of you have used over the years and swear by. Again, this makes some sense, since it is a complex carbohydrate and may slow down motility and absorb water.
- Marshmallows—well, we have heard this a lot. Does it work? Perhaps! Is there any scientific reason for this? We cannot think of any reason why this should work, but if it does work for you, stay with it! Just make certain you don’t include a lot of gooey chocolate with those marshmallows.
- Green beans—plain boiled or steamed green beans have been reported to slow things down. There is some soluble fiber in green beans, so it may work for many of you. But if it makes your diarrhea worse, stop the green beans!
- Bananas—bananas are another mainstay for those with diarrhea. Some of our consumers eat bananas every day because they swear they slow them down. This makes some sense as bananas are high in soluble fiber, and soluble fibers do absorb water.
- Oatmeal—Now, this is one of those foods that can work both ways. It might bulk you up, or if you are constipated it might loosen things up. Again, this makes some sense because oatmeal is high in soluble fiber and tends to absorb water.
The one thing we do know is that each HPEN consumer is very special. Rarely do we have two clients who react exactly the same to any given food or treatment. So give these things a try—one of them may help! Please send us your ideas (c/o Lisa Metzger, Oley, 214 Hun Memorial, MC28, Albany, NY 12208, or firstname.lastname@example.org). We’d love to hear what works for you.
This column has been compiled and reviewed by Laura Matarese, PhD, RD, LDN, FADA, CNSC; Carol Ireton-Jones, PhD, RD, LD, CNSD, FACN; Cheryl Thompson, PhD, RD; and Marion Winkler, PhD, RD, LDN, CNSC.
LifelineLetter, March/April 2012