Archive for January, 2010

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Stool Coloration: How Do We Know What’s Normal?

January 6, 2010

I got an e-mail from a viewer of J-pouch.net and she was contacting me on behalf of her boyfriend, who is post-surgery. She was concerned because she said his stools were a reddish color, and he wasn’t thinking this was anything abnormal, but she wanted my opinion on whether this was something to look into.

In my response, I asked her what type of surgery he had, how long ago, and to clarify the reddish color. These can all be important in determining where the color might be coming from, and whether or not it’s normal.

From what I’ve previously looked into, it seems that darker reddish or black stools can indicate a problem in the upper part of the digestive tract, while brighter reddish stools can indicate a problem in the lower part. It could be as simple as something like an anal fissure or hemorrhoids, but it could also be more serious signs of something like colon cancer, or a digestive disease.

Seeing as we all have lived with a digestive disease, how can we differentiate what’s normal to be in a stool? First off, I need to say that you should ALWAYS ask your doctor first and take his/her advice. There is too much information on the internet and some of it might be false, or lead you into thinking the wrong thing, therefore causing some much unwanted stress. I can’t even assure that this information is correct, this is just what I’ve seen many times before from different resources.

I know I’ve seen a vast amount of colors in my own bowel movements, and I can usually always attribute it to something I’ve eaten. Since we are missing our large intestines, our food obviously isn’t totally digested by the time we excrete it. This would mean that any food with certain colors can also come out those similar colors. I know red gatorade, beets, Kool-Aid, or tomato juice can all cause a red color. When I take a multi-vitamin with iron, I notice my stool is is a lot darker than normal, and I know it’s because of the iron.

People like me, who have an ileo-rectal anastomosis, still have their rectum intact. There are chances that one could still get minor colitis in the rectum, and this could be a source of a reddish stool if that’s the case. For those living with the J-pouch, a reddish stool might be a sign of pouchitis, an infection that can be cured by a treatment of antibiotics. For anyone else, you might want to consult your doctor so you can get an answer as to what might cause the coloration.

As for us gay men, if you partake in receptive anal sex, it could be damage from sexual contact. For those living with the J-pouch, anal sex is not recommended at all, and I can imagine it would definitely lead to some bleeding. This is a very tender area and something you would definitely want to take care of.

Does anyone else see similar colors? And if so, what have you heard about the causes of this?

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2010: New Year, New Beginnings

January 4, 2010

Happy New Year everyone! The one thing I always like about a new year, is the feeling that you can change your whole outlook on life in one day. Between the transition of 11:59pm and 12:00am, you can decide that you will be a whole new person, with all new goals. I have decided that 2010 will be more about me, than about me trying to fulfill what I think is “me”. I can definately say I spent that last decade trying to achieve an image of myself, which only caused me stress and worry.

In the past decade, I had a total of 7 surgeries, including the colectomy, facial reconstruction for an underbite, tonsils, removal of dysplasia cells, and removal of my wisdom teeth. I also dealt with coming out to family and friends, achieving a college degree, attempting a long-term relationship, and finally getting a full-time job. Not to mention the whole ulcerative colitis and major surgeries combination, just to end out the decade.

Of course, I don’t find this to be any more intense than anyone else’s life, I’m just ready to close out the chapter of the 2000’s and start a new one with the 2010’s. I rang in the New Year just the way I wanted my new life to begin: I went out alone, and I went home alone. I couldn’t really get any friends to commit to going out, and I didn’t want to hang at someone’s apartment, I wanted to go dancing and have a good time. I normally would NEVER go out alone, because I usually would just feel like some weirdo in a corner, but I had decided that it would be a self-exploration exercise.

I walked into the club with confidence and ordered a drink at the bar. There were couples everywhere, so I went upstairs to the dancefloor. I stayed up there most of the night, making eye contact with one guy that had been staring me down for a little while. This made me smile, and no matter how you feel about yourself, it’s always good to know you still got it! As the countdown began, I briefly worried that I wouldn’t have anyone to kiss at midnight, then realized that I didn’t NEED anyone to kiss at midnight. If I had myself, I had enough. When the clock struck midnight, there were cheers and screams and I apparently was standing under a confetti bucket, because about a pound of confetti fell on me, in my drink, and in my champagne toast. It sucked, but was kind of funny, haha. This opened up the window for that guy to approach me, because he came over laughing and helped me brush off the confetti, to which we discussed the joys of being out on New Year’s Eve.

We chatted for a little bit, and danced for a little bit, but he wasn’t totally my type. Normally, I would ignore it and still want to hang out with him, and I would secretly never be happy about it and it would eventually cause us to have an argument about two months down the line when we can’t figure out why things aren’t working out. So I had taken lessons from the past and decided to not make the same mistakes again. I hung around the bar again for a little bit and some guy came up to me and said that I was “the most gorgeous person of the new decade”. Haha, this really got me going and I thanked him and decided that now was a good time to leave the bar, because I was feeling great about myself and great about the new year.

I went home that night and layed in bed, thinking about my New Year’s resolutions:

  • I want to not think about diseases or surgeries for a whole year
  • I want to find friends that I can call last minute and they will genuinely want to hang out with me, and will be free to do so
  • I want to volunteer some time to help others out
  • I want that toned, fit body I’ve been trying to achieve since high school
  • I want to laugh more often
  • I want to focus on myself as an independent person and try to realize that I don’t need a relationship to make myself complete

What are your resolutions for the New Year?

P.S.- I was also thinking: If anyone has an ostomy, I think going to New York City for New Year’s Eve would be a good idea. If you think about it, those people that crowd around Times Square can’t lose their spot to go to the bathroom. And you hear about people who say they wear adult diapers and just go right there. So if you have an ostomy, you wouldn’t need to go to the bathroom, and therefore wouldn’t have to worry about losing your spot in Time Square. Take advantage of the benefits of having an ostomy! =)