Blocked Bowel
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Christy
Posted on: January 27, 2005

My mother has a blocked bowel and we have literally tried everything that we can think of to get her bowels to move. She is able to go a very little bit every so often but she spent a week in the hospital in October and they said there was a section that was swollen and they couldn’t see past it. She then went in to have another colonoscopy and again it wasn’t clear enough for him to get very far. She is drinking smooth move tea, she has tried Senokot, and prunes and several other over the counter laxatives. Please is there anything I can go buy her to help get her moving?

It is important that your mother continues to explore the cause of her blocked bowel, the cause of the swelling, with her medical doctor.

Senokot is the herb senna, which should not be used in bowel inflammation. Your smooth move tea also contains senna. For swelling in the bowel, soothing, anti-inflammatory herbs are indicated. A combination of ginger and licorice may be helpful. Both are anti-inflammatory. Ginger is sometimes annoying in inflammation, so you may want to try only the licorice at first. Licorice is contraindicated in high blood pressure.

Slippery elm bark powder is very soothing to the bowel, and is very safe in any quantity. One tablespoon of the powder can be mixed in water to make a porridge consistency. This can be taken hourly.

Your mother may also need relaxants for the bowel. If the bowel is tense, as it is likely to be with swelling and constipation, it needs to relax in order to function properly. Chamomile is a good relaxant, and is inflammatory. This can be taken as a tea, or in an enema, or both.

Check with your mother’s doctor about whether an enema is safe for your mother at this time. An enema is probably the safest and most effective way to relieve chronic constipation. You can purchase an enema bag at a pharmacy. Fill the bag with 4 cups of boiled water, cooled to just above room temperature (or with strained chamomile tea). Inject twice weekly until bowel function returns to normal.

Regarding your mother’s diet: she should eliminate all dairy products from her diet until the problem is resolved.

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