It isn’t uncommon for people who have pain or sickness to avoid seeking treatment from their healthcare practitioner. Waiting for an issue to go away on its own, though, can have serious consequences for your health.
Due to poor lifestyle choices, toxins, chemical-laden food, and too many other reasons to count, health issues can sneak up on you. Even when experiencing troublesome symptoms, men are less likely to visit a healthcare practitioner than women are. If you ignore your symptoms, you could be putting your health and life in danger.
There are symptoms you should never ignore, as they can lead to serious conditions. If you experience any of these, please call your healthcare professional, as some can be life-threatening. (1)
Everyone’s bowel habits are different, but healthy bowels should eliminate 2-3 times per day. However, many things can affect the bowels, causing them to function or eliminate poorly, leading to distress and disease.
Several factors can affect the frequency and consistency of your poop, such as activity level, age, chronic and acute illness, and diet. (2)
Here are common causes of bowel changes and their symptoms.
Colitis is a bowel disease that causes inflammation in your digestive tract. Colitis can be painful and debilitating, even leading to life-threatening complications.
There is no cure for colitis, but early detection and treatment can control symptoms and bring about remission. Symptoms of colitis can vary depending on the severity of the condition, but commonly include: (3)
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Diarrhea, often with blood or pus
- Inability to defecate
- Rectal bleeding
- Rectal pain
- Sudden weight loss
- Urgency to defecate
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a common disorder of the large intestine, affecting between 25 million and 45 million people in the United States, one out of every three being male. IBS can be a painful and sometimes embarrassing condition, which may be why some men hesitate to contact their healthcare provider. The symptoms of IBS include: (4)
- Pain and cramping
IBS is a condition you may have to treat long-term with medication and healthy, whole foods that don’t irritate or exacerbate the condition. IBS is a disease that interferes with your daily life. Treatment is available, so don’t suffer, and seek help if you think you could have IBS. (5)
If you experience abdominal pain, bloating, bowel changes, constipation, or diarrhea, your healthcare practitioner may diagnose your condition as IBS or colitis, commonly overlooking a possible culprit: parasites.
You may be thinking, “I live in the United States; I can’t have parasites.” But the truth is, if you have a pulse, you have parasites.
There are so many ways you can acquire parasites, from infected surfaces, contaminated water, food, and pets. If left undiagnosed and untreated, parasites can cause the same symptoms as other bowel issues, and many other health problems.
Symptoms of parasitic infection can be similar to those of IBS or colitis, and include the following. (6)
- Unintentional weight loss
- Unrelenting diarrhea
If you have ever experienced pain in your jaw, you may have thought of your teeth as the culprit. But did you know that jaw pain is a common symptom of heart disease or heart attack? Nerves from the heart are close to the nerves in the jaw, which is the cause of the pain. (7)
Along with jaw pain, other symptoms of heart attack you should never ignore are: (8)
- Abdominal pain
- Chest tightness
- Cold sweats
- Pain down the left arm
- Shortness of breath
Your liver is one of the most important organs in your body and has many jobs. It helps you absorb nutrients, digest food, and rid your body of toxic substances. Unfortunately, alcohol and tobacco use increase your chances of developing liver disease.
Early treatment is vital in fighting liver disease. If your liver is distressed, it’s not always obvious, so it’s important to pay attention to the possible warning signs. (9)
Parasites can cause inflammation and poor function in your liver. The most common parasite that affects the liver is the liver fluke. Infection occurs if you consume infested freshwater fish. Adult liver flukes settle in the liver bile ducts and can live there for 20-30 years, causing chronic inflammation that can lead to other problems. (10)
None of us wants to live with parasites in our system, so contact your healthcare provider if you have any of the following symptoms.
- Abdominal pain
- Poor sleep
Your liver is responsible for eliminating toxins, but because there are so many toxins in drugs, the environment, food, and household products, your liver can’t always keep up. When toxins bombard your liver, it can cause inflammation and damage. (11)
If you experience any of the following symptoms of impaired liver function, call your healthcare provider immediately. (12)
- Abdominal swelling
Other Causes of Liver Discomfort and Risk Factors (13)
- Alcohol abuse
- Blood transfusion before 1992
- Family history of liver disease
- Fat accumulation in the liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease)
- Injecting drugs using shared needles
- Prescription or over-the-counter medications
- Type 2 diabetes
As you age, you may experience issues with urination. The most common sources of this problem are erectile dysfunction and enlarged prostate. They can be treated successfully, so please don’t hesitate to call your healthcare practitioner if you feel you could have either of these problems. If you are unable to urinate fully, it can be a sign of a serious health issue.
Other reasons for problems urinating are: (14)
- Bladder stones
- Central nervous system infections
- Certain medications
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Physical trauma
Good sleep is necessary for good physical and mental health and good quality of life. If you frequently have trouble falling and staying asleep, you are not alone. 65% of people report difficulty sleeping, and reduced sleep duration is linked to 7 of the 15 leading causes of death in the United States.
Just about everyone experiences poor sleep on occasion due to stress, too much caffeine, or from a mind that simply won’t turn off. Chronic poor sleeping habits, however, can lead to many health problems. Let’s take a look at some issues that can interrupt restful sleep and cause health issues. (15)
You can experience depression for various reasons, and problems sleeping can be a double-edged sword. Depression can cause insomnia, and insomnia can cause depression. Among people with depression, 75% have trouble falling or staying asleep.
It’s time to take your depression and sleeping issues seriously, especially if you: (16)
- Always feel tired during the day;
- Experience sadness that won’t go away;
- Have physical pain that prevents you from having a good night sleep;
- Have thoughts of suicide.
You may be wondering how mold can cause poor sleep. It can cause not only sleep issues, but a variety of health issues to boot. Your home could be harboring mold if any areas hold moisture. Because you can’t always see where moisture may be hiding in your home, you might not know mold is growing and affecting your health.
Health issues from mold can cause: (17)
- Blurred vision
- Body aches
- Chronic cough
- Itchy, red eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Poor sleep
- Skin redness or rash
In addition, untreated mold can lead to asthma, fever, lung infection, and shortness of breath. If you have any of those symptoms and suspect your home may have mold, have someone inspect your home, and don’t hesitate to call your healthcare provider. (18)
Studies have shown that humans and other mammals that sleep for longer periods have reduced levels of parasitic infection. During sleep, the body isn’t as active, so it has more energy in reserve to support the immune system. The longer a person sleeps, the stronger the immune system stays, being more able to defend against parasites. (19)
If your immune system can't fight parasites, they thrive, especially those that are nocturnal. If the parasites are awake, chances are that you will be, too. This can lead to a repeating cycle of weakening your immune system and allowing the parasites to keep you awake. (20, 21)
Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night. This is a serious issue you should never ignore. Many things can cause sleep apnea, such as being overweight, drinking alcohol, having a narrow airway, or smoking.
If you experience any of these symptoms of sleep apnea, please call your healthcare practitioner for an evaluation: (22)
- Difficulty paying attention while awake
- Dry mouth upon waking
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Loud snoring
- Morning headache
Trouble swallowing, or dysphagia, can occur in anyone, but is more common in older men or men with gastroesophageal reflux disease and Barrett’s esophagus.
Chronic refluxing of stomach acids can irritate the throat, making it difficult to swallow. In some cases, trouble swallowing can result from a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which causes damage to the lining of the esophagus. (23, 24)
Let’s take a look at each of these conditions and the common symptoms of each.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
GERD is a gastrointestinal disorder that results from the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus or oral cavity, resulting in symptoms or complications. GERD is one of the most common and treatable disorders healthcare providers and specialists see, especially if detected early. (25)
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you could have GERD and should call your healthcare provider right away. (26)
- Acid regurgitation
- Chronic cough
- Frequent heartburn
- Sore throat
Untreated GERD can sometimes lead to a precancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus. It remains unclear why some people with GERD develop Barrett’s esophagus while others do not.
Barrett's esophagus is a condition in which the esophagus lining becomes damaged by acid reflux, which causes the lining to thicken and become red. In some people, GERD may trigger a change in the cells lining the lower esophagus, causing this disease. (27)
If you have any of the following symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus, contact your healthcare practitioner immediately. (28)
- Difficulty swallowing food
- Frequent heartburn
- Frequent sore throat
- Regurgitation of stomach contents
How Can Drainage Help?
Proper lymphatic drainage is vital to keep your body balanced and healthy. Your lymphatic system works endlessly to fight invaders and usher pathogens from the body.
If your lymphatic system and drainage pathways aren’t open and working properly, your body can’t fight and remove illness. Think of your body as a trash can. You can put in all the garbage you want, but if the garbage collectors never come, imagine how backed up the trash would become and the problems that would cause.
Your body works similarly. If your drainage system isn’t functioning as it should, pathogens have nowhere to go and will remain in your body, causing illness. (29, 30, 31)
Here are some ways to support your drainage:
Consume plenty of fiber: Fiber bulks up your stools, making elimination easier. Good sources of fiber in a healthy diet are fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and other plant-based foods. (32)
Get regular physical activity: To help combat constipation, move your body regularly. Even gentle forms of exercise, such as walking and qigong, may help. (33)
Stay hydrated: A shortfall in your fluid intake could contribute to constipation. Be sure to drink plenty of water and other healthy beverages. (34)
- Take bowel-moving herbs: Ginger root, aloe vera leaf, and other intestinal-moving herbs help stimulate the movement of your gut contents, helping to combat constipation. (35, 36)
Use carbon-based binders: These are made from natural extracts of fulvic and humic acid; carbon-based binders adhere to toxins so you can eliminate them. These unique carbons also may promote a healthy microbiome. That could encourage regular elimination as well. (37, 38, 39)
How Can Detox Help?
Your body encounters toxins everywhere you go, and your liver and organs work to remove them. Once your drainage pathways are open, your body is ready to take on detoxification.
The first thing is to make sure you are moving your bowels 2-3 times a day. If your body isn’t eliminating properly, the toxins and pathogens have nowhere to go.
Once your drainage pathways are open and you’re voiding your bowels regularly, you can focus on removing toxins, heavy metals, mold, and parasites that are contributing to your health issues. (40)
To Help You Detox
Use carbon-based binders. Carbon-based binders are made from natural extracts of fulvic and humic acids that bind to toxins and may promote a healthy microbiome.
When detoxing, binders are essential to clear toxins from your body. Once heavy metals and other unwanted compounds are bound to these carbons, they’re “stuck.” The harmful heavy metals and other toxins will not detach from the carbon and relocate in your body.
This is due to the unique chemical structure of the carbon molecules in humic and fulvic acids. They hold on tight to toxins like a super strong magnet. The bound toxins exit your body via your stools, which can encourage regular elimination as well. (41, 42, 43)
You may be asking, “what does this have to do with my health issues?
The answer is everything. No matter the health issues you’re currently facing, getting to the root cause will lead to true healing. By focusing on opening drainage pathways while supporting your liver, kidneys, bowels, and lymphatic system, you can heal your issues from their source. (44)
You must take an active role in your health. By making your health a priority, you can make better choices concerning your well-being. Supplementation; healthy, whole foods; mild exercise; fresh filtered water; and drainage and detox can help you prevent or heal illness and live a long and healthy life.