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Bowel Movement

Producing a bowel movement is something all of us can do. Even a newborn infant is able to move his or her bowels, so it’s a function we tend to take for granted; but few of us understand the elimination process. Our bodies are perfectly designed to eliminate the digestive waste that would otherwise threaten our health.

Starting the Digestive Process

Every time we eat something, we start the digestive process. The food moving through the upper portions of the digestive system stimulates muscle contractions throughout the intestines and waste from the colon is pushed into the rectum. This process is called gastrocolic reflex. The waves of muscular contraction moving a bowel movement steadily towards the rectum are collectively called peristalsis, and this begins with the action of swallowing. By the time food is swallowed, peristalsis is already taking place in the esophagus.

The Stomach and Colon Combo

After food passes through the stomach, the strong muscular contractions of peristalsis move it through the small intestine. As food is pushed along this 20-foot tube, digestive juices help break it down and nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream through fingerlike projections called villi. Digestive waste remains after this process and that will become a bowel movement. Up to two pints of this waste are delivered to the colon daily.

When the waste material reaches the colon, it is quite watery. The colon’s job is to remove fluid from the waste and reabsorb that moisture back into the body. The longer waste remains in the colon, the harder and drier it will become. The rate at which the colon moves the waste toward the rectum is called motility. If the colon has a motility that is too fast, diarrhea will result. If the motility is too slow, constipation is the result. While in the colon, a small amount of lubricating mucus and friendly bacteria join the waste.

Respect the Rectum

After leaving the colon, waste enters the rectum usually about 7 to 8 hours after ingestion. The rectum measures about eight inches and it temporarily stores waste before elimination begins. As the rectum fills, its walls expand. Then, special stretch receptors stimulate an urge to have a bowel movement. To help hold the stool in place until you are ready, the rectum contains little shelves called transverse folds.

It’s important to move your bowels relatively soon once you feel the need. If the urge is ignored, waste can be returned to the colon where more water will be absorbed. Repeatedly ignoring this urge can result in stool hardening and eventually chronic constipation develops.

When waste has filled the lower rectum, the intrarectal pressure forces apart the walls of the anal canal and the bowel movement is able to enter. As peristaltic waves force waste into the anal canal, the rectum shortens. The anal canal is 2.5 to 4 centimeters in length. Its upper half is made up of vertical folds of tissue called anal columns. Anal valves comprise the lower half of the canal, and folds of tissue connect the bottoms of the anal columns.

Say Hello to the Sphincter

At the bottom of the anal canal are the internal and external sphincters. The internal anal sphincter or sphincter ani internus, is a muscular ring about 2.5 centimeters across. The sphincter action is involuntary and it automatically relaxes whenever waste enters the anal canal. At its border is the external anal sphincter or sphincter ani externus. This is a flat elliptical plane of muscle fibers, about 8 to 10 centimeters long. The external anal sphincter is a voluntary muscle. It keeps both the anal canal and anal opening closed until you are ready to have a bowel movement, and it can be voluntarily contracted to a greater degree.

Stool turns a 90-degree angle when it first enters the anal canal. The act of sitting or squatting straightens the path of the stool. When you are ready to go, the internal (involuntary) and external (voluntary) anal sphincters open. The bowel movement is allowed to exit through the anal opening by muscles pulling the anus around the feces. While moving the bowels, the diaphragm, chest muscles, abdominal muscles and pelvic diaphragm exert pressure to help the body expel waste. Ventilation actually ceases temporarily as the lungs push the diaphragm downward to create pressure. Blood pressure also rises momentarily. This is all normal and part of the healthy digestion process, but the need to exert too much pressure during a bowel movement usually indicates trouble somewhere.

Organic Colon Cleansing

To maintain optimum digestive health, it’s important to keep the bowels working and the colon clean by using an all-natural colon cleanser from time to time. Oxy-Powder® is a safe and effective way to help the colon gently cleanse and detoxify itself without the harsh and embarrassing side effects of chemical laxatives and herbal colon cleansers. Through a unique combination of oxygenated Magnesium and natural citric acid, Oxy-Powder® liquefies, lifts, and helps clear out old fecal matter, mucus, and toxic sludge from your intestines. With a clean, effectively functioning colon, you can be on your way to improved digestive health and vitality!

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