As a long time patient with Crohns Disease, I had an abundance of “other issues” that I had to deal with in my daily life. My Crohn’s was rare in that my colon was healthy. My disease affected my stomach and upper small intestine. I have opinions for another day as to why this was the case, but it left my stomach in a world of mess.
My first surgery was emergent when I was twenty-four years-old and one that had to happen because the exit to my stomach had swollen shut. I couldn’t even hold water down without vomiting. Within a day after my endoscopy that revealed the severity of the inflammation, I was speaking to a surgeon for what I thought would be an exploratory surgery. As it turned out, it was a far more difficult surgery where I was given an additional hole at the bottom of my stomach to provide relief to the original one that was swollen shut. In that process, they created a “Y” with my intestines and connected my intestines to the new hole, so I then had two exits in my stomach. At the time this provided great relief for the removal of food from my stomach, but it did not take into consideration the negative long-term side effects of such a surgery. My “new” exit no longer had a “flap” or a barn door as I would say. We have sphincters that reduce acid reflux from our stomach to our throat and again from our intestine to our stomach. This new, man-made hole did not have a sphincter. As time marched on, the reflux of food and acids that regurgitated into my stomach from my intestine truly destroyed my stomach, causing ulcerations on top of ulcerations, in turn causing a large amount of pain and inflammation.
Each time I would go in for an endoscopy the look of disgust and sympathy would come over the face of my doctors as they reported their findings while I was asleep. While no test ever revealed that it was bleeding, it was assumed that many of the ulcers were definitely a few layers deep causing more of a clear liquid perforation instead of detectable blood. Of course, this caused the need for years of blood transfusions and iron infusions down the road.
On a daily basis, the severity of the ulcers and the inability for my stomach to break down food properly due to the inflammation and ulcers caused mind-blowing pain. Even greater was the pain when an air bubble would act like a balloon and expand that opening to the point that nothing felt better than an enormous burp. No, it was not lady-like, but with that kind of pain, sometimes manners went out the window. With that burp came the smell associated with bleeding wounds (image the taste/smell after wisdom teeth removal) and rotten food that churned and churned that was unable to exit my stomach. When I say I could clear a room, I could clear a very large room if I wanted to. It was horrible, full of pain, and as brutal for anyone to be near as it was wonderful for me to find relief from the pressure rolling over my brutalized stomach.
When I couldn’t take it anymore, I, once again, delved into research and discovered Digestive Enzymes. Digestive Enzymes ultimately start breaking down your food as soon as it hits your stomach, making it easier to digest down the line. In truth, because of the synthetic and highly processed food we are all eating, Digestive Enzymes would be great for everyone to take on a daily basis. However, it is important to look at the quality, as with any supplement, of your product. The beauty of Digestive Enzymes was that by breaking down my food more readily, my food was able to exit my stomach more quickly with less “rotting” (Lovely, I know). That rotting, as I so lovingly refer to it, also caused its own form of gas as it attempted to digest the food. While I am certain, as with any illness of the gastrointestinal tract, I let a few belches slip, but nothing compared to my pre-Digestive Enzyme killers. They were simply life changing for everyone that knew and loved me, as well as for myself. Garden of Life is an excellent brand and as I compared product labels for over a dozen different brands, this brand and product checked all the boxes/circles on the left for the good and the right for what to avoid. If you click the picture, you can find more information on what to look for in a quality digestive enzyme.
Once I started taking a Digestive Enzyme daily, it was remarkable how the pain began to subside because the gas in my stomach was reduced. I even encouraged my husband and friends to take them when their stomach was giving them trouble. As I mentioned above, our food sources are so poor these days that any additional help our body can get using enzymes to break down food is a win for anyone, no matter if you are healthy or not. I highly recommend adding a digestive enzyme to your daily routine!