I’ve also had chronic constipation my whole life! I had a colon hydrotherapist tell 18-y-o me in exasperation (after a failed two-hour attempt to get anything out of me) that I had the dried up bowels of a 60-y-o man. Very unpleasant. And now I go every day! Sometimes twice or more per day!
There are some things I did in the beginning weeks of EFH that I didn’t want to mention because I feel like they were extreme, and ultimately I don’t know how much they helped, but now that I see the lengths you’ve been going to, I think I will throw them out there.
-At least once a week I would do an enema with about a tablespoon of raw ACV (bragg’s apple cider vinegar). Start really light, you don’t want to burn your intestines with the acidity! This is because I was trying to cure a candida problem, but I do think it helped. I always followed up with a probiotic retention enema just in case the ACV had damaged any microflora. Have you tried any probiotic enemas? I was skeptical that orally consumed probiotics would survive the trip to my lower intestines & colon, where I had most of the damage (confirmed by endoscopy & biopsy), and I think the probiotic retention enemas (using the HMF neuro powder) mightve done the trick.
-Do you add salt to your enemas?? I used to soak up all the enema water too, until I started making my enemas salty. I also drink lemon water in the morning, and I add salt to it which helps if I’m feeling constipated (sometimes, sometimes it doesn’t). If you’re soaking up salty enema water, that might indicate you don’t have enough sodium.
-Have you ever taken coconut oil by itself? If I eat a tablespoon of coconut oil in the morning before breakfast, it often inspires a bm.
-I didn’t mention the MAIN THING that helps keep me regular: TRIPHALA. It’s an ayurvedic herbal medicine made of three berries that helps ‘clear out waste.’ I take 1000mg (in pill form, though you can also get the powder and drink it down as a bitter tea), at night before bed and in the morning ONE HOUR BEFORE EATING. It’s hard to do that because I feel my metabolism gets compromised if I wait so long before eating, so I’ll usually set an extra early alarm to take the triphala and then get right back into bed and sleep some more. This is seriously a life saver, after years and years and years of struggling, I can finally poop every day (unless I screw up and don’t take my triphala).
-I totally agree that fiber is overrated. As are probiotics, unless you’re giving them specific foods which encourage them to actually colonize in your gut. That’s why I eat oat bran (bran specifically, not even oatmeal) every morning and drink chicory as my beverage of choice — those really, really help me. I get a noticeable difference.
-Abt the Swedish bitters: it’s my understanding that you’re not meant to swallow them, but rather just swish them around. Anyway, I think it can make a difference in those instances when you’re eating something out of the ordinary, but if you’re having trouble with digestion PERIOD, it probably won’t have a noticeable effect.
-As for the potassium/sodium balance…it seems to me that you need to take more of both together, rather than taking one and leaving out the other. Sounds like you’re suffering from general mineral imbalance. Do you take vitamins? If so, I’d ditch them and just try to include more nutrient rich foods in addition to all the warming foods that you eat. For instance, I’ve been craving/eating a LOT of seaweed salad (perhaps i’m craving for omegas, maybe magnesium, or B vitamins, or anything else) — but I make sure to eat it in addition to something warming, like a big bowl of white rice with soy sauce. The problem with eating nutrient rich foods its it can make you think you need less food overall, but particularly when your body is metabolically compromised, you need to be getting vitamins and minerals from nutrient dense sources in addition to eating those heating “filler” calories (carbs, saturated fats, salt)
-As a last resort for the constipation…have you tried those alkalized mineral waters that are high in magnesium? They’re sourced from naturally occuring mineral springs. I’m in Russia and here, as well as all over Europe, they sell them in pharmacies and some grocery stores. But I’m sure there’s some way to get them in the US (if that’s where you are). If I do something stupid like don’t eat enough food or expend too much energy one day, it’s very likely that I’ll be constipated the next day (or week). And, in addition to eating and resting to get my metabolism back up, sometimes I’ll buy some of this mineral water from the pharmacy, drink 100-200ml on an empty stomach. It gives you a bioavailable source of magnesium (which is very important for bm, overall mineral absorption, and relaxation in general) and naturally helps get things going. Give it a try, but don’t drink too much overall — cut out other liquids if you’re drinking this between meals.