Published On: Thu, Aug 25th, 2016

The water of life

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In July 2013, one of my favourite customers came to my community pharmacy, JMK Pharmaceutical Limited   at Magodo, Lagos (where I do evening locum) to purchase Ducolax (bisacodyl), a laxative drug that softens stool and enables people to have bowel movement after days of discomfort. I noticed that she had bought the drug a few more times before; so I asked, “Madam, I notice you often buy this drug, why can’t you use a non-pharmacological strategy to solve your constipation issue?” She replied, “For some years now, I’ve been using bisacodyl to pass stool; honestly, I’m tired of using it every time I need to use the restroom.”

I asked her further, “Do you take enough water?” To which she replied, “I don’t like taking water; in fact, I hardly take it.” So I said, “I can see why you always have constipation. Here is my suggestion: postpone the use of any drug for now; take between 3-4 bottles of water within the next 12 hours. You can add some lime or orange juice or anything natural to have a better taste. Eat foods rich in fibre and fluid. Follow my instructions faithfully; then give me the feedback tomorrow.”

When I resumed at the pharmacy the following day, the person that welcomed me was my dear customer.  She was profoundly grateful for the advice and shared her testimony about the “magic” she had witnessed in the middle of the night just by taking enough water and fibre.

Perhaps, you’ve been struggling with constipation repeatedly for some time. I suggest that you, too, try my result-oriented strategy and find out its efficacy for yourself. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract, which helps to maintain normal bowel function and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain colon hydration, and the result is constipation.

Adequate fluid and fibre intake is the powerful combination against constipation, because the fluid pumps up the fibre and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly.

Your body loses fluid continuously through breathing, urine, skin evaporation, stool and sometimes through vomiting. It is therefore pertinent for your water intake to be more than your water output in order not to be dehydrated.

I believe that water is one of the most important nutrients that the human body needs to function optimally. Drinking enough water helps maintain the balance of body fluids. Water functions in the body include, digestion of food, transportation of nutrients, circulation of blood, creation of saliva and maintenance of body temperature. Thus, adequate intake of water helps to maintain proper functioning of the body.

Water helps energise muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. Therefore, drinking enough water helps cells to maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes thereby functioning optimally.

Do you aspire to have a radiant skin? Water helps keep the skin looking good while dehydration makes our skin look dry and wrinkled. The way forward is to drink enough water daily for proper hydration.

One of the essential functions of water is to help detoxify your kidneys. The kidney is a detoxifying agent. It cleanses your body of toxins, as long as your fluid intake is adequate. When you are drinking enough water and eating water-rich foods, urine flows freely, is light in colour and free of odour. When you are not drinking enough water and eating water-rich foods, urine concentration, odour and colour increase because the kidney traps extra fluid for bodily functions. In fact, the unhealthy habit of chronically drinking too little water, may lead to kidney stones, especially in temperate climates of the world.The main toxin in the body is Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUA), a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidney to be excreted in the urine.

I personally recommend eight glasses of water a day, although I consume more than that. Indeed, I drink water like a fish and it aids my brain and mind to function optimally as a thinker. I’ve never experienced constipation in the past seven years.

Listen to your body. When your body feels dehydrated or you are thirsty, simply go and take water. Drinking enough water should become your habit. Be intentional, be conscious and remain hydrated.

ACTION PLAN: Make it a habit to start your day with one full glass of water. Drink three to four bottles of water in a day. Eat fruits rich in liquid (watermelon, orange, grape etc)

AFFIRMATION: It is in my best interest to always be hydrated. I commit to a healthy lifestyle.

Pharm. Sesan Kareem

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The water of life