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What are Sphincters?
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What are Sphincters?

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What are sphincters in the gastrointestinal tract?

The Ileocecal valve
The Cardiac sphincter
External and internal anal sphincters
Puborectalis valve and other sphincters.

These are usually one way valves, locks or gates that separate one segment of the gastrointestinal tract from another to facilitate proper function of each section and control the passage of processed food matter in one direction throughout the GI tract.

The valves are made up of muscular tissue that can be under voluntary control or under central brain control via nerves from the spinal cord.

There are two types of sphincters. The Circular muscle type of sphincter dominates the tract. These can be described as a draw string purse type of closure. Pulling at the string of a draw string purse would allow you to close the purse. In a similar fashion, contraction of the circular muscle in the sphincter allows closure of the valve. Relaxation of the same muscle leads to opening of the valve. An example of such a sphincter is the Ileocecal valve which allows the one way passage of food matter from the ileum into the Cecum.

The sphincters are supposed to function as one way, non return valves but malfunction of the valves can occur and cause backflow of material. This is observed in oesophageal reflux disease where acid from stomach contents tends to splash up towards the oesophagus.

Damage to the Ileocecal valve due to pressures created by straining during defecation can also cause backflow of material from the Cecum into the ileum. This can cause material containing large amounts of bacteria to enter the small intestine and infection. The process of digestion and absorption of food may be disrupted when these bacteria commence fermentation of the food present in the small intestine.

The second type of valve is a sling type muscle which usually surrounds the outside of the muscular tube that makes up the gastrointestinal tract. Pulling at this sling type muscle by contraction allows the tube to be “kinked” close as you would achieve if you pulled at a rubber water hose in a similar way. Relaxation of the sling muscle would allow the “kink” to be removed and the passage within the muscular tube would be restored, allowing the contents to proceed without hindrance. An example of this type of Sphincter is the Puborectalis muscle.
This muscle is involved in the process of maintaining faecal continence in the standing and sitting postures and plays a very important part in the voluntary part of the defecation process.


How to heal and prevent Bowel disorders

Diet is not about what you should NOT eat, it’s about what you should include in the diet that matters.
As long as your diet includes the correct balance of plant foods containing soluble fibre, insoluble fibre and resistant starch your colon will produce the perfectly formed stool. The important next step is to evacuate this stool without straining so that the body does not suffer from the pressures created each time the bowel is emptied.

In order to heal and prevent bowel disorders you need to make lifestyle changes that last the rest of your life time.

1. Include more fluids and plant food containing soluble fibre, insoluble fibre and resistant starch in the diet so that the perfectly formed stool will be made in the colon and beneficial bacteria will flourish and eliminate disease causing bacteria and fungi.

2. Evacuate the perfectly formed stool by adopting the squat posture to eliminate the need to strain during bowel movements.

It is not possible or safe to squat on the modern raised toilet seat installed in all western homes and it is impossible to squat for any length of time if you have not done this from childhood onwards. This makes the use of any raised platforms impossible to adapt to.

The SquattLooStool is designed to allow you to adopt the squat posture while seated comfortably on your raised toilet seat.
The single best and easiest lifestyle change you will ever make, leading to a healthier body.