It's been a remarkable week recovery-wise for me, so I decided I should post a little update on what's been going on. A couple weeks ago my first-hand account of my experience with prescription diuretic use for competition purposes was published at muscleandstrength.com. It's never easy to admit our faults and failures, so this was a tough article for me to write, but my hope is that it will help someone like me or at least make someone think a little harder before going down this road.
It's been a long road...14 weeks tomorrow, but who's counting?! I've been off of Cleanse & Lean (an herbal diuretic/laxative) now for 4 weeks today. I was on it for a total of nearly 12 consecutive weeks. I want to be clear that I'm not against Cleanse & Lean at all. In fact, I think it's a great product when used properly - short term. I had used this last fall for 3 weeks before a competition and it worked great and I was able to stop with no problems the week of the contest. As with many supplements, this product lists its "proprietary blend" of several different herbs, but it doesn't tell you exactly how much of each herb the product contains. It does contain several herbs that are hard on the body and very irritating to the digestive tract and bowel.
When my doctor told me to stop the Cleanse & Lean she said the only thing I was permitted to take was psyllium. Well, unfortunately for me, the psylliium didn't even make any difference. My body was definitely addicted to the Cleanse & Lean and my body couldn't process on its own anymore. Not fun. I was ridiculously stopped up and very uncomfortable. My intestines were obviously swollen and my abdomen painfully distended. *Note: in case you're thinking of asking a woman if she's pregnant, this is handy info...the uterus (where the baby grows) is located beneath the navel. The intestines are right over the navel. Might save you a death glare to know that. I finally went back to the doctor early last week to find out what was wrong with me. Nothing was wrong, my body just needed time to figure out how to make the system work again. I sort of felt like a junkie, I was dying to take just one Cleanse & Lean. I just wanted to go!!!!
Pretty much all of my friends were in on what was going on and texts were flying all over..."Pray for poop!" It was a very exciting day when things finally started moving along. I had friends offering me "potty treats" for my efforts and achievements. It was actually pretty hysterical. Big ups to the "prayer team"! :) The doctor permitted me to take Miralax twice a day for as long as I need it. It's the only safe thing for me to take and is not addictive. I'm afraid to stop taking it. In addition to the Miralax taking effect, I also had my first regular cycle...not just regular, TEXTBOOK!!!! Talk about happy days!!! By the end of last week I was feeling so much better.
I saw my friend Michael on Thursday night and then again on Monday and he was astonished how much weight I'd lost over the weekend. It was kind of crazy. I didn't eat any different or change up my training at all. Just my body finally getting back to normal. Or as Rich would say...my pituitary gland seems to be working again. Uh, okay. It is great to finally be feeling like myself again...what a long freakin' road!!! I can't believe how much I've learned over the last 3 months...it's been an amazing time of growth for me in so many ways. I'll be writing a follow up article when I'm finally able to put this all behind me and I feel like everything is working as it should.
So, you might be thinking now as you've read this..."Who the hell blogs about poop?" A woman who's given birth to 4 children and breastfed them all. It's just poop, people. Everybody does it. But on a serious note...It is really important to me to spread the word on how addictive some of these herbal products can be and how much they can really screw up your body. I thought I was doing myself a favor, but I was only making matters worse for myself, prolonging my recovery. The diuretic in the Cleanse & Lean was keeping my body in a dehydrated state which further damaged my kidneys. 14 weeks later, my kidney function is still not back to normal, but it is almost there!!