"The ileocecal valve is a sphincter muscle situated at the junction of the small intestine (ileum) and the large intestine. Its critical function is to limit the reflux of colonic contents into the ileum.
The ileocecal valve is distinctive because it is the only site in the GI tract which is used for Vitamin B12 and bile acid absorption.
Functionally, roughly two litres of fluid enters the colon daily through the ileocecal valve."
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06/03/2011: Patti from Toledo, Ohio, Usa: "I've sucessfully utilized a number of the posting on earthclinic but I still have a problem that I'm not sure how to correct. Frequently my ileocecal valve sticks shut. This valve is located between the small and large intestine and it serves two purposes. First, it acts as a block that prevents the toxic contents of the large intestine from backing up into the small intestine. Second, it keeps the food products in the small intestine from passing into the large intestine before the digestive processes have been completed. When this valve sticks shut, feces stays in the small intestine unable to move any further. This backup causes constipation.
I know that spicy or roughage type foods can irritate the valve and cause it to get stuck as can emotional trauma and stress. But mine seems to get stuck almost every day at least once.
I've modified my diet, eliminating caffeinated foods, spicy foods, alcohol, and popcorn, all with minimal effect. I massage the site (right abdomen just in front of the large pelvic bone), and drink lots of water. I've tried taking chlorophyll, 2 tabs two hours apart for a total of 3 times. When nothing seemed to be happening, and I felt somewhat constipated, I also drank a herbal tea before bedtime that in the past has promoted gentle evacuation. Wow, this led the next day to tremendous diaharrea, inflamation, bleeding etc. Obviously too much "cure". Any suggestions you've found that worked?"Replies
06/12/2011: Kaitlin from Fairfield County, Ct replies: "Hi Patty,
I have these very same issues that you do, as does my sister in law! I think it may be more common than people realize, especially in perimenopausal women. The best advice I can give you is to avoid eating too much bread. If I eat bread (or another dense food) more than once a day, or even 2 days in a row, it causes my ileosecal valve to stick. I also make sure to drink water with meals. I have also discovered that if I eat a certain type of bread the day before my period starts, it can trigger a very painful gas attack and incredible stomach pain that can last up to 12 hours.
The most important supplement for me has been enzymes. I am now experimenting with different brands. I bought an expensive raw food supplement that contained 22 enzymes last month and can't tell if it is any better than some of the enzyme products that are much cheaper. I do know that taking enzymes have helped enormously. I have heard that it is better to take enzymes between meals on an empty stomach, but in our case, it might be good to do both (at the start of a meal and in between). Hope this helps."
04/21/2012: Deb from Sandy, Utah replies: "Oregano oil works for everything and has helped me alot! but I recently read that peppermint plus oregano alows the oregano to be absorbed into the intestines. Staying away from dense food such as bread and taking enzymes helps."
04/23/2013: Steven M. from Ashland, Oregon replies: "You say: 'The ileocecal valve is distinctive because it is the only site in the GI tract which is used for Vitamin B12 and bile acid absorption.' Copied from Wikipedia
I read that there and did some research:
Chir Ital. 1991 Feb-Apr;43(1-2):49-54. (Italian Society of Surgery)
[The ileocecal valve as a prognostic factor in extensive resection of the small intestine].
[Article in Italian]
Fornaro R, Belcastro E, Lo Presti G, Carissimi T, Ferraris R.
Source: Istituto di Clinica Chirurgica I, Universita degli Studi di Genova.
Excerpt from abstract: 'The ileocaecal valve, however, does play a substantial role, in that, on the one hand, it performs sphincter and barrier functions against ileocolic reflux of bacteria, while, on the other, its removal involves excision of the right colon (reserve area for reabsorption of water and ions) and of the terminal ileum (a site specialized in absorption of vitamin B12 and bile salts). '
Urol Clin North Am. 1991 Nov;18(4):743-54.
Nutritional and gastrointestinal complications of the use of bowel segments in the lower urinary tract.
Steiner MS, Morton RA.
Source: James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.
Excerpt from Abstract: 'The loss of the ileocecal valve and ileum segment accelerates intestinal transit time, which does not allow for complete digestion and absorption of food. Water and electrolytes remain associated with undigested food particles and may overwhelm the absorptive capacity of the colon, resulting in an osmotic diarrhea. A second problem is vitamin B12 deficiency. Surgical reduction of sites in the terminal ileum for active and exclusive uptake of vitamin B12 might lead to hypovitaminosis. If this is unrecognized, patients may develop irreversible neurologic injury. '
I hope this helps."
04/23/2013: Leah from Philadelphia, Pa replies: "I have read that you can dissolve vitamin B12 in DMSO and apply to skin. Dmso should be diluted with distilled water to avoid irritation. It can be taken internally or dermally. I have not tried this particular meathod yet but it was recommended for people with digestive problems such as irritable bowel or Crohn's. I have used 99. 9% pure DMSO (mixed in grapefruit juice) I bought online and had no negative or positive side effects besides the odd smell. It is mainly used as a carrier for other medicine because it is a good solvent, highly tested and found non toxic (check medline or pubmed) and can cross the blood brain barrier. The medical community uses it in embryo preservation and organ transplants because it has such a high antioxident status. Apparently embryos that have been soaked in this and then frozen have better rates of implantation than fresh ones. Side effects include skin sensitivity and strange cream of corn odor. May cause cataracs in dogs. You can google it. I found a great ebook about it last year but lost the link.
Actually there was a lot of controversy about it at the time it was being tested because it had so many healing applications: cancer, heart disease, stroke, paralysis, arthritis, senility, schizophrenia, sprains, glaucoma etc. Veterinarians still use it for race horses when they get injured. It is a very potent free radical scavenger. To me it makes sense why it would have so many applications. When you think holistically the "one drug for one disease" model seems stupid."