Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint
in the United States,
affecting more than 4 million Americans and accounting for more than two
million visits to the doctor each year. While
the groups most often affected are women and adults over age 65, constipation
is also a significant problem for people
with cancer . Contributing factors include dietary and activity patterns,
anatomic considerations, pain medication, and a number of cancer treatments .
Though most constipation is temporary
and often perceived as a mere nuisance, persistent difficulty with bowel
movements can lead to long term complications, and there are rare cases of
constipation leading to serious illness and death. Given the potential negative
effects on health, it is important to recognize the factors contributing to
constipation and to practice effective management and prevention tactics.
Bowel motility is the complex function of the intestine
maintaining water balance in the stool...
I keep hearing that women who are pregnant should avoid fish that are high in mercury. Are there specific types of fish that pregnant women should avoid?
There has been a lot of press lately on the risks associated with high mercury intake, particularly to pregnant women. If a woman is exposed to high levels of mercury while she is pregnant, both she and the baby can be at risk. A high level of mercury during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and nervous system damage to the baby.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration recommend that pregnant women, those who may become pregnant and women who are nursing avoid consuming fish that are high in mercury. Their recommendations include:
Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
Eat up to 12 ounces per week of fish and shellfish that are low in mercury.
Be careful when purchasing tuna. Light tuna has less mercury than albacor...
Vegetables, fruits (especially dried fruits), and some cereals (whole wheat, bran, or oatmeal) are excellent sources of fiber. It is easy to remember that the harder a vegetable is (like celery), the more fiber it has. For fiber to work, it is very important to drink plenty of water to help with the passage of stool in the intestines.
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