This week's Aspiring Medical Centre column
Bowels are something we don’t talk about very often. However, bowel cancer is NZ's most commonly diagnosed cancer, killing more New Zealanders each year than breast and prostate cancers combined.
Early symptoms might include bleeding with a bowel motion, or a change in bowel habit. ie. a sustained trend for several weeks of becoming more loose or frequent than you were before!
However, a temporary change in the bowel habit is very common and there are a few things you can do to keep your bowels healthy.
Eating fibre rich foods, such as wholegrains, bran, oats, brown rice, legumes and vegetables can keep the bowel motions soft and bulky.
Some people use a fibre supplement, such as metamucil or psyllium husk, to provide extra bulk.
Eating fruit, especially kiwifruit and prunes, can keep constipation away. Aim for 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables each day.
Drinking enough fluid is important, especially in the summer months. If you get dehydrated, your body will absorb extra water from the bowel, leaving behind things hard like rabbit droppings!
Finally, keeping moving and active can help encourage healthy bowels. If you have symptoms or concerns about changed bowel patterns, then don’t “sit on your symptoms”. Make an appointment to see your GP.
Aspiring Medical Centre ph 03 443 0725
- Dr Pip Clearwater (pictured), Aspiring Medical Centre
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