GROWING LAX

While eating a fiber-rich diet, staying active, and drinking plenty of fluids generally help stave off constipation, occasional bouts of irregularity do occur. If so, the first treatment choice should be an over-the-counter, bulk-forming laxative, which draws water into the stool and makes it easier to pass. Sometimes marketed as “fiber supplements,” these products can take a half-day to several days to work and are safe to take daily. Another laxative option is the “osmotic laxative” MiraLAX (or a generic version), which holds water in the stool to soften it and increase bowel movements. There are also “saline osmotics” (milk of magnesia), which are magnesium-based and should never be used long-term or in larger than recommended doses.

Constipation can cause complications, such as hemorrhoids or anal fissures, which can result in rectal bleeding. If changes in diet and exercise aren’t working for you, your next course of action is a laxative. When using a laxative, drink fluids and stay well hydrated. Avoid regular use of stimulant laxatives. They can limit your body’s ability to absorb vitamin D and calcium.For more information, please call us today. We accept all major prescription plans including Horizon Blue Cross. “Complete Family Health to Make Your Life Easier.”

HINT: Stimulant laxatives such as bisacodyl and cascara stimulate contractions that move the stool along. These should not be taken too often, as they can foster dependency.

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THE SPREAD OF DRUG-RESISTANT BACTERIA

For years, health experts have been warning that unnecessary use of antibiotics leads to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria that are increasingly hard to kill. Now, in its first global survey of the resistance problem, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that antibiotic-resistant bacteria have spread to every part of the world and might lead to a future where minor infections could prove fatal. The WHO has found very high rates of drug-resistant E. coli bacteria, which cause meningitis and infections of the skin, blood, and kidneys. In many countries, treatment for E. coli is ineffective in more than half of patients. The agency is also worried about drug-resistant bacteria responsible for pneumonia and gonorrhea.

HINT: Antibiotics are useless against viruses, which are responsible for the majority of common colds. Patients should not insist that their physicians prescribe antibiotics unnecessarily.

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ABOUT THOSE ED DRUGS

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a problem to some degree for approximately half of men between the ages of 40 and 70. This helps explain the popularity of drugs that can alleviate this problem in about 70% of otherwise healthy men. These drugs include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra), and avanafil (Stendra). In combination with sexual stimulation,  all these drugs improve blood flow sufficiently to initiate and complete sexual intercourse. Results vary, and ED drugs will not work in men with nerves or arteries damaged by prostate surgery, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. Viagra or Levitra will  not work at all if taken with food. Stendraand daily-use Cialis work more quickly than Viagra or Levitra, which require more planning.

P.S. No erectile dysfunction drug is safe to take in conjunction with the cardiac drugs known as nitrates  because they could cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.