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Laxative use becoming serious problem.

Laxative Use Becoming Serious Problem

A major health problem is spreading throughout every age group in our society. The heavy use of over-the-counter laxatives, spurred on by extensive television advertising, has turned sometime users into long-term abusers, experts at the American College of Gastroenterology, New Orleans, are warning.

The ingestion of any laxative, they say, incurs risks of nutrient deficiencies, metabolic disorders, and potentially severe damage to the gastrointestinal tract.

The problem is attributed to misunderstanding the subject of constipation and regularity of bowel movement, especially among the young and the elderly.

The seriously threatened risk takers are those who use laxatives as a weight reduction aid. Many elderly people do not worry about daily use of laxatives to be a problem. They accept it as routine regulation of a daily bowel movement.

Physicians often are at a disadvantage in dealing with the problem because their patients neglect to disclose their habit. Also, laxative abuse can be misdiagnosed: the common complaints of diarrhea, cramping, nausea and vomiting can send the doctor searching in other areas.

Psychological and physical dependence often accompany the patient's overdependence upon laxatives.

Traditional methods for establishing regularity (which need to mean daily evacuation - although that would be ideal) are adding bulk to the diet by the inclusion of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. A sprinking of a mucilose preparation such as psylluim seed or agar can make the transition easier. Copious quantities of drinking water should be included in such a regimen.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Sep 22, 1990
Previous Article:Women more overweight than men.
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