Rebound After C-Section
Women who have had a C-section may find that chewing gum can help restore digestive function. OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson notes that during a C-section, doctors must move the stomach in order to get to the uterus.
This intrusion can shock the stomach and cause it to stop performing peristalsis, a series of organized muscle contractions required for digestion.
"But when you chew gum," Dr. Lisa explains, "the chewing motion will activate the digestive juices down in the abdomen to get that motion to start back up, and get the bowels to start moving, and get a bowel movement going."
Gastroenterologist Dr. Lin Chang from the Division of Digestive Diseases at UCLA says that the first thing she does with a patient who complains of chronic constipation is rule out whether the condition is due to a secondary cause -- an underlying medical condition that causes it - i.e. diabetes, thyroid disease or colon cancer -- or a primary cause - i.e. the colon moves stool slowly, or a pelvic floor problem impedes bowel evacuation.
One test Dr. Chang performs is a SITZ marker test, which determines if constipation iis caused by a slow transit of stool in the colon or if a patient has a pelvic floor problem. The normal transit time of stool is 72 hours.
"The reason you want to determine that [it's problem with the pelvic floor] is the treatment is different," Dr. Chang says. "You don't just give laxatives and medicines. You have to get something called biofeedback. That's the best treatment."
"Most cases of short-term constipation are due to things like your diet," E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork adds. "You're not getting enough fiber and you're not getting enough fluids."
If you've had a chronic cough that has lasted more than eight weeks, see your doctor for x-rays and further testing for serious conditions such as lung cancer, tuberculosis and underlying lung disease.
"Most causes of a chronic cough are something intrinsic to the lungs, such as asthma, allergies, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), reflux disease or chronic post-nasal drip," Dr. Travis explains.
Chickenpox is caused by the highly contagious varicella-zoster virus and is transmitted through the air as well as through skin-to-skin contact. Dr. Travis explains how chickenpox infects the body.
Ninety percent of chickenpox infections occur during childhood, but adult infections have serious ramifications. To prevent contracting the virus, adults can get vaccinated. Some adults may already be immune to chickenpox if they carry the antibodies, which can be determined through a blood test.
"Pregnant women should see if they're immune to it," Dr. Lisa advises. "Because it's really bad if they get it when they're pregnant, and then they should wait three months until after they get the vaccine [to get pregnant]."
Pain-Free Cavity Prevention
Cosmetic dentist Dr. Bill Dorfman says that people can avoid cavities on the top of their teeth if they have clear resin sealants bonded to their molars at age 6 and then again at age 12. Dr. Bill performs the procedure on his daughter Georgie and explains how it can prevent tooth decay.
Health Hearsay: Lipstick Lore
Contrary to urban myth, lipstick does not cause cancer, assures Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief of Prevention. The magazine reports that lipstick does contain trace amounts of lead, but the levels are so low they are of little concern.
"Here's a way to put it into context," Liz explains. "If you have a dirty, dusty house or find lead in your soil, there are hundreds of parts per million of lead in those areas. Lipstick has about .1 to 3 parts per million. So the amounts in an entire tube of lipstick are next to nothing."
"Children absorb up to 50 percent of lead," Dr. Travis adds, "whereas adults absorb only five to eight percent. So wearing lipstick as a mom? No big deal. But you don't want your kids eating lipstick."