How to escape dinner invitations

“Where do most hernias occur?” Ask this question and nearly everyone will reply that a hernia is a mass that occurs in the lower abdomen.

But most are unaware there’s another location for the common hernia. It develops in the large intestine and can, at times, be a major problem requiring surgery. And one New Zealand doctor has a novel way to prevent this problem, known as diverticulosis. That is, if you have no desire to be invited to the next dinner party!

Diverticulosis is the occurrence of small pouches that penetrate muscle layers of the large bowel. The majority of patients never know they’re present and problems rarely occur before 50 years of age.

The most common symptoms are abdominal cramps, bloating, gas and constipation. But these same symptoms may also be due to the irritable bowel syndrome, making diagnosis difficult.

Fortunately, these small hernias rarely cause complications. But when they do, and the hernia becomes infected, it’s called diverticulitis. This can result in bleeding, severe abdominal pain, formation of an abscess and possible bowel rupture, all serious complications.

So why do hernias occur? Aging is a factor. There’s also evidence that genetics plays a role, making some people more prone to this malfunction. But chronic constipation is at the top of the list of suspects. For instance, Dr. Denis Burkitt, a British researcher, reported that African natives who consume large amounts of fiber do not suffer from constipation, appendicitis or large bowel problems.

Later, during the Second World War, Dr. Thomas L Cleaves was a surgeon on board the battleship King George V. Constipation was rampant among the sailors. And Cleaves was also suffering from constipation. But he hated taking laxatives. He decided to experiment on himself, and for days he consumed raw unprocessed bran. It cured him, and eventually his sailors as well.

Today, most North Americans do not consume enough fiber. We all need 30 grams of fiber daily and most people get about 15. This results in hard stools and painful bowel movements. With the addition of fiber along with increased water intake, stools become soft as toothpaste. A backward glance at the toilet is a good test to see if you’re taking sufficient fiber, though such inspection may cause a stiff neck!

A report conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) questions the role played by fiber in preventing diverticulosis. The NIH may be right. However, in this case, I doubt it.

Many believe that a high fiber diet is one road to a sound lifestyle and maintenance of a healthy bowel. It makes sense that a soft stool causes less harm to bowel tissue than stool as hard as rocks.

To boost fiber content, start the day with bran cereal and fruit. During the day add whole wheat bread, whole-wheat spaghetti, and vegetables that contain mainly insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber also holds onto large amounts of water in the intestinal tract to produce bulky soft stools.

Dr. Wynne-Jones, a New Zealand physician, has his own theory about diverticulosis. He claims that if you feel a desire to fart (pass gas) at a dinner party, but withhold the urge to do so, this increased pressure triggers hernias. I have no idea if he practices what he preaches, but if he does, it may be that he dislikes dinner parties and never wants a repeat invitation.

Mothers are often right about medical matters, but not always. For instance, years ago they believed that giving children castor oil on Saturday night to clean out the bowel was beneficial. It wasn’t a good idea then or now. The only safe laxative that does not injure bowel is Vitamin C. Take enough and it will always clean out the bowel. As many know, C also cleans atherosclerosis out of arteries.

High bran foods include black beans, green peas, bananas, prunes, tomatoes, celery, whole wheat spaghetti, raspberries, apples, potatoes with skin, to name a few.

Always inform your doctor of a change in bowel habits or rectal bleeding. And let me know what happens if you’re brave enough to follow Dr.Wynne-Jones’ advice!

See the web site at www.docgiff.com. For comments, email docgiff.com.

Just Posted

RDC introduces Justice Studies diploma to fill community gap

Forty students will begin studies in Fall 2018

Red Deer RCMP make numerous arrests during downtown patrols

RCMP locate suspects wanted on outstanding warrants

Heart and Stroke looking for Big Bike riders

Funds raised go towards the Heart and Stroke Foundation

Lacombe selected as 2019 Canada Games Torch Relay stop

The MNP Canada Games Torch Relay is a significant element of the Canada Games

Red Deer RCMP investigate rash of garage break-ins in Lancaster

Parked vehicles and garages broken into with various items stolen

WATCH: Red Deer Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year announced

Terry Loewen and Gian Carlo Estoesta landed this year’s honours

Harvey Weinstein to surrender in sex misconduct probe: officials

Would be first criminal charge against Weinstein since scores of women came forward

Layton Green wins centennial Falkland Stampede buckle

The Meeting Creek saddle bronc rider’s 2018 season is starting to kick off at a decent pace.

The priciest home for sale in Canada: A $38M Vancouver penthouse

Canada’s luxury real estate: The top 10 most expensive properties for sale right now

Toronto opening 800 emergency spaces to deal with influx of refugee claimants

Beginning Thursday, Toronto will temporarily house refugee claimants and new arrivals in 400 beds in the city’s east end.

Update: Trump cancels summit with North Korea

Trump cancels June 12 summit with North Korea’s Kim, citing ‘tremendous anger and open hostility’ in recent statement

Rivers rising: Floods in B.C., New Brunswick a warning of what’s to come

In B.C., thousands of residents are returning to homes this week marked with red or yellow signs indicating a health inspection is necessary

North Korea demolishes nuke test site with series of blasts

North Korea has carried out what it says is the demolition of its nuclear test site in the presence of foreign journalists.

Most Read