Bowel Health and checks

Checks

The risk of Bowel cancer increases with age and those 45 plus should be particularly vigilant about their Bowel Health. Currently in New Zealand there is no national Bowel cancer screening programme. For those of you lucky enough to live in the Waitamata District Health Board catchment, you do, if over the age of 50 have access to Bowel screening and we urge you to check out what you need to do to access this service at http://www.bowelscreeningwaitemata.co.nz/

However please see your Doctor at any time if you have symptoms as outlined in bowelandliver.org.nz/know-the-facts/bowel/risks-causes/ As your Doctor may refer you for a colonoscopy if they believe it is necessary. There is a home test that you can do which is Australian and can be ordered on line at http://www.colovantage.com.au/Store/ProdID/1/ColoVantage_Home. Or they can be purchased through Unichem or Life pharmacy stores throughout New Zealand. There is also a toll free number for New Zealanders who wish to enquire about this product before purchasing on line 0800 849 104.

A healthy Bowel

There are things that you can do to ease or avoid bowel problems such as;

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Drink enough fluids
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you consume
  • Chew your food well
  • Don’t miss meals.

Being overweight or obese can affect health in general and is especially the case with regards to our digestive system.

As we age, our bowels tend to become slow moving. There are many factors including changes in our diet and less exercise that cause this. There is some evidence to suggest the lower bowel itself actually changes in old age. In some cases this can lead to bowel emptying difficulties and leakage. It is important to seek help from your GP or healthcare professional if this occurs. The majority of the immune system is gut-associated; it is estimated that 85% of the body’s lymph nodes are located in the gut. Our gut bacteria help support this; another reason why it is important that as we get older we try and maintain a healthy gut flora.