What You See in the Toilet Can Give You Valuable Insights into Your Health

Story at-a-glance

  • What’s normal and what’s not when you look into the toilet after using it? You can learn a great deal about your overall health by taking a look at your stool and noting its color, size, shape, consistency, odor and other features
  • Your toileting habits, such as your frequency of elimination and the ease with which you move your bowels, can provide additional clues to your health status
  • If you know what to look for, you may be able to detect health problems early enough to stop them in their tracks, including serious diseases like celiac disease, Continue reading

Coffee Consumption Reduces Fibrosis Risk in those with Fatty Liver Disease

Increased coffee intake significantly decreases risk in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis patients Continue reading

Milk Thistle Provides a Protective Shield to the Liver, Heart and Brain

The liver is one of the most critical organs essential to human health. It serves more than 300 functions in the body to detoxify against chemical and environmental intrusions, and it promotes metabolic function as well. Silymarin is commonly known as milk thistle, and new science is emerging to validate the healing potential of this powerful plant. Publishing in the journal Hepatitis Monthly, researchers provide solid evidence that natural milk thistle extracts can halt and even reverse the effects of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), an affliction affecting as much as a third of the adult population. Supplementation with milk thistle will dramatically lower the risks associated with fatty liver disease, atherosclerosis and cognitive dysfunction.

NAFLD is a significant health concern that is growing at an unprecedented rate due to the obesity and diabetes epidemic currently gripping most western societies. The condition is caused in part by excess accumulation of fats (triglycerides) in the cellular matrix of the liver that results in suboptimal function of the organ. Left unchecked, the disease can result in cell injury and damage, in inflammation and ultimately in cirrhosis as the liver becomes less able to perform the multitude of tasks essential to life. Continue reading

Preventing Hepatitis

The following steps can help you prevent hepatitis:

  • Avoid contact with blood or blood products. Use appropriate precautions if this is part of your work.
  • Avoid sexual contact with a person infected with hepatitis or person with unknown health history. Practice safe sex at all times.
  • Use good hand-washing practices. For example, always wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before handling food.
  • Avoid sharing plates, utensils, or bathrooms with someone who has hepatitis A
  • Do not share razors, needles, or toothbrushes.
  • When traveling to certain areas, do not eat uncooked or partially cooked foods. Drink bottled water.
  • Do not use recreational IV drugs. If you are already an IV drug user, never share needles and seek help from a needle exchange or drug treatment program as soon as possible.
  • Be cautious when receiving tatoos or piercings.
  • DO NOT drink alcohol at the same time that you take acetaminophen. If you already have hepatitis, do not use either substance to avoid further damage to your liver.

The following hepatitis vaccines are available:

  • Hepatitis A vaccine is available for people in high-risk groups, like day care and nursing home workers, laboratory workers, and those traveling to certain parts of the world (like Asia and Africa).
  • Hepatitis B vaccine is now given to all infants and unvaccinated children under 18. The vaccine is also available for adults at high risk, such as institutional or nursery workers, health care professionals, intravenous drug users, and persons with risky sexual behavior.

When to get tested for hepatitis:

  • Get tested for hepatitis B or C if you have had sexual contact with or shared needles with someone who may have had one of these viruses.
  • Do this even if you have no symptoms.

A shot of immunoglobulin may prevent infection if:

  • It is given soon after you have had close contact (like kissing or sharing utensils) with someone who was diagnosed with hepatitis A within the last two weeks.
  • It is given right away to an infant born to a woman with hepatitis B along with the hepatitis B vaccine.