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Diet and Bowel Function in Men

‘Most patients who develop colon cancer, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, fistula and fissure have had a lifelong history of difficulty with their bowels. In most instances, they suffer from chronic habit constipation’, says Warren Enker, M.D., Director, GastroIntestinal Institute for Cancer and Continuum Cancer Centers of New York.

The usual cause of chronic constipation being lack of adequate dietary fiber, Dr Wenker advises correcting the fiber inadequacy in one's diet by ‘a lifelong daily intake of 25 to 30 grams or about one ounce of dietary fiber daily’.

Similarly, an EPIC-Oxford (The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, Oxford cohort) study on bowel movement and diet suggested that the type of diet is highly significant in bowel movement frequency. The researchers found that vegan men are approximately two and a half times more likely to have daily bowel movements as compared with men who are meat-eaters.

They also suggested that alcohol intake does have some benefit as far as bowel movement frequency in men is concerned, but not in women. According to them, the odds of having daily bowel movements almost doubled with increasing alcohol intake in men (20 g or more of ethanol per day).

On the other hand, alcohol intake of more than 30g per day (or 2 drinks per day) significantly increases the risk of hypertension. So, the wise thing would be to restrict alcohol to a maximum of 2 drinks per day in any case. Also, the harms of alcohol intake far outweigh the benefits; thus it is not advisable to drink alcohol with the excuse of curing your constipation problem!

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