Porter Regional Hospital was built to help people with medical needs and emergencies. This year they are hosting a series of health related seminars to service the community before it needs saving. The topic on Thursday, March 31st was 5 Things You Should Know About Your Colon.
“It’s always great to have info out there to keep the public informed and to keep them healthy,” said Karin Birchel, the Community Programmer and Senior Circle Coordinator for the Hospital. “That’s our ultimate goal.”
The seminar, featuring guest speaker Dr. Stephen Paul, was open to the public but required pre registration. Porter Regional thought it would be a good way to honor Colon Cancer Awareness month.
Dr. Paul said, “It’s Colon Cancer Awareness month, we should talk about more than just cancer. There are a lot of things people should know. [A seminar] is a less threatening way of talking about it than coming into the office. Then they can decide if they should schedule an appointment.”
His seminar covered five topics that come up on a daily basis in Dr. Paul’s gastroenterology office: Diverticular Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colon Polyps, Fiber, and Probiotics. Each one is a common concern of people with troubling colons. 60% of people over the age of 60 have Divericuli and even more have IBS. One out of three people develops polyps that may later develop into cancer.
Symptoms for bowel trouble range from unusual gas to intense cramps. Patients may experience constipation, diarrhea, bleeding, or a number of other symptoms; or they may have none at all. Changing the amount of fiber in your diet can make a huge difference. You can also maintain a healthy amount of bacteria by taking probiotic supplements.
“I’ve suffered with bowel problems for many years,” said Cindy Retzalff of Portage. “I’ve been treated by the same doctor since I was 28 with no change. I saw the ad for this seminar in the paper and thought I’d come out. It was very informative, I learned so much.”
“I think,” said Dr. Paul, “That in our lifetime we will find that the bacteria of our bodies is more about promoting health than fighting disease.”