August #38 : Move It! - by Lark Lands, PhD

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Table of Contents

Tales of the City

Ask Amelio


The Mere Future

Record Time


The American People

Switching Channels

Takin’ It to the Streets

Have A Ball

The Grass Is Greener


To the Editor

Pass the AZT

Deadly Dad

Stuck in the Riddle

Survey Says...

Let’s Talk About Sex

Name Game

Vive la France!

Gets His Goat

Going Downtown? Dam It

Dr. Dementia

Voices Carry


And Now For Something Entirely Fiction

Tita Aida

Death Becomes Her

In the Hot Seat

Oh, Viagra!

You Can’t Take It With You

Clean and Sober

Know Your Writes

Pills, Chills and Thrills

TB or not TB

Move It!

Risky When Rushed

It’s All About the Journal

Heart of the Matter

Stink Balms

Angel and Insects

Pier 48

Say What

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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August 1998

Move It!

by Lark Lands, PhD

Remedies for constipation

In the “If it’s not one thing [diarrhea], it’s another [constipation]” tradition, hard-packed stools and straining during bowel movements—sometimes to the point of causing hemorrhoids—plague many PWAs. The four-word solution? Water, fiber, magnesium, exercise.

Increasing fluid intake is a must. A simple formula to follow: Divide your weight in pounds in half, and then drink that number of ounces of fluids every day. At the same time, make a point of eating very regularly while increasing the amount of fiber in your diet. A mostly whole-foods diet—including unrefined grains such as brown rice and whole-wheat products, along with baskets of fruits and vegetables—is the best beginning.

If that doesn’t do the trick, you should try supplements: One or two tablespoons of a commonly available soluble fiber such as Metamucil (which contains psyllium seed) or Citrucel (which contains fiber from citrus), mixed in a glass of water, two to three times per day. It’s best to take such products at the end of a meal to give them a chance to mix with the food. Taken before eating, they can create a sensation of fullness that may decrease your food intake. Taking them between meals can result in a gelatinous mass at one bowel movement, and the same old hard stools the rest of the time. Always increase fiber intake slowly. Starting out with too much can cause gas.

Magnesium deficiency, which is very common in HIV positive people, often constipates. Taking supplemental magnesium (in doses of 500 to 1,000 mg per day—and work up slowly) can be very useful. And last but not least, daily moderate exercise—important for many health reasons—can help to eliminate constipation by stimulating bowel movements.

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