Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Q: Six months ago, I was walking on a downward-sloping trail and fell forward, slamming my total abdomen and left hip area on the ground. The only obvious injury was a fractured left rib. The rib did improve after about six weeks, but I was left with an aching abdomen area. This continued for three months with diarrhea until late December, when I was hospitalized with colitis. The CT of the area disclosed no injury of the stomach, gallbladder, pancreas or spleen. A month later, a liver ultrasound also was clear.
I am feeling sick, aching and bloated in the upper abdomen. A friend suggested maybe a twisted bowel from the impact of the fall. I am 76 years old, and have always been active.
A: I can’t come up with a way to connect the fall and the continued symptoms, especially with a CT showing things are OK. I don’t believe a twisted bowel (volvulus) is likely, since that goes spectacularly wrong in a big hurry, and shouldn’t just simmer along like whatever you have seems to be doing.
I do wonder about the colitis — you wouldn’t be the first person to have a previously unsuspected medical problem come to light because of an injury near the same area. Is it possible you have an abdominal condition, like sprue or inflammatory bowel disease? It would be uncommon, but not unheard of, at your age.
Q: I am allergic to tomatoes and tomato products. My throat closes up, and I can’t breathe. On two occasions, I had to go to the emergency room to get a shot.
Tomatoes have lycopene, which is beneficial for heart health. What can I do to get the benefits of lycopene but not have an allergic reaction?
A: Lycopene, a vitamin A-like chemical found naturally in tomatoes, was thought to have benefit in protecting against heart disease and some cancers, especially prostate cancer. However, more recent studies have cast some doubt on that claim.
Your allergy is potentially life-threatening, and no potential health benefit is worth retrying tomatoes. Speak to your doctor about a home version of the emergency shot (EpiPen) in case of emergency.
If you really want a food with lycopene, watermelon is a good source. Fruits and vegetables are beneficial for heart health for many reasons, lycopene being only a small one.
Dr. Keith Roach’s column runs in Tuesday’s Extra.
Weather JournalNext system: Possible ice/snow Sat.