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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: August 2009

21 - Common gastrointestinal and urinary problems

from Part IV - Cancer prevention


The most common gastrointestinal (GI) complaints are constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The incidence of urinary incontinence (UI) is high. In several studies of women aged 42-50 years, more than 60% reported urine loss at some time, and more than 30% reported UI regularly. Pregnancy complications have been related positively to later UI, including loss of pelvic support, perhaps caused by multiple and large pregnancies and instrumented deliveries. Any medication with an anticholinergic effect including antispasmodics, antihistamines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anti-Parkinsonian drugs, can induce urinary retention and overflow incontinence. Although dysuria, polyuria, and nocturia are primarily symptoms of lower tract disease, they can also occur with upper tract infection or pyelonephritis. Indications for hospitalization and intravenous antibiotic medication include dehydration, vomiting, inability to take oral medication, and severe pain. Women with diabetes or abnormal urinary tract are more likely to need intravenous antibiotics and hospitalization.
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