Recent Tips from American Family Physician

I’ve been catching up on reading some recent American Family Physician issues since returning from Christmas vacation with family and saw a few tips I thought I’d pass along.

  • Chew gum after surgery:  One of my favorite parts of AFP is the Cochrane for Clinicians section in every issue.  The Cochrane Library is a collection of critical reviews of the literature addressing various issues.  A common complication of intra-abdominal surgery is ileus, a condition where the bowel ceases to function in its role of moving bowel contents steadily toward the rectum.  This can be very painful, and often delays recovery, extends hospitalization, and is generally no fun at all.  It turns out that just chewing gum in the immediate post operative period can help prevent this problem.  Patients who were asked to chew gum in the hospital after colorectal surgery, C-section, and all other surgeries had reduced time to first flatus (Farting in common language), first bowel movement, and hospital discharge. If I need surgery I plan to bring a big package of sugar-free gum to the hospital for post-op use.
  • Potential Impact of OTC Access to Birth Control Pills:  Unintended pregnancy is a major problem in the U.S.  The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has mandated that all insurance plans cover all FDA approved contraceptive methods at no out-of-pocket cost.  The Editorial in AFP 12-1-15 issue addresses the potential reduction in unplanned pregnancies that could be expected from availability of birth control pills without a prescription.  The AFP and the ACOG both have come out in favor of OTC birth control pills.  This is a quick and interesting read.

Happy New Year to all.

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