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Some of us feel the doctor’s office is a place for limited discussion, some even find it difficult to speak with their doctor and inquire about health concerns. But, as you will learn on this and many episodes of Patient Power, being a proactive patient could save your life in the end. This program focuses on the importance of women understanding their digestive health. Gastrointestinal health is often overlooked, but one expert insists, you, the patient, should be in total control.

Doctors probe patients with questions, so shouldn't patients be doing the same? Our expert, Dr. Judith Reichman insists furthering the discussion with questions that matter is extremely important. She then initiates a discussion on the importance of checking-up on gastrointestinal health. Dr. Reichman is a gynecologist who practices and teaches at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA in Los Angeles. She is also known as the writer and host of the acclaimed two-part series on PBS, “Straight Talk on Menopause with Dr. Judith Reichman” and is a best-selling author.

Find out Dr. Reichman’s helpful hints for recognizing gastrointestinal abuse and impact of chronic constipation. You’ll also hear Dr. Reichman discuss her national campaign to educate women about digestive health problems and provide them with educational resources so they can address their symptoms and talk with their doctor. In Dr. Reichman’s words, “So I would like to tell women, look, if you can talk about other parts of your body please remember that your gastrointestinal system is just as important. Without it, we can't ingest, digest or egest our nutrition. We need to make sure it's in working condition. And if we are having problems, know that they're very common, they should be discussed with your physician, and there are treatments available.”

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Produced in association with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Transcript

Andrew Schorr:

Hello, around the country and around the world, I'm Andrew Schorr. Thanks for joining us on Health Radio. I always give a weather report from Seattle where I am, and I'm happy to say no rain. Sun. All the pets around are happy, the flowers are starting to think about coming up and it's a great day. And I hope it is for you wherever you are.

You know, so many of us live with chronic health concerns, and for me cancer, you know, has become a chronic concern but not an immediate one, so that's good. We're making cancer for more and more people chronic. And then there are all these other conditions we've talked about on Patient Power and we continue to talk about. One big area are GI conditions. You know, we all eat and we all have digestion, we all have to go to the bathroom, and when things are not working right it is a big annoyance at least. And how do you plan your day, you know, if you just don't feel right?

On one end of it you can have some very serious autoimmune conditions, like Crohn's disease where you're getting all inflamed inside, and we will do programs as we have in the past on Crohn's and help for the people affected with that with that and ulcerative colitis. You take those two together it's about a million people in the US, quite serious. But fortunately newer medicines are helping there. And then there are other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and we'll find out more about that. And then there are other things just like constipation, and a lot of this sometimes affects women even more than men, but we'll learn more about that in a minute.

You know, I wanted to make a comment that as I work in this field of helping empower patients, I've been at it a long time and there's some other people who have been too. And some are on the physician side, other healthcare providers and some are patients like me. But one guiding light as a physician who has been devoted to this so long is Dr. Judith Reichman, who practices gynecology in Los Angeles at Cedars Sinai, and she's associated with UCLA as well. And I've known her for a long time although I haven't talked to her for a long time, but we used to do a TV show together that we taped in Los Angeles, and coincidentally I used to live down there, and my wife, even before we were married, she was her patient. What a small world. So now here almost 20 years later connect again with Dr. Judith Reichman who is our guest today.

Thanks for being with us.

Dr. Reichman:

Oh, it's my pleasure, and I love the connection in our past. I somehow hate that you say it's 20 years ago because it seems like yesterday.

Andrew Schorr:

Yeah, it does. And of course you are well known on television now in your work and trying to communicate helpful information to people around the country. I know you've been on Oprah and you're regularly on the Today show, so I think it's great because communications can help reach people. Now, you've just launched a new GI initiative. So what is that and what's it about?

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