Q. I have a problem with flatulence. I haven't been able to find any pattern in what I eat that might cause this, so I'm looking to you for help.What can I do to avoid this embarrassing situation? Are there certain foods or drinks I should avoid? Please help!
A. Some people are more susceptible to gas-producing foods than others. While beans are notorious, other foods, such as pretzels, bagels, broccoli and brussels sprouts, can be equally problematic. Milk sugar causes many people trouble. Such lactose intolerance often goes undetected because lactose is found in so many products (including pills).
Some readers report that natural products such as fennel-seed tea (1 teaspoon slightly crushed fennel seeds per cup of hot water) or Angostura bitters (found in the drink-mix section of the supermarket) can help with flatulence.
Q. A person recently wrote to you about pharmacists refusing to fill birth-control prescriptions because of their religious beliefs. You didn't mention that many women are prescribed birth-control pills for reasons that have little or nothing to do with actual birth control.
Oral contraceptives are often prescribed for painful menstrual cramps and ovarian cysts, among other problems. It is intrusive and unethical for pharmacists to refuse to fill such prescriptions.
A. You raise an interesting issue. A pharmacist who refuses to dispense birth-control pills or emergency contraceptives on moral grounds may have to rethink this stance. Many medications have multiple uses, and most people would be outraged if the pharmacist quizzed them about intimate details of their lives.Pharmacists are divided on this controversy.
A recent survey from the pharmacy publication Drug Topics (June 1, 2005) found that only 13 percent feel that "the actions of a small group of pharmacists have given a black eye to the rest of the profession."Many (31 percent) feel that those with moral concerns have "a legitimate right to refuse to dispense these products." Almost as many (30 percent) think that pharmacists who won't fill contraceptive prescriptions should refer patients to someone who will.
XIn their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or via their Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.org.
& copy; 2005 King Features Syndicate Inc.