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Beet the Clock


To obtain a general idea of intestinaltransit time when doing a workupfor chronic constipation or shortbowelsyndrome, I use this simpletest:

To obtain a general idea of intestinal transit time when doing a workup for chronic constipation or shortbowel syndrome, I use this simple test: I ask patients to eat a cup of cooked beets and note the amount of time it takes for them to notice the telltale red pigment in their stool. Most experts agree that transit times between 12 and 24 hours are average (with times between 48 and 72 hours at the upper limit of normal).1,2

-- Stephanie Leffler, MS, FNP
         Constable, NY

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Corn works just as well!

--Lucianne Cronin, FNP-BC, PhD
        Charlotte, NC


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REFERENCES: 1. Wyman JB, Heaton KW, Manning AP, Wicks AC.Variability of colonic function in healthy subjects.Gut. 1978;19:146-150.

2. Bassotti G, Iantorno G, Fiorella S, et al. Colonic motility in man: features in normal subjects and in patients with chronic idiopathic constipation. Am J Gastroenterol. 1999;94:1760-1770.

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