Perth doctor’s ‘happy bowel’ guide brings him shitload of fans

Who could have predicted that one of the biggest crowds at Perth Writers Week would be the one that gathered to hear a doctor talk about bowel movements?

Nevertheless, people lined up around the building to see Perth colorectal surgeon Michael Levitt, recently appointed WA’s chief medical officer.

Dr Levitt's book has struck a chord in the community.

“I think there were about 150-200 people, and it was packed – eventually they just had to close the doors,” he said.

“It was [Perth emergency doctor and author] Michelle Johnston who interviewed me, so I guess they figured if I wasn’t entertaining, at least she would be.

“I was a little surprised by the crowd though. It’s not my first book – I’ve written three books about bowels now.”

But this book is something of a departure from the first, The Bowel Book, published in 2002 by Oxford University Press – a textbook of bowel disorders aimed at the general public.

The second, The (Other) Women’s Movement, published in 2008, focused on managing constipation and while it was more approachable than the first, Dr Levitt said it still had “too much detail for general interest”.

But The Happy Bowel, whether it’s the bright cover, engaging tone, the endearing cartoons inside or a combination of it all, has enjoyed runaway popularity.

"An empty bowel is a happy bowel."

“In the course of a career your thoughts inevitably change over time; are subtly modified, based on feedback from patients,” Dr Levitt said.

“I also wanted to write a bit more in my voice.

“This subject is about significantly troublesome systems, and I have found approaching it with a lighter heart gets people onside.

“Every person in the planet has their bowels open in their own quirky fashion. Having that on the table, as it were, I think I get more information and patients become more receptive.”

But the book is not about cancer, colitis, Chrohn’s Disease, or even haemorrhoids.

It is for people who simply find bowel actions difficult – to start, to stop or to control in general. Who struggle with constipation, incontinence and dissatisfaction.

It’s what doctors call “functional” bowel disease.

To illustrate how function fails, Dr Levitt first describes what a “good action” looks and feels like.

“Prompt, effortless, brief and complete,” he said. “And the single most important thing? The strong urge that says, go now.

“People who can generate that urge but choose to go early, like guys who grab a book and wait on the platform waiting for the train to arrive, get into trouble.

“And people who never get that urge, more often women, have another significant problem.”

Read the rest of this article on WAtoday.

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Of motherhood and shame: when to fight, when to flee?

Bra shopping. It’s not easy at the best of times. But for a stressed mum with a new baby at home, toddlers in tow and self-esteem at historic lows, a good dollop of shame can push you right to the edge.

Kim Tucci felt ashamed. But she's not alone - and there's a scientific explanation.

Kim Tucci felt ashamed. But she’s not alone – and there’s a scientific explanation. Photo: Facebook

We are all familiar with terms such as mother-shaming, mother-guilt and ‘mob mentality’, which can lead people to avoid someone in need, as much as they might a crime in progress.

The #stopmomshaming hashtag is invoked in discussing Hilary Duff kissing her son and Pink microwaving her coffee; mums choosing bottle or breast, work or home, ignoring crying or attending to it, helicopter-parenting or browsing Facebook on their phone while at the local park.

Whatever their choice, these women tasked with providing an endless source of brightness and strength for our newest members of society can be felled at any moment with a weapon known simply as The Look.

Read more here at WAtoday

‘This is not about parental rights or doctors…it’s about Oshin Kiszko’

A Western Australian Family Court judge, who was faced with a grave decision in a state-first case this week, has spoken of how his decision could only ever have been about the life of one boy.

Justice Richard O’Brien was tasked with handing down a landmark decision on whether Perth six-year-old Oshin Kiszko should receive radiotherapy treatment for brain cancer against his parents’ wishes.

Read more at WAtoday

‘This will set a precedent’: Judge’s cancer treatment decision for Oshin

A judge tasked with deciding whether six-year-old cancer sufferer, Oshin Kiszko, should receive further treatment against his parents’ wishes has acknowledged his decision will set a precedent for future cases.

Read more at WAtoday. 

Doctors return to court to force six-year-old’s cancer treatment

Oshin Kiszko's mother Angela says she wants him to have peace, love and fun times while he is still physically able to. Photo: Elle Borgward

Oshin Kiszko’s mother Angela says she wants him to have peace, love and fun times while he is still physically able to. Photo: Elle Borgward

The parents of a Perth boy with aggressive brain cancer are set for another legal fight with doctors from Princess Margaret Hospital.

The medical team will take Angela Kiszko and Colin Strachan to court again on Thursday in a bid to step up chemotherapy and introduce radiation treatment for six-year-old Oshin, while his parents want only palliative care for their son.

Read more…