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EMA Care Blog

Our Blog covers recent, relevant and helpful health and healthcare news

EMA Care Blog

Our Blog covers recent, relevant and helpful health and healthcare news

Constipation can be easily solved


Constipation in gap year students

Have you ever traveled to a new place and experienced constipation? Over the past few years, we have had many gap year students complain about constipation – usually within the first 2 months of being in the country. We had a vegetarian student once who was eating only tofu- no vegetables, fruits, and definitely not a balanced diet.  We had another student who was eating only potato chips and soda because they were too tired to cook or even go out at the end of the long day.  This student ended up gaining weight and developing skin problems!

Constipation refers to bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass. The stool is often hard and dry. This can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and feeling as if one has not completely passed the bowel movement. The good news it that there are many easy ways to prevent it.

For many students, the year in Israel is the first time they have had to make their own food plans and cook for themselves. While back at home, their parents were cooking well-rounded meals, and food was familiar and effortless for many.  College-aged students often eat less healthy foods and have less well-rounded diets. Many programs have students making their own food at least part of the time, which takes a lot of forethought and effort.  Programs that serve meals will often serve meals that include foods that may be unfamiliar to the students. 

There are other causes of constipation, such as side effects of common medications.  Many students are on various medications for medical or mental health reasons. Many of these medications, including sleeping medication and some anti-depressants, can cause constipation as a side effect. It is important that the students are aware of this and make sure that if they are constipated, they avoid any unnecessary sleeping pills and other such medications. If they need prescription medications, then students should begin a careful diet and hydration plan from the beginning of the school year. 

Our intestinal activity can often be influenced by emotions.  For example, if someone is stressed, they might have irregular bowel movements.  By definition, irritable bowel syndrome is alternating constipation and diarrhea, heavily affected by stress. It is important for a student not to develop anxiety when they have irregular bowel movements because it could make the situation worse. https://www.healthcareisrael.com/blog/mental-health-during-your-gap-year-in-israel

Israel is a warm and dry country.  This climate is often very different from climates where gap year students come from.  Many students hydrate as much as they did at home. In most cases, this means that the students aren’t drinking enough water.  Dehydration causes constipation! 

Tips for avoiding constipation in gap year students:

  1. Hydrate hydrate hydrate. In Israel at least 2 liters of water is needed daily to keep hydrated -even indoors.  If spending time outside a minimum of 3 liters daily is required.  https://www.healthcareisrael.com/blog/yom-kippur-hydration
  2. Fruits and vegetables are a great way to prevent constipation. Israel is an agricultural country, so fruits and vegetables are easy to find and usually inexpensive. 
  3. A balanced diet high in fiber, low in simple carbs and sugar can help maintain good intestinal health! Students going to programs that require cooking should learn how to make simple healthy foods from raw ingredients.  Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables – the less processed, the better.
  4. Avoid sleeping medications or unnecessary medications that may cause constipation.

If constipation does not resolve after following these guidelines, students should seek medical attention at a family physician or school clinic.  If they are at a school that has EMA Care clinics, then make sure they schedule an appointment with the clinic health provider to discuss, including any medications taken.

From here at EMA Care, we wish you a healthy winter!!

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What Our Clients Say

Truly amazing

My son went to Israel for a year requiring infusion every 6-8 weeks. It was very stressful at times to coordinate getting his meds sent to Israel, scheduling appointments, and having to worry about him going on his own. Then a friend told me about EMA Care. EMA Care was truly amazing.

You can speak to an American who understands your concerns and will walk you through the entire process, from dealing with insurance to making appointments, and even getting someone to escort your


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I would like to recommend Eliana (EMA care) for her sensitive and timely help for clients who are having difficulty navigating the health care system Israel, specifically for Anglos, whether new olim or those of us who been here for many years.

The obstacles of interfacing with the health care system here is daunting, especially at a time when one is going through an acute or chronic condition that is protracted and complicated. Often one doesn’t know whom to turn to or where to go,


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During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.

 After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the


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We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!

We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.

My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and


Knowledgeable, thorough, and caring

When our son was injured in a car accident during his yeshiva year in Israel, he had to start navigating the medical system on his own. But once we contacted Dr. Eliana Aaron at EMA Care (www.HealthCareIsrael.com), she immediately flew into action. Dr. Aaron accompanied our son in the ER and made sure he and we knew at every step exactly what was done and what needed to be done, especially important for someone who suffered a concussion and


Skilled and professional

I write to express my hakarat hatov (positive recognition) and my gratitude to the two health professionals from EMA Care that have been from the start professionally involved and continue to be interested in my care and long-term recovery.

After a serious fracture, I was hospitalized in the north, and my insurance company recommended EMA Care services to help me. After a surgeon was pressuring me to sign consent for surgery, I realized that I needed to remain


My Father is so Happy

It sounds like my dad has decided to hire you and I'm thrilled.
He actually seems much calmer than he has been in a long time and he is very happy with what the EMA Care staff has done so far.
You provide an amazing service and I feel very fortunate to have you on board.

G.K.  Jerusalem


“Ema Extraordinaire”

“EMA” Care is so fitting a name for Dr. Eliana Aaron’s exceptional gap year concierge health care service. Dr. Aaron is not only an incredible health care professional; she is also an “Ema Extraordinaire” in every sense of the word. My child had a range of medical needs while abroad, some anticipated and others not, and she was there for him (and me) – even in the middle of the night, -- always calm, reassuring, thinking out of the box, getting him to the appropriate medical professionals


Very Helpful

Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
Yasher koach



Delicious and Safe

Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel.  We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious.

All the best,


New Jersey


EMA Care in the News

18 June 2020
The following article was published in the English addition of Hamodia. Written by Joel Rebibo ...
14 June 2020
What will be the 'new normal' for Israel's gap year programs?According to EMA Care, an estimated 80% of programs will close down permanently if they are not able to reopen in the fall.By TZVI JOFFRE   JUNE 4, 2020 11:58  ...
07 April 2020
Dr. Eliana Aaron spoke on World Mizrachi on the recent Coronavirus outbreak.Response from World Mizrachi:Just reaching out to thank you for the talk you gave today. The feedback has been tremendous! May you continue to have the strength to  insp...

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