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Digestive problems are a common issue for many people. In fact, The Gut Foundation Australia state that half of the country’s population will complain that they are suffering from a digestive problem over a 12 month period. So, if you are suffering from digestive complaints, then you most certainly aren’t alone. However, knowing the digestive issues are a common complaint among the population doesn’t change the fact that they can cause significant discomfort in the lives of the many people that suffer from them.
The digestive system performs a vital role and includes each step that the body performs when it processes the foods that you eat. It is this process that enables your body to take vitamins and minerals from the foods that you eat and allow them to be absorbed into your bloodstream via the wall of your small intestine. As your digestive system performs such crucial functions, it can be particularly uncomfortable when issues arise.
Common Digestive Issues
Digestive issues cover a whole range of complaints; here are some of the most common ones:
Symptoms of indigestion can vary from person to person. However, the most common symptoms include abdominal pain and discomfort, feeling bloated, and having lots of gas.
It is important to note that symptoms of indigestion can be similar to those of a heart attack. Therefore, you should exercise caution and be aware of the signs of a heart attack.
As its name suggests, heartburn is characterized by a burning feeling rising towards your throat. Heartburn is caused by stomach acid and can leave you with an acidic taste in your mouth. Some people suffer from both heartburn and indigestion.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a term that describes two conditions; Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. Both Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease are chronic diseases. However, some people can go through long periods of remission from the diseases. People suffering from these conditions have an inflamed and ulcerated bowel.
Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease can include diarrhea, stomach cramps, and weight loss. If you suspect that you may have Inflammatory Bowel Disease, it is essential to consult a doctor.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is commonly known as IBS. This condition affects relatively large numbers of the population; it is believed that as many as one in five Australians will develop IBS at some stage of their lives.
Some of the symptoms of IBS are similar to those of people who have Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, although these conditions are not the same. Unlike Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, you cannot be diagnosed with IBS through tests. Instead, tests are used to eliminate other conditions before IBS is diagnosed.
People with IBS typically experience pain and discomfort in the abdomen, bloating, and regularly experience diarrhea or constipation.
Help for Digestive Problems
If you notice any changes to your bowel habits or stools, you must visit a doctor and describe your changes to them.
Many digestive issues can be helped, so seeking medical advice and receiving a diagnosis is essential for both your treatment and to rule out any other serious causes of your symptoms.
Heartburn and indigestion can be helped by over the counter products such as gaviscon which will help to alleviate the symptoms and ease the discomfort by stopping the stomach acid from travelling upwards towards your throat.
If you have Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease, your doctor may prescribe you medication to help manage your symptoms.
Lifestyle and Health
Many people notice that their digestive problems intensify when they are run down or experience stress in their lives. At times of stress, flare-ups may also occur more frequently. Trying to manage stress levels may feel easier said than done, but any changes that you can make to your lifestyle to reduce stress should help.
When experiencing digestive complaints, it makes sense that altering your diet should help to reduce the symptoms. Certain foods can aggravate heartburn and indigestion, so avoiding these could help to reduce discomfort. Foods and drinks to try to avoid include chocolate, coffee, spicy foods, and alcohol. Foods that some people may find problematic, others may be able to eat without any discomfort at all, so you may find that you need to use a trial and error process to work out which foods cause your symptoms to worsen. Keeping a food diary and recording what you eat and how you feel afterwards should help you to spot any flare-up patterns.