A Summary of 3 Disorders and Suggestions for Treatment
Last time we talked about leaky gut syndrome, and offered suggestions for healing and maintaining the health of your digestive system. Today we continue the conversation and discuss three other common digestive disorders. While the suggestions we provided last time will work just as well for these disorders, we have also included some specific recommendations for each condition. Keep in mind that medication is a personal choice you make with your health provider. The tips we provide can be in addition to or in lieu of medication, whichever is best for you.
Heartburn and Reflux:
One of the most common GI ailments, heartburn is a burning sensation from the stomach up into the chest. You may experience a sour taste in your mouth, or possibly have small pieces of undigested food travel back to your mouth. Frequent heartburn can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease, otherwise known as GERD. If GERD continues to go untreated, it can damage the esophageal lining. In some instances, damage can occur to the muscle that separates the stomach and esophagus, leading to frequent regurgitation. Suggestions for treating GERD include:
- Chew each bite of food 15 times before swallowing.
- Eat smaller amounts of food more frequently throughout the day. A rule of thumb is to eat every 3 to 4 hours.
- Don’t lay down or exercise for at least 30 minutes after eating.
- If you are experiencing GERD at night, raise the head of your bed to prevent backflow from your stomach.
Many people tend to worry about how often they have bowel movements, and a huge laxative market has grown up around this symptom. (We can’t stress enough that laxatives can be damaging to your system and can actually increase constipation.) “Normal” is different for everyone, and as long as you don’t experience bloating, pain, or have to strain when you have a bowel movement, you are probably on a just right schedule for yourself. Suggestions for constipation include:
- Drink plenty of water to keep your digestive system lubricated. The suggested amount is half or your body weight in ounces.
- Increase fiber intake. Fiber promotes digestion and keeps stool softer, making it easier to pass.
- Physical activity stimulates the muscles of the intestines, which helps lead to bowel health.
- Give yourself the time you need in the bathroom. Straining or rushing a bowel movement can cause hemorrhoids or anal fissures.
- If you are still having difficulty, try dandelion root, dried plums or prunes, or psyllium.
- Supplements can also help and we sell these in the product section of this site. Blue Heron, Medibulk or Fiber Fusion are a few that are used with Dr Donahue’s patients at Cura’ Naturale Therapeutic Healing.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
IBS is a collection of GI symptoms, not an actual disease. It is often diagnosed when someone has had ongoing abdominal symptoms that cannot be traced to another known cause. Symptoms include bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and a sensation of incomplete bowel movements. Some people believe IBS has both a physical and emotional component, and can be triggered by stress. Stress stimulates colon spasms, and can increase symptoms of IBS. Suggestions to reduce these symptoms include:
- Reduce fat and processed sugar intake.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine.
- Increase intake of fiber.
- Use relaxation techniques to help alleviate stress.
- Talk with people you trust about any stress you experience.
As you have been learning, your digestive system has quite a few responsibilities. When something is off, the symptoms can be uncomfortable, and can impact your overall health and sense of wellbeing. Being concerned about these issues may increase stress, which in turn, can increase the symptoms. The good news is you can get off that wheel and make healthful changes in your life that will not only help your digestive system, but will add to your efforts toward self-care and long term health.