To say that you have a problem with your gut seems to have some sort of stigma attached to it. Most people feel embarrassed to say it out that they are bloated or have hemorrhoids.
But gastrointestinal conditions are more common than you imagine. That’s a given considering the kind of lifestyle that’s prevalent these days, isn’t it?
Stressful work hours, junk food, lack of activity, lifestyle habits, what’s from stopping the most delicate body system from going bonkers?
Today, we take a look at some of the most common gut related problems that people face.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD or Gastrointestinal reflux disease is one of the commonest conditions in the world. It occurs when stomach acids begin to move into your esophagus causing severe discomfort. The condition is often mistaken to be a heart attack because the acid can cause a sharp pain in the chest. The chances of this happening increase manifold after a meal or at night.
In most cases, OTC medications might provide temporary relief. But if you are having persistent GERD more than twice a week, then it might warrant a visit to the doctor.
Gallstones are formed in the gall bladder when the level of cholesterol in your gut increases. The bladder is unable to empty the bile stored in it which forms hard deposits that cause acute pain in the abdominal area. The stones may block the valves that connect the gallbladder to the intestines and may need to be removed surgically. In mild cases, medication is sufficient to dissolve the stones.
Caused by sensitivity to Gluten, a protein that is found in wheat, barley and some other grains, Celiac disease is one of the most severe forms of gastrointestinal disorders. The condition can affect the villi in the small intestines which aid in the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. Without the villi functioning normally, the person becomes nutrient deficient. Some of the symptoms of the disease in children include bloating, constipation, weight fluctuation and vomiting. In adults the symptoms can be more severe and include depression, constant fatigue, bone loss and even epileptic seizures.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS affects almost 15 percent of the global population and it can cause a whole range of annoying and debilitating symptoms. There can be bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea and sharp abdominal pain that precedes or follows bowel movement. You may find it impossible to pass stools one day and have extremely watery stools the next day. It is almost impossible to narrow down on the symptoms of IBS. Most doctors prescribe dietary modifications like avoiding FODMAP foods and using probiotics to help relieve the condition.
Dark or tarry stool usually indicates blood and it might require a complete inspection of your abdominal lining. However, if you are seeing red blood, then it might indicate that you have a hemorrhoid. Hemorrhoids are caused when blood vessels near the anal opening get severely inflamed. They can be extremely painful, itchy and cause constant discomfort. In extreme cases, they can bleed and get infected, requiring surgical intervention.
Digestive disorders often don’t get the attention they deserve. A slight discomfort in the belly is commonplace after all. Most people just shrug and get on with their lives.
Others pop a Pepcid and go to work.
The fact is that digestive disorders are one of the most debilitating conditions that must not be ignored. And your frequent pill popping might be damaging the internal lining of the stomach.
So, the next time you feel uncomfortable or bloated, head straight to your kitchen instead of a medicine closet. Here are a few pantry items that might help relieve your abdominal discomfort without causing nasty side effects.
- Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is naturally anti-inflammatory and might even be anti-spasmodic in nature. Moreover, it promotes good sleep and there’s nothing like some rest to give your body time to heal. From heart burn to stomach cramps, this is one of the best remedies that you can try. Avoid adding sugar. You can add honey instead.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar does a lot more to your body than burn fat and give you glowing skin. It is an excellent digestive and when diluted with water, can be a magic bullet to most stomach discomfort problems. However, if you are suffering from heartburn, then this might aggravate it. Some of our other remedies might be better for you.
There’s no wonder that the Ginger root is touted to be a superfood. This powerful root is crammed with anti-spasmodic, carminative and anti-flatulence properties that can do wonders to soothe an upset stomach. It can stimulate the release of your natural digestive juices and also helps to prevent bloating and gas. Hate popping antibiotic pills? Ginger might be the best natural antibiotic you need.
Coriander is widely used and enjoyed by many people in India. Coriander has known digestive properties and can help cure the symptoms of indigestion. It helps settle the stomach and get you relief from inflammation and burning sensations usually caused by indigestion and gas. Consider adding roasted coriander seeds in a glass of buttermilk or a teaspoonful of dried coriander leaves in boiling water.
Here are a few more reasons for you to have pumpkin that has nothing to do with its taste. The powerful antioxidants in Pumpkin can soothe your stomach lining. It is anti-flatulent and helps to relieve gas. Also, it is crammed with fiber and potassium which can help relieve constipation.
Garlic, the humble bulb that’s a mainstay of most kitchen recipes is a treasure trove of goodness. It is antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, has expectorant properties and is beneficial to your health in ways that you wouldn’t believe. Just crush a bulb and pop it into your mouth for instant relief from heartburn and gas. You’ll probably need a mouth freshener later. Use our next recommendation, peppermint to refresh your breath.
Who doesn’t like the taste of peppermint? This refreshing natural remedy is loaded with menthol oil and has anti-spasmodic properties that relieve cramped stomach muscles. It is anti-flatulent and will also help in regulating your bladder movement.
It is estimated that almost 15% of the world’s population is affected by IBS. Characterized by a noticeable change in bowel movements or mild to severe abdominal pain, IBS can wreak havoc with your ability to live and function normally.
And it has so many triggers that it becomes extremely difficult to find the exact cause behind it.
Most people miss the symptoms or mix it up with common stomach problems like flatulence or bloating until the condition has aggravated greatly.
Today, we take a look at some of the most common IBS symptoms that you must not ignore.
One of the commonest symptoms of IBS is acute pain in the lower abdomen. The pain might be sporadic or consistent. It might increase before a bowel movement and subside after it. IBS interferes with the ability of the gut-friendly bacteria to signal to the brain to begin the digestive process which causes the pain. However, abdominal pain is also common with many other conditions. You might just have had a bad batch of street food for example. So, never ignore stomach pain, especially if you are experiencing frequent bouts of it.
Almost one-third of the patients with IBS suffer from an extreme form of diarrhea that can occur suddenly. A lot of them stop socializing for the fear of an uncontrollable urge to pass stools. The stools may be watery and some people can have more than 15 to 20 bowel movements in a week. Not only does frequent diarrhea cause excessive stress, it also tends to dehydrate the body. Have frequent watery stools? It might warrant a trip to the gastroenterologist.
The same interrupted signals between the gut-friendly bacteria and the brain can slow down the passage of stool in the intestines. More the time the tool is present in the bowel, more the water absorbed from it causing it to be harder. This increases the difficulty in passing it. If you are passing stool less than thrice a week, you might be suffering from IBS related constipation.
Constipation followed by diarrhea
This is another IBS symptom that’s extremely difficult to spot. You may be constipated for a week and then have diarrhea in the next week with bouts of intense abdominal pain in between. Most people attribute the diarrhea as a bodily response to the intense constipation that occurred the week before and ignore it. However, because this type of IBS is rare, it needs a very personalized approach to treatment.
Gas and Bloating
Because of the many changes that the digestive system undergoes, IBS can increase flatulence and the bloating that occurs due to it. It can cause severe discomfort and this is one of the commonest symptoms that is almost synonymous with IBS. The best home remedy to relieve the problem is to avoid FODMAP foods and if possible, diary products because lactose is considered to be the main trigger for this type of IBS.