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Tips for Dealing With Digestive Problems

Chronic digestive problems can be caused by infection, stress, bacteria in food and medications. But the bottom line is if you suffer from upset stomach, gas and sudden attacks of diarrhea, if you feel like your entire life is scheduled around the proximity of bathrooms, it’s time to have a doctor evaluate you and recommend a course of treatment to help you reduce or get rid of the problem.

What You Eat

Keep a daily journal that lists the food, beverages and medications you take every day and record any reaction you notice. If you’re like most people, it won’t take long to hone in on the culprits. Some of the most common triggers are spicy foods, fried foods, beans, dairy products, coffee and citrus fruits.

How You Eat

Make sure you are eating a balanced diet. Focus on making your portions smaller, and eat five or six small meals daily instead of eating three big meals a day, which can cause cramping and bowel contractions. Increase fiber intake, but start slowly and build up because too much fiber can actually cause digestive issues.

Managing Stress

To help manage the anxiety and stress that contribute to digestive problems, try meditation or tai chi, gardening, walking and deep breathing. If there’s a situation that you are having real trouble with, talk to a therapist.

Prevention Magazine explains, “When the brain detects any kind of threat—whether an impending layoff or a dustup with your spouse—it shoots stress hormones to your gut. Sensory nerves there respond by adjusting acid secretion and shutting down both appetite and digestion—a throwback to more dangerous times in our past. . . The result may be a nagging stomachache or a full-blown bout of GI distress.”

Stay Hydrated

We all know water is good for us, and staying hydrated is necessary for all parts of your system including normal bowel function. Diarrhea can dehydrate the body badly, so if you are struck with a bout, be sure to replenish your body with water or sports drinks with electrolytes. Avoid caffeine and alcohol; if you are traveling, use bottled water only for drinking and brushing your teeth and try to avoid raw vegetables and fruit which has been rinsed in tap water and tea or coffee that has been made with it.

Be Prepared

Reduce your anxiety by being prepared for an emergency. Pack small travel bags with stomach soothing medication, wipes, extra underwear, and plastic bags for disposal. Keep one at home, one in the car, one at work or school, etc.

Digestive problems are more common than you may think, so if your life is being ruled by your digestive tract, it might be time to make an appointment with one of the gastroenterologists at GI North in Cumming, GA. GI North serves all of northern Georgia including Alpharetta, Suwanee, Roswell, Canton and beyond and specializes in diagnosing and treating digestive issues using the latest technological advances and treatment. Dr. Simon Cofrancesco, Dr. Sergio Quijano (who is fluent in Spanish) and the staff at GI North bring care, respect and a wealth of knowledge to these difficult problems.

© 2016 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

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