Tips on Tummy troubles

I was once having bad tummy troubles before. Ever since, I am very careful of food taking. There are few signs that you are having troubles with your tummy! Lets have a look on it. Whenever you feel Heartburn? Constipation? Is shows that you are IN….

When your digestive system is out of whack, you don’t have to suffer. Here are simple tips for squelching 4 common digestive disorders.

Bad food can cause a digestive upset. It lead you to be in the chronic conditions such as celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC).

But no matter what the cause, you can ease an assault on your gastric system. Here are 4 common digestive problems and ways to tackle them:

1. Constipation
Do you have fewer than three bowel movements a week? You’re officially constipated and you have plenty of company: More than 4 million Americans – mostly women and the elderly – are frequently constipated, according to the National Institutes of Health, and that can lead to bigger problems.

Constant straining can cause painful hemorrhoids and, over time, it raises the risk of developing tiny pouches in your colon that can become infected. Constipation can also be a sign of colon or colorectal cancer, but your age, weight, exercise habits, diet, ethnic background and genetics all play a part in determining your risk.

Medications and supplements that may make constipation worse:

  • Allergy pills (antihistamines)
  • Painkillers that contain hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Parkinson’s medications
  • Cholesterol-reducing drugs (statins)
  • Iron and calcium supplements

How to fix it ?
To get things moving down there, first try small lifestyle changes.

Eat more high-fiber foods, such as oatmeal, apples or prunes. Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water and get at least a half-hour of exercise every day.

Another option? Take probiotic supplements: The live bacteria will reestablish a healthy ecosystem in your gut.

If you’re still straining or not going at all, try an over-the-counter laxative. These two remedies may help:

Stool softeners (bisacodyl; brand name Dulcolax®): Within hours, this popular over-the-counter drug softens waste and stimulates your colon’s muscles to contract and squeeze out its contents.

The tablets must be swallowed whole — don’t crush or chew them because they’re specially coated to minimize gastric irritation and allow the drug’s active ingredient to be released only in the colon. If swallowing pills is troublesome, buy the liquid version or suppositories.

How to use it: Take bisacodyl with an 8-ounce glass of water.

Watch out: Some people feel faint or crampy after using bisacodyl tablets or suppositories. This is more likely if you take antacids, acid blockers or eat dairy products within one hour of taking it; they reduce stomach acidity and prematurely destroy the medication’s coating, causing the side effects.

Aloe vera (brand name Lily of the Desert): Most people use aloe vera gel to heal burns, but you can also buy the juice. Drink 2-4 ounces a day. Expect more normal bowel movements within a couple of days. It prevents your intestines from absorbing liquid, so feces stay soft and exit easier.

How to use it: Aloe vera juice is virtually tasteless, so drink it plain or add it to tea, smoothies, juice or cereal. It’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Watch out: Drinking too much can cause diarrhea or cramps.

If these don’t work, ask your doctor for a prescription-strength laxative.


2. Painful cramps and chronic diarrhea
These symptoms point to many digestive disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, (an inflammatory condition that produces sores in the lining of the colon) and Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease similar to UC.

Chronic diarrhea is dehydrating and robs the body of essential nutrients like B-vitamins and minerals, leaving you weak, tired and without appetite.

Medications and supplements that make cramps and diarrhea worse:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-viral drugs
  • Anti-parasitic drugs
  • Potassium
  • Cough syrups, especially those containing guaifenesin (an expectorant)
  • Magnesium
  • Thyroid medication
  • Antacids containing aluminum
  • Acid blockers

How to fix it
Probiotics (Culturelle or florastor): These probiotic supplements can drive out bad bacteria and fungus, such as Candida albicans, a common cause for diarrhea, cramps and other illnesses like IBS. You can take one or both together.

In fact, whether you have diarrhea or not, take a probiotic daily to boost your overall digestive health.

How to use it: Take probiotics whenever you take antibiotics (and for three days afterward) to reduce the risk of a vaginal yeast infection. You can buy them at health food stores.

Watch out: Eating yogurt or kefir — a fermented milk drink available in some health food stores — isn’t a good idea for people with digestive disorders. For one thing, probiotics die in sweetened yogurt. But most important: A protein in dairy foods called casein can exacerbate existing digestive woes.

Ginger: The gnarly-looking roots at your farmer’s market or grocery store are Mother Nature’s best defense against digestive pain, cramps (including menstrual cramps), nausea and inflammation.

How to use it: Grate an inch of the root into pulp and add it to hot water. After 10 minutes, strain and sweeten the tea, if you like. Drink a cup twice daily. Add ginger to smoothies, soups, marinades and sauces.

Watch out: The maximum recommended dose is 4 grams daily. Ginger is a blood-thinner, so if you take aspirin or anticoagulants, talk to your doctor before using it.

Peppermint oil: The herb and essential oil calm the GI tract and may have antibiotic effects. It helps with IBS, indigestion, bloating and gas. It calms stomach muscles, so food passes to the bowel and helps you pass gas. It also improves bile flow, essential to digestion and fat absorption.

How to use it: Try peppermint tea, supplements, add fresh leaves to your salad and smoothies or just eat them raw.

Watch out: Peppermint supplements may exacerbate conditions like reflux (the backup of liquids from your stomach into your esophagus) and heartburn, the burning caused from reflux. Buy supplements with an enteric coating, which prevents them from dissolving until they reach the small intestine.


3. Hemorrhoids [Buasir in Malay]
Chronic constipation, IBS and other digestive disorders can lead to problems outside the gut, including hemorrhoids (swollen, painful veins in and around the anus).

Medications and supplements that may make hemorrhoids worse:

  • Allergy pills (antihistamines)
  • Painkillers that contain hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Parkinson’s medication
  • Cholesterol-reducing drugs (statins)
  • Iron or calcium supplements
  • Conventional medicine’s answer is often surgery, but first try these non-invasive steps.

How to fix it
Ice packs: Put them on your anus for 15 or 20 minutes – no longer – to relieve inflammation.

Stool softeners (Docusate sodium; brand name Colace): This stool softener is essential for people with a heart condition or “vagus nerve” disorder because straining can be dangerous for them. Stool softeners make it easier for you to pass bowel movements, so there’s less pressure on touchy nerve endings and sensitive hemorrhoids.

How to use it: Drink lots of water! It makes the drug work better and prevents dehydration, which causes constipation and more hemorrhoids.

Watch out: Side effects include stomach pain, mild cramping and diarrhea.

Silica: Found in seafood, seaweed and horsetail (whose leaves look like a horse’s tail), this crystalline mineral strengthens the delicate blood vessels around the anus.

How to use it: Squirt silica solution on a cotton pad and press it to your rectum to soothe the burn or take horsetail supplements.

Watch out: When you buy horsetail, make sure the ingredient label says Equisetum arvense and organic to ensure that it’s pesticide-free.

If you take too much silica or use an inferior brand, you may get mild digestive upset. The herb also has mild diuretic effects, so long-term use could deplete your body of potassium and other important minerals.


4. Heartburn
Mild, occasional heartburn is the result of reflux, the backup of acidic liquids from your stomach into your esophagus.

If heartburn and reflux accompany other chronic digestive disorders, you may be allergic to gluten, a protein in wheat, or the milk protein casein. See a GI specialist before taking any drugs or supplements.

Medications and supplements that may make heartburn worse:

  • Bone-building drugs (brand names: Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel)
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Nitrates (like nitroglycerin) for the heart
  • Breathing medications (theophylline)
  • Asthma inhalers (albuterol)
  • Some antidepressants and psychiatric medications
  • Some sleeping pills

How to fix it
Antacids (Maalox and Tums): These work within minutes to relieve the burning sensation in your chest and throat.

But those symptoms could also mean something more serious, such as a heart attack. If the pain does not subside quickly after taking an antacid, call 911.

How to use it: Take them orally, in chewable, liquid or tablet form, according to package directions.

Watch out: People with kidney conditions should use antacids only under a doctor’s care. Long-term use can rob your body of B-vitamins and minerals.

DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice): Found in health-food stores, this natural supplement comes from licorice, but eating the candy won’t help. DGL’s active component is glycyrrhizinic acid, an anti-inflammatory that helps create digestive mucous and relieves ulcers, indigestion, heartburn, gastritis and upset stomach.

How to use it: Chew a tablet before meals. DGL can help bring up mucus and other material if you have a cough or cold.

Watch out: Get the version marked deglycyrrhizinated. Plain licorice root extract can raise your blood pressure; DGL may lower it or thin the blood.

By Suzy Cohen, R.Ph., Lifescript Pharmacist
Published September 3, 2010


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