Common Digestive Problems

If you have ever experienced stomach issues, you know how uncomfortable they can make you feel. Here are five common digestive problems with possible solutions to help you manage digestive discomfort.

  1. Constipation. There are several reasons why someone may experience constipation: medications, too little fluids in a diet, too much fat in a diet, or perhaps your body's normal rhythm is off kilter due to sickness or traveling. You can try and treat constipation yourself by increasing fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole-grain breads and cereals into your diet. Taking a brief walk may help. You may want to consult your doctor for additional solutions.
  2. Diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is caused when the walls of the colon weaken. The weakening of the colon walls may then bend, creating pockets: diverticula. When inflamed, infected, or if they burst, fecal bacteria gets released into the abdomen. Symptoms of diverticulosis include abdominal pain in the left abdomen, bloating, chills, constipation and diarrhea, and gassiness. If you suspect you may have diverticulosis, see your doctor, who may prescribe antibiotics, a liquid diet and rest. High fiber diets may keep diverticulosis at bay.
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS happens when intestinal muscles contract too quickly or too slowly. According to Mayo Clinic, it is not known what causes IBS, but abnormalities in your nervous system or colon may play a role, as well as abnormal serotonin levels. IBS symptoms include bloating, constipation, cramping, diarrhea, and gas. One way to fight IBS is to keep track of foods that seem to trigger attacks. Beans, broccoli, cauliflower, coleslaw, and foods that contain fructose all can bring on IBS. Foods high in fiber may help, as well as over the counter medications for constipation or diarrhea.

Reflux. In some peoples' bodies, the valve between the stomach and the esophagus does not work correctly, causing stomach acid to leak upward. This is known as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Symptoms include heartburn, a sour taste in your mouth, or coughing. Foods and drinks such as carbonated drinks, chocolate, coffee, spicy foods, tea, and tomatoes may trigger GERD, so it's a good idea to eliminate GERD food and drink triggers from your diet. It is also recommended to not eat within two hours of lying down. You may want to consult your doctor if GERD symptoms persist.