The five most common gut issues and how to treat them

What is your gut telling you?

gut health, issues, indigestions, IBS, Lactose intolerance The food we eat is either our destroyer or our nurturer. A human body’s essential fuel is what contributes to wellbeing, or the development of diseases. Being on the frontline of the food’s direct impact, our digestive system is easily irritated or healed by what we consume. More often than not, with the common modern diet, our gut health is disturbed by the impact of the highly processed foods that do not deliver sufficient nutrients to support the optimal health of the gut and body.

The digestive system is first to suffer, with myriads of problems to follow. Moreover, if the gut is not in an optimal state to process the food and deliver nutrients, all other organs suffer from malnourishment. Additionally, the liver, the organ that is in charge of eliminating the toxins gets overwhelmed and starts to slowly deteriorate. 

As gut problems are most commonly a result of imbalance of the digestive system, it is of utmost importance for the gut and overall health to practice a healthy diet and regularly perform liver detoxification.

Prolonged imbalance caused by poor diet and additional impacts can result in serious gut health problems. So, if you experience stomach issues often, you should visit your doctor or a specialist. To help you recognise your condition, here we discuss the five most common gut issues and how to effectively deal with them.

1. Acid reflux

When you have that burning feeling above your stomach, in the lower chest area, it’s probably acid reflux. It usually happens after eating something sour or something that has upset your stomach. It’s a result of the stomach acid flowing back to your food pipe. That’s what causes the burning feeling and the sour taste in your mouth. While having reflux once to twice a week may be considered normal, if you happen to experience it more than twice a week, it may be a sign of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). 

Acid reflux is treated with medications that reduce the acid level. Some of them are Prevacid, Protonix, and Zantac. There is another option – laparoscopic surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon tightens a loose muscle between the esophagus and the stomach to prevent the backflow of acid.

 2. Constipation

Constipation is one of the most common gut issues in people. It’s related to many digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, as well as general medical conditions, such as fever. Certain foods and medication can also cause constipation.

Most people use laxatives and natural products with laxative properties, such as dried plums. However, laxatives can cause gut dependence, intestinal rhythmical contractions, and drug ineffectiveness. They can also cause low abdominal pain and discomfort. Instead, you should make some changes in your life, such as incorporating a great portion of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Healthy foods are rich in nutrients as well as prebiotics, so they can help regulate your bowel movement. You should also hydrate properly, by drinking 2-3 litres of water per day.

3. Gallstones

Gallstones are very small stones made of cholesterol and bile salts deposits. Although small, they can block the bile duct and cause abdominal pain. They can also cause infection or inflammation of the liver, pancreas, or gallbladder. This usually happens when the gallstones get stuck while moving out of the gallbladder because they block the flow of bile. It results in pain in the upper abdomen, under the right shoulder blade or between the shoulder blades. If you feel any of this pain, you should head to the hospital where you will get an ultrasound test to see the situation in your digestive system. 

Although doctors are familiar with how gallstones are formed, there’s no information on what exactly causes them to develop. Nonetheless, there are some health conditions that are related to forming gallstones. Obesity is one of the factors that can cause them due to excess fat and lack of fiber. Recent fluctuation in weight gain and loss may be  another factor for developing gallstones. Also, pregnancy and birth control pills can cause gallstones. While there are no particular medicines for treating gallstones, there’s a surgery taht can remove the gallbladder.

4. Inflammatory bowel disease

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are two inflammatory bowel diseases. Their symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. Some even experience weight loss, rectal bleeding, and anemia. They can be caused by an unpredictable immune system that makes the body attack the gastrointestinal tract.

Ulcerative colitis affects only the colon and rectum, causing ulcers. The main symptoms include bleeding and pus. Crohn’s disease, on the other hand, affects the digestive system, causing ulcers deep into the tissue lining along the gastrointestinal tract. This thickens the intestinal wall and causes infection and blockages that have to be removed surgically.

Both conditions are treated with certain anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and immunosuppressants. Sometimes, patients are also given antibiotics and undergo surgery, if needed. After treating them, patients have to go on regular checkups to make sure everything is ok.

5. Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance has become a very common condition in the last decade. It is a result of missing the enzyme needed to digest the sugar in milk. The symptoms include bloating, cramps, gasses, diarrhea and nausea, and appear 30 minutes to two hours after eating or drinking dairy products.

Lactose intolerance is determined by doing a breath test that detects increased hydrogen levels, a blood test that is done after drinking a beverage containing lactose, and a stool acidity test.

When it comes to treatment, it usually involves taking over-the-counter pills that replace the missing enzyme and following a lactose-free diet.

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