Many people suffer from digestive problems but because of their nature, it’s not a subject typically brought up during friendly conversation. However, this leaves many of us suffering without much knowledge on what is happening and ways to combat the problems.
Being a supplement company, we get many questions about digestive disorders. I’ve collected 8 of the most common digestive disorders and pulled together helpful information so you know what to expect or how to combat these issues 1.
In a Swedish study, 6 percent of people reported having symptoms of reflux – such as heartburn – daily and 14 percent had them at least weekly. If you have frequent symptoms like this you may have GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease. Along with pain, GERD can harm the esophagus over time so it’s important to pay attention to how often you experience reflux symptoms.
According to Michael Gold, a gastroenterologist in Washington, D.C. heartburn involves a “hot or burning feeling rising up from the center of the abdomen area and into the chest under the breastbone or sternum.” Heartburn typically occurs as a result of: pregnancy, certain medications, consuming alcohol or certain foods.
If you are experiencing symptoms of reflux, be sure to pay attention to how frequent it occurs – if you feel it’s more than average, be sure to speak with your physician.
If you have a stomach pain and can’t figure out what it is, there’s a chance you could be experiencing an ulcer. A peptic ulcer is an open sore that develops on the inside lining of your esophagus, stomach or the upper portion of your small intestine 2. Many people reach for a pain killer when the pain starts but one of the worst things you can do for an ulcer is to take aspirin.
It is estimated that 25 million Americans will get an ulcer at some point in their life. The most common symptom is a burning stomach pain. The pain typically starts between meals or during the night, briefly stops if you eat or take an antacid, lasts anywhere from a few minutes to hours and comes and goes for several days or weeks 3.
A common misconception is that spicy foods and stress can cause ulcers, but that is not the case. The most common cause is an infection with a bacterium within the stomach, esophagus and small intestine. Left untreated, ulcers can cause internal bleeding and lead to serious injury.
If you are lactose intolerant your body does not produce enough lactase enzymes which help digest lactose – a sugar found in milk and various milk products. It’s typically produced by cells that line the small intestine and break down lactose so it can be absorbed by the blood. 30 to 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant 4.
Although symptoms can vary from person to person, the most common symptoms include:
Symptoms typically begin 30 minutes to two hours after consuming food and/or beverages containing lactose. There is no treatment to increase the production of lactase however you can take lactase enzymes to help offset the symptoms. You should speak with your doctor if you feel you may be lactose intolerant to discuss how best to handle it.
Constipation certainly isn’t a topic many people like to discuss with others, but it’s important to pay attention to. You’re supposed to have one to three daily bowel movements but someone people report only having that many in one week 5!
Fecal material and toxins that stay in your small intestines can contribute to other diseases. It is in the best interest of your health to move fecal material as quickly as possible. Of course you don’t want to need to use the restroom every few minutes but it should be on a regular basis.
Many people who are continually constipated lack fiber, exercise and/or proper hydration. If you find yourself being continually constipated, evaluate your diet and exercise regimen and see if you can add anything in to help.
There are many over-the-counter remedies that people try, but it’s important to get yourself on a regular schedule instead of always relying on a laxative. If you can’t seem to find a solution, be sure to talk to your physician for some help.
Although digestive issues may not be the most comfortable topic to discuss, it’s important that you realize what is normal and what you should be concerned about. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your digestive health, it’s important that you speak with a doctor. Trust me, your digestive issues are hardly the worst they’ve heard!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information provided in this blog is intended for general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. If you have any questions regarding a medical condition, seek the advice of your physician or a qualified health care provider.