Digesting The Problem

Digesting The Problem

The digestive system is an intricate system that can be disrupted by disease, diet, or emotional stress. Learn what goes on and help your own body maintain a health digestive system.

Due to every individual’s schedule, especially the working adults, irregular meals or even skipped meals often result in indigestion and digestive problems. Rather than dismiss it as another parcel of a career person, it is better to be more aware of the symptoms and problems improper dietary habits and hectic lifestyle can cause.
Common digestive problems associated with modern-age diet and lifestyle include:

  • Indigestion: gas, bloating
  • Dyspepsia – which may present as “sensitive stomach”, or gastritis or even an peptic ulcer
  • Acid Reflux – Stomach acid splashes up from the stomach into the esophagus, resulting in the “heartburn” feeling you might feel. Severe or chronic acid reflux that can lead to complications, such as cancer.
  • Constipation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

These can often result in symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, and stomach cramps. Most of these symptoms are harmless but the more serious one may drastically affect your
quality of life. These digestive problems can result in complications that can pose a big inconvenience for those who are experiencing them. That is why digestive problems should be properly investigated by the doctor and treated.

You should consult your doctor if you:

  • have indigestion problems that have persisted for more than two weeks
  • over 40 years old
  • having nausea or vomiting
  • loss of appetite or weight loss
  • change of the bowel habit and stool color to black or having a blood in the stool
  • have a family history of gastric or colon cancer
  • feeling tired and having a low blood cells (anemia)
  • drink or smoke heavily
  • take aspirin or pain killers containing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication regularly

Treatments

After thorough examination by the doctor and completion of the necessary tests, doctor will advice you on the most suitable diet and lifestyle modification and on further treatment. Indigestion  without any evidence of abnormal findings during the investigations like gastroscopy and colonoscopy can be treated as “sensitive stomach” and sensitive bowel”. These conditions require changes in the diet and the lifestyle and medication will be prescribed by the doctor to ease the symptoms of indigestion and bloating.
Medicine may be prescribed, ranging from antacids to more powerful medication to reduce gastric acid secretion, or a course of antibiotics to treat bacteria if it was found in your stomach. Other appropriate treatment will be discussed after the doctor examine you and complete the necessary tests.

If the results of the test are normal, general advice, an explanation of the symptoms and reassurance will be offered. Advice will be given if there are factors in your lifestyle which may be contributing to the difficulties. However, it is important to understand that in some people, especially those where no obvious cause is found (functional dyspepsia), symptoms may recur intermittently over the course of time and they may require medication during these episodes of exacerbation.

 

Published in This Quarterly 2010

 

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