With most of us confined to our homes owing to the lockdown, experiencing digestive problems such as heartburn, acidity, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and even gastroenteritis can be common. But do not worry as we have a fool-proof plan to help you tackle these digestive ailments. All you have to do is follow these simple tips to maintain a healthy digestive system, advises Dr Roy Patankar, leading gastroenterologist and director of Zen Hospital.
Types of digestive problems that people may encounter:
Acid reflux happens when one’s lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn’t function properly. The LES can be described as a ring of muscles between one’s stomach and the esophagus. During the normal digestion process, it tends to open up to let food pass into the stomach, and closes to keep stomach acid out of the esophagus. But, if the LES is weak or relaxes, then acid can flow back into the esophagus causing irritation. Also, you must note that heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. When acid makes its way into one’s esophagus, the cell lining becomes irritated and pains. But remember that not all acid reflux may lead to heartburn.
Heartburn is only one symptom of acid reflux. Other symptoms of acid reflux are abdominal pain, sore throat, bloating, upset stomach, nausea, difficulty in swallowing and an acidic taste in the back of the throat.
GERD tends to occur when one’s stomach acid flows back into the tube connecting the mouth and stomach (esophagus). This may irritate the lining of the esophagus. One may exhibit symptoms such as difficulty in swallowing, chest pain, a sensation of a lump in the throat, chronic cough, lack of sleep, sour taste in the mouth and heartburn. Now, since people are at home they tend to compromise with their eating habits or sleep schedule, which could lead to the condition.
This occurs when one has frequent or loose bowel motions. It is caused owing to bacteria in food, infection, stress and certain medications, at times. The symptoms are abdominal pain, cramping, an urgency to go to the washroom, vomiting and tiredness.
Owing to sedentary lifestyle and faulty eating habits, one may suffer from constipation. Constipation can be described as having fewer bowel movements a week. The symptoms are passing hard stools, straining to have bowel movements or the inability to pass stools.
They are swollen veins in the lower part of the anus and rectum. When the walls of these vessels are stretched, they become irritated and even bleed. Thus, it it extremely important to deal with the condition.
Know the triggers
Make a note of the foods and beverages that give you a tough time. Maintain a journal about what you eat and drink. Remember that the triggers will vary from person to person. Avoid self-medication and consult a doctor. Do not take your symptoms lightly.
Stick to a healthy and well-balanced diet
get rid of faulty eating habits; speak to your doctor regarding a proper diet plan. Portion control is the key, thus, avoid going overboard. Eat fibre-rich foods that can add bulk to your stools and regulate your digestion. Doing so will prevent gas, diarrhoea and bloating.
Adhere to healthy habits
Avoid lying down soon after eating, do not overeat, avoid mint, do not opt for large meals. Instead, eat small, frequent meals.
Bid adieu to spicy, acidic and citrus foods
Say no to alcohol and smoking, and maintain a good weight. Do not drink onion or tomato juice or even eat raw onion.
Avoid acidic foods, sugar, processed, oil and spicy foods
Avoid eating late at night. Limit your alcohol consumption and cut down on smoking. Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water. Exercise at home on a daily basis.
You must practice good hand hygiene
Wash your hands after visiting the loo and before eating food to prevent the transmission of bacteria. This can help in keeping diarrhoea at bay.
Stress can trigger your digestive problems
Opt for relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.