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Digestive issues after COVID-19: Watch out for these symptoms

While making recovery, include prebiotics and probiotics in your meals

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
June 17, 2021 9:10:49 am
Covid-19, Covid-19 symptoms, Covid-19 digestive issues, digestive problems seen in Covid-19 patients, Covid-19 and digestive issues in people, Covid-19 and healthy eating, indian express newsPrebiotics are present in fruits, vegetables and whole grains like oats, jowar etc. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

The Covid infection not only impacts the respiratory system but — in the second wave — it has also been found to affect other organs in the body, mainly the digestive system.

It has been seen that digestive issues after Covid recovery have become common, with problems of bloating, gaseousness, acidity, acid reflux, constipation, and exacerbation of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) seen in patients.

Dr Rakesh Patel, consultant gastroenterology, Fortis Hospital Kalyan and Rasika Parab, a clinical nutritionist at Fortis Mulund, warn that people need to take extra care, because the virus “disrupts the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract (GI) — along with the liver, pancreas, and gall bladder — and renders it unable to perform its duties of absorbing electrolytes and fluids from the body”.

“Patients can even end up with bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract or have blood clots in the blood vessels leading to ischemia (restricted/reduced bood flow) and gangrene,” they say.

Here are some symptoms that require you to check with your doctor to ensure timely treatment:

– Acid reflux
– Loss of appetite or increased appetite
– Abdominal bloating
– Upper abdominal pain
– Constipation
– Diarrhea
– Vomiting
– GI bleeding
– Intestinal inflammation

“GI symptoms also occur as viruses destroy or damage tissues, causing pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Research shows Covid may also change the gut microbiota, and once inside the GI tract, they can also travel through the portal vein — that drains blood from the digestive tract. This can allow them to impact the vagus nerve, causing a nauseous sensation,” the doctors explain.

This is what you need to do:

* Avoid taking nutraceuticals and immune booster medicines.
* Be careful about your diet, keep it simple.
* Avoid fast food and overeating.
* Be active and exercise regularly.

Dietary factors

1. Include prebiotics and probiotics in your meals. Probiotics are good bacteria that improve gut health. Curd or yoghurt is the best known probiotic. Prebiotics are the complex carbohydrates which are not digested by the body; they promote growth of good bacteria inside the gut. Prebiotics are present in fruits, vegetables and whole grains like oats, jowar etc.

2. Drinking 2-3 litres of water every day helps maintain good gut health. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps improve the immune health; it also has anti-inflammatory benefits that aid in post-Covid recovery. Flax seeds, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and seafood are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts and seafood are also sources of zinc and selenium, which are effective during recovery. Protein is the major component in a Covid recovery diet. Include milk, milk products, dal, pulses, legumes, soya, chicken, fish, eggs in your diet.

3. Regardless of the presence of comorbidities — like diabetes and hypertension — be extra cautious of using salt and sugar in your food.

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