A Gut Feeling: Alternative Ways To Contend With A Variety Of Stomach Troubles
By Kurtis Bright
Instead Of Taking Harsh And Sometimes Dangerous Drugs, Try These Remedies First
We often hear the history of the human species told as the story of the development of our ridiculously big brains: why and when they developed, what effects they may have had on us and our ancestors, and what effects the environment may have had.
However there is another viewfinder for tracking the story of who and what we are, what we once were, and what we have become: our digestive tracts. We came from scavengers, pre-humans warily scuttling from the trees to crack open the long bones of antelope and other animals left behind by lions, eventually developing agriculture some 10,000 years ago, eventually creating the vast network of interconnected fields feeding seven billion of us today.
In other words, food has been on our minds for a long time.
Thus, if you think about how much time we spend eating, thinking about food, and developing ways to produce food, maybe we should take more time addressing some alternative ways to deal with digestive distress without resorting to powerful meds.
- Constipation - One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that about 15 percent of adults say they have bowel movements two or fewer times a week on average. Especially with an aging population, that number is only likely to climb, given that a common consequence of aging is more common constipation. But you can combat this by increasing the fiber you eat--women over 50 should be getting 21 grams a day, men that age 30 grams. But do go easy on laxatives, even over-the-counter ones. The stimulant-based ones like Correctol and Dulcolax can trigger dependency as well as diarrhea, dizziness and nausea.
- Heartburn - When stomach acid backs up into the esophagus we’re struck with that nasty feeling of heartburn, and this one also becomes more common as we age. Another common trigger for heartburn is weight gain. So immediately we can see that one way to help yourself is to drop a few pounds if you’re overweight. Other ways to prevent heartburn is quitting smoking and to try not to eat within two hours of bedtime. It is important too to identify the foods that cause you heartburn and cut down on them or eliminate them altogether. These can include fried foods, spicy food, alcohol, garlic and onions--these are all heartburn triggers, depending on the individual. If you feel you have no choice but to address heartburn with meds, try OTC antacids like Tums or Rolaids. Definitely avoid proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec and Nexium--they are proven to cause kidney disease and even bone fractures among other nasty side effects we are only now beginning to understand and identify, despite being widely prescribed pills.
- Gas - Burping is the result of taking in excess air as we eat, so for starters, slow down. You can reduce this effect by avoiding carbonated drinks. And if you notice foods like beans or broccoli causing gas at the other end, you can mitigate this effect by introducing such foods into your diet in small amounts to start with, which gives your body time to adjust. More water can help as well.