Good digestion is indispensable to good health! We eat to nourish our bodies. For healthy digestion, each part of the digestive tract must work well.
Without sufficient breakdown of foods, nutrients needed by our cells are simply not available, so the cells cannot do their jobs properly.
When the body is forced to work too hard to digest food, energy is sapped. Poorly digested food becomes toxic to the body, stresses the liver and the immune system, and inevitably causes health problems.
Many people have digestive problems. Burping, heartburn, bloating, nausea, cramps, gas, constipation and diarrhea are some of the symptoms that may occur.
Also known as reflux esophagitis, heartburn occurs when gastric juices back up into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation going upward. It is usually part of a larger set of symptoms known as dyspepsia or indigestion. The medical name for frequent heartburn is gastro esophageal reflux syndrome (GERD).
Indigestion is common, but not usually serious unless other symptoms are also present. Eating too fast or too much, or eating particular foods, wines or carbonated beverages, can cause indigestion. Caffeine, spicy, fatty or even high fiber foods aggravate symptoms for some. Anxiety or depression can also make indigestion worse.
Certain forms of indigestion may be symptomatic of a bowel disease, such as nonulcer dyspepsia.
Hypochlorhydria is a lack of stomach acid. An acid environment is needed in the stomach, to kill harmful organisms in food and to break down dietary proteins. Several serious health conditions are associated with lack of stomach acid. Exhausted adrenal glands, food allergies, autoimmune diseases, anemia, childhood asthma, gallbladder disease, osteoporosis, irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid problems, skin conditions and vertigo are all related to insufficient stomach acid.
Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. It can occur at any age, but is more common in people over 60, in those who drink excessive alcohol, in smokers and in regular users of NSAID’s.
Gastritis can occur during viral, bacterial and fungal infections, in those with a poor immune system. People who have Crohn’s disease may also experience gastritis.
Acute gastritis can result from accidentally swallowing caustic chemicals. It can also develop from the long-term use of drugs which irritate the mucosal lining and from high doses of radiation.
This is an inflammation of the mucous lining of the digestive tract. It can be caused by a virus, such as Rotavirus or Norwalk, that affects the small intestine. It can also be caused by bacteria which attack the large intestine, such as salmonella, staphylococcus, clostridium botulism, shigella, Campy-lobacter jejuni, E. Coli or yersinia.
Eating contaminated or undercooked food is a common cause of gastroenteritis. Contact with infected animals, food allergies or intolerances can also cause this type of inflammation.
This is a chronic inflammatory disease of the colon and rectum, involving cramps in the lower abdomen and diarrhea. It usually starts in the rectum and may eventually spread through the entire large intestine.
Diarrhea may occur periodically or very frequently every day.
Blood and mucus may be noticeable. Abdominal pain and cramps usually subside after a bowel movement. Abdominal sounds, foul-smelling stools, fever, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, a constant urge to eliminate and jaundice are other possible symptoms.
This occurs when stools are difficult to eliminate. Bloating, nausea, cramps and rectal pain may be present. Hemorrhoids or even a slight tearing of anal tissue may be caused by straining to pass hard, dry stools.
Diarrhea may be a mild temporary situation. However, it may also be an early indicator of a serious underlying infectious disease.
Chronic diarrhea can cause dehydration and malnutrition. If diarrhea lasts more than three days, is severe and bloody, or occurs in a child younger than six years old, it should be taken seriously. Its cause must be determined and properly treated.
WHAT’S EATING YOU?
If you suffer from digestive difficulties, I encourage you to take action to correct these problems. Do not wait until your symptoms become extreme, or until the consequences of faulty digestion spill over into your general health. There are several natural supplements and homeopathic remedies that can support and strengthen your digestion. To start your personalized health program, call me today. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can feel better!
Your Personal Invitation: Come and meet Dr. Gail at the first ever Yorkton Mature Lifestyles Expo located at the Flexi-hall of the Gallagher Centre on Tuesday, May 22nd , Noon – 8 p.m., and Wednesday, May 23rd, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Iridology will be offered as a Show Special!
Dr. Gail Smolinski, Doctor of Natural Medicine®, has her Doctor of Naturopathy degree and is Board Certified in Traditional Naturopathy and in Nutritional Wellness.
She is a Certified Low Intensity Laser Therapist, Master Herbalist, Registered Nutritional Consultant, Professional Homeopath and Holistic Iridologist.
Dr. Gail offers Low Intensity Laser Therapy, health consultations, bio-energetic therapies, detoxification footbaths and a wide variety of professional health products at her natural health clinic. You may contact her at 306-783-1261 on weekdays from 9 to 5 or visit her website at www.drgail.ca
This column is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.
It provides general information about health and nutrition. It is run bi-weekly, space permitting.