Issues with digestion are fairly common, with approximately 40% of people having at least one digestive symptom at any given time. The problem with tackling these symptoms, is it is difficult to navigate through certain myths that surround digestion.
The following tips aim to help clear common misconceptions around digestion and offer steps that can be taken to help your body. Nevertheless, it is important to know that any issues that are causing concern should always be discussed with a qualified healthcare professional.
Water Isn’t Always the Answer
A standard “fix” for digestion problems is drinking large quantities of water. Although water is essential for overall health, it won’t help your bowel movements. Water is absorbed into your blood before it even reaches the large intestine, which is where any waste is excreted from.
It is still essential to drink plenty of water each day to maintain your health. However, you don’t need to drink excessive amounts to help digestion. There won’t be any real effect other than needing to urinate more.
Be Aware of Certain Medicines
Certain drugs can cause digestive issues. Blood pressure tablets, antibiotics, iron supplements, codeine, morphine and ibuprofen are common culprits. The best thing to do would be to avoid these medicines unless it is absolutely essential or prescribed by a doctor.
You Don’t Need to Increase Fibre Intake
People who suffer from IBS are often told to include more fibre in their diet. Fibre is a bulking agent and consuming a large amount can put undue pressure on the bowel.
Getting Your Five a Day
The amount of fresh fruit and vegetables you need to eat significantly depends on what digestive issues you are currently experiencing. The fibre that is present in the skin of fresh produce acts as a laxative. As a result, if you are experiencing constipation, eating more could help. In contrast, if you are experiencing diarrhoea, consuming less will reduce the effects.
Either way, if either issue doesn’t improve after several days, you should always visit your GP.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress can contribute to various physical symptoms. When it comes to digestion, stress can send the abdominal muscles into spasm, dry up the bowel and pull blood away from the gut. Taking time to reduce your stress levels can help improve or prevent digestive problems. Seeking appropriate counselling may help to combat the symptoms.
Be Aware of Any Significant Changes
Your digestive health isn’t about how many times you use the toilet each day. Instead, you should be concerned with any changes that may occur. Changes in your digestive patterns can signal other health problems and you should visit your GP in these instances so that the appropriate measures can be taken.