Woman with tummy pain

Tummy troubles

You have been having some tummy troubles.  Your bowel is not working how it was, you may have constipation or diarrhoea or a mixture of both.  You may have been told you have IBS and you’ll just have to live with that.

Some other symptoms you may have are reflux or heartburn, your burping all the time or you have a pain somewhere in your digestive tract, Or you could be doing constant stinky farts that can clear a room or you are chronically nauseous.

I see people skipping off to their local health food shop or even worse the super market to buy some supplements or probiotics to fix their tummy troubles.  Please don’t buy supermarket vitamins they have little therapeutic doses in them so essentially you are wasting your money.  They are filled with lots of excipients to fill up the capsules or tablets.  To start the process you don’t really need supplements.

I  always think it’s wise for people to go to their doctor if they have a tummy troubles especially if it’s new or something has changed.  It is particularly important if you notice bright red blood in the toilet or on the toilet paper but also if your stool is a black colour or you have had a major change in your bowel habits and you haven’t changed your diet.

Testing

Whilst at the doctor I would encourage you to ask for a Full blood count, Electrolytes and Liver Function Test, Vitamin D, iron studies, coeliac gene test and PCR stool test .  If your bowel is going too fast or too slow  I would also ask for a thyroid profile test. If you are burping all the time I would get a helicobacter pylori breath test. Get a copy of the results sent to you. The doctor needs to tick a box on your form to make this happen.  It is essential that you keep your own record of your bloods.  You are legally entitled to them.

While you are waiting for the results.  I want you to think about what you are eating.

What you are eating

Are you eating Whole foods?  What do I mean by that.  They are unprocessed foods. They are mostly how they would be in nature.  Lots of fruit and vegetables, small amounts of good quality proteins (that have been sourced from good farming practices) not from the supermarkets where the meat is mostly feedlot meat.  Where the livestock have to be given massive doses of antibiotics just to stay alive. Good quality fats – olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

That you are eating a variety of foods and you are not just eating the same foods every day.  I know we all love routine but that is one thing you definitely do not want to do when it comes to food.  The sickest people I see are the ones  who tell me they don’t need to fill in my food, mood and poo diary as they eat the same thing every day.  Please don’t do this.

I would also encourage you not to eat packaged foods often.  As a realist I know for most of us time is short and sometimes you need a helping hand. I would say use sparingly.  Realistically you can cook a meal from scratch in under 10 minutes. Much better for your digestive system and your body.

Chewing

Chewing is the next thing.  Some of our digestion starts right there in our mouth. The teeth grind the food into smaller pieces and the salivary glands secrete enzymes (amylase) to help with absorption. Your tongue manipulates the food in your mouth to make sure every surface has been chewed. The saliva also has softening agents which turn the food into a bolus (a lump of soft food) so it can be easily swallowed.  It stimulates your parotid gland, behind the ears  to release hormones to stimulate the thymus gland to produce T cells which are the basis of our immune system. So you are helping your immune system at the same time.

When you chew food for a long time it signals to your oesophagus to get lubricated. It signals your stomach to produce more Hydrochloric acid.  By chewing for a  long period of time it gets all of the other parts of the digestive system ready to accept the food that’s coming down.

Well chewed food glides through our oesophagus rather than having bigger chunks that not so easily broken down by your stomach.

You need to chew slowly and steadily until the food has lost its texture or it has liquified before we launch into taking another bite.  Place you knife and fork down between bites so you can stop yourself from adding more food into your mouth.  I tell people if you pulled out that bolus of food from your mouth you shouldn’t be able to recognise one single thing.  Now there’s a visual you ‘ll have for the rest of the day.

Fibre

Make sure you are eating enough fibre.  Men need 34 grams of fibre per day Women need 28g fibre per day.  That means every meal you have has to have some fibre (fruit or vegetables) in it.  Most people are not doing this. This is one things I have seen fix peoples tummy troubles.

How you are eating

Also think about how you are eating- are you in a rush?  Slow down take a deep breath before you start eating your food.  Give yourself time to get into your body so you can really taste and enjoy what you are eating.  Food to me is about joy.  You cannot savour and enjoy the food you are eating if you are inhaling it.

What else to look for

My last point is how much stress are you under right now.  Most of us are under incredible amounts of stress all the time.So much so we don’t even recognise it anymore.  Being this stressed damages your gut bacteria and it can turn gut bacteria from friend to foe.

Once you have worked through the above suggestions I would look at; alcohol consumption, Amount of antibiotics, food intolerances, environmental toxins and past trauma as the next stops .

Doing these basics should get rid of any mild gut issues . If symptoms persist you should move to the next step.

If you’d like help with that next step book in for a free 15 minute call. I look forward to chatting with you.

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