Simple yet effective ways to manage Frequent Stomach Problems
Nagging problems like stomach cramps, bloating, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn, and belching may seem trivial, but they cause discomfort and affect our quality of life. Some of these problems can be improved by eating a healthy and balanced diet, avoiding foods or drinks that trigger indigestion, chewing well, avoiding oily and spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, and making some lifestyle changes like being physically active, having dinner at least 2-3 hrs before bed, by changing certain medications and managing stress. Some problems are also caused by food or water contamination, good hygienic practice while dining out or travelling is crucial in managing them. Other factors like bad diet, sleep deprivation, exposure to antibiotics and chemicals like pesticides, and lack of physical activity may lead to gut dysbiosis – an imbalance of the gut microbiome. Medication coupled with probiotic supplements restores the balance in healthy gut microbiota.
Synbiotic (the right combination of prebiotics & probiotics) alleviate many gut-related problems with a steady supply of prebiotics and probiotics to the body. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help promote proper digestion. Studies show that probiotics improve several aspects of digestive health and may aid in the treatment of diarrhoea as well as conditions like ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Prebiotics enhances digestive health by providing fuel for the beneficial bacteria leading to the production of short-chain fatty acids like butyric acid which in turn supports regularity.
Many patients also try gluten-free and lactose-free diets to relieve symptoms. There is growing evidence for the effectiveness of the low FODMAP diet (LFD) too but owing to its restrictive nature, however, there are concerns about the effect of the LFD on nutritional adequacy, intestinal microbiota, and quality of life. Therefore, the LFD should only be followed in consultation with a specialized dietitian.
Frequent stomach problems sometimes can be a sign of other medical conditions, such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), ulcers, intestinal infection, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD) and cancer. The right diagnosis followed by tests, treatment and supplements is necessary in order to address such conditions.