Gastric problems affect most all of us at one time or another in our lives. The word “gastric” simply means “of the stomach.” Since everything that we ingest passes through our gut, it’s no wonder that gastric afflictions plague us all. Below is a list of the most common gastric ailments, their causes, and remedies.
1. Heartburn, Indigestion, GERD
Heartburn, Indigestion, and GERD are all born in acid reflux. This happens when the acid in your stomach travels back up your esophageal track. Obesity is definitely a contributing factor. The extra weight in our abdominal area pushes on our stomach and sends stomach acid right back up the esophagus. Certain foods, like tomatoes and carbonated beverages, can also be a contributing factor. Acidic juices, like grapefruit and orange juice, also send stomach acid back up the wrong way and cause discomfort.
Most of the time heartburn, Indigestion, and GERD are treated with over the counter medications. In extreme cases laparoscopic surgery may be necessary. Of course, altering our diet and avoiding certain foods should always be the first step.
Many times we swallow air when we eat. This can happen because we are eating too fast or talking while we eat. Carbonated beverages, beans, cabbage, and certain other foods also cause gas. Intestinal bacteria that are produced when we digest food is the other most common cause.
Most of the time these ailments are treated by charcoal tablets or other over the counter medications. Altering your diet to avoid certain foods is also recommended. Above all, one should avoid sugar free candy and chocolate. These usually contain mannitol or sorbitol which causes gas. In extreme cases a trip to the doctor may be necessary.
Gallstones are caused by a collection of cholesterol, bile, or a combination of the two due to a production imbalance in the body.
Many times no treatment in necessary for gallstones. It is not uncommon to have no symptoms at all as gallstones are usually found by mistake when treating another issue. In more serious cases, gallstones can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. In these cases one may opt for surgery or certain medications used to dissolve the stones. Dissolving the stones is not a quick process and usually takes months.
Gastritis is a condition in which the stomach lining becomes inflamed. Medications, vomiting, and excess alcohol consumption are the most common causes.
Mild episodes are usually treated with antacids and avoidance of common causing factors. In more severe cases proton pump inhibitors, vitamin B12 shots, and /or antibiotics may also be used. The main purpose of a proton pump inhibitor is a lasting reduction in the acid created by the stomach.
5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Exact cause of IBS are hard to pinpoint but there are a few contributing factors. Sometimes heredity can play a role and certain foods can potentially trigger an episode. Extreme stress or trauma have also been noted as triggers.
Particular treatments for IBS are hard to pinpoint since the exact cause is unknown. Certain food avoidances and lifestyle changes are usually recommended. Sometimes options for distressing will also help. People have been known to meditate or do yoga. Natural remedies include the addition of peppermint oil and soluble fiber to your diet. Whatever the ailment, lifestyle changes and food avoidance are always the first options. Stay away from processed foods and add some exercise to your daily regimen. You don’t have to sweat it out at the gym for an hour every day but adding fifteen minutes of cardio will do wonders. Cardiovascular exercise, such as fast walking, carries more oxygen to all of your bodily organs and systems which greatly improves their performance. Last but certainly not least. Drink plenty of water, water, water. Your digestive tract must be properly lubricated for optimal performance. If you have tried all of these things and still are not getting relief, it’s time to see a doctor.