Upset stomach

There's a reason it's called an upset stomach - there's nothing fun or happy about it. Unfortunately pain in the digestive area can pop up at any time for any number of reasons. This can be in the form of aches and cramps, bloating or gas. There are steps to take to lessen the chances intestinal distress, but sometimes it's unavoidable. That's why it's also important to know how to treat an upset stomach.

Reasons for the unease

There are a lot of different reasons you might experience an upset stomach. If in pain, the best thing to do is visit the local Chemmart pharmacist or another medical professional to figure out why you’re having trouble. Of course everybody’s situation is unique, but here are some of the most common culprits:

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  • Eating poorly
  • An adverse reaction to food, such as lactose, fructose or gluten intolerance
  • Recurring acid reflux issues
  • Increased stress brought on by work or family issues
  • Menstruation
  • Constipation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Heartburn and indigestion

Indigestion is a general term for pain or discomfort in the upper portion of the abdomen. Often it takes place either after eating either too much food or food that is difficult for your body to break down. Some of the most common forms of indigestion are heartburn and acid reflux. They take place when digestive acid from the stomach rises up toward the oesophagus and heart.

The effects of heartburn and indigestion are fairly common – you might have even been suffering from these problems without even realising it. Nausea, a burning sensation in the chest and throat and feeling full for long periods of time are the most common symptoms. The best ways to alleviate these problems are:

  • Eating wiser. Having smaller meals that do not involve spicy, fatty foods and eating at least two hours before going to bed makes it easier for your stomach to settle.
  • Avoiding drinks that are fizzy or high in caffeine also keeps your insides happy.
  • Other healthy habits such as watching your weight and not smoking can also decrease your chances of heartburn and indigestion.

Gas and bloating

Flatulence and burping are sometimes met with a giggle, but gas build-up inside the body is no laughing matter. The gas can gather in the intestines, causing a fattening, bloating feeling that can be quite uncomfortable. It can even lead to stomach aches and other abdominal pain. The best ways to avoid these problems are:

  • Avoiding the ingestion of too much air is a simple but effective strategy. Obviously breathe normally, but talking while eating and drinking fizzy, bubbly drinks can sometimes unnecessarily add to the amount of air building up in your body.
  • Sitting when eating helps the digestive system handle food easier.

Treatment

Visiting Chemmart or another health professional to figure out the root of the problem allows you to take the next step and move past your digestive issues. There are a variety of tactics to employ against stomach problems depending on what exactly you’re trying to combat. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Antacids can calm heartburn and indigestion by soothing and neutralising excess stomach acid.
  • Anticholinergics or antispasmodics can take the strain out of stomach muscles, relaxing them and lessening intestinal, bladder and stomach cramps.
  • Antiflatulents relieve wind pain by taking care of gas build-up.

Fibre

Fibre is a key part of keeping the digestive system in proper working order. It helps ward off constipation and irritable bowel syndrome by making food easier for your body to process. It also helps keep people feeling fuller for longer, therefore cutting down on excess eating. Doctors recommend 30g of fibre a day. These fibre boosters can make sure you hit that mark with ease:

  • Ask for brown rice next time you grab some sushi or Thai food. It’s a much healthier alternative to its white counterpart. The same goes for wholemeal wheat versions of grain-based products such as bread and tortillas.
  • Follow the appropriate dietary guidelines you learned as a youngster. Five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit a day will not only help avoid an upset stomach but also will give you energy and have you feeling great overall.
  • Pop in Chemmart or another pharmacy and grab a daily fibre supplement. This will help you get on your way to 30g a day even if you are on the go with limited dietary options.
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