Break These Bad Digestive Habits
Feeling bloated? Experiencing heartburn? Bothered by frequent diarrhea? You might be able to soothe these issues by simply tweaking some eating and lifestyle choices you’re making.
Obviously, we don’t want you to underestimate the nature of your digestive issues, and always urge you to see a doctor if you aren’t sure what is causing a problem. With that said, here are bad digestive habits that could be causing you discomfort:
1. Not eating enough fiber. You’re supposed to eat 25 grams of fiber a day. Odds are that you are falling short. Fiber does a lot of good things, including keeping your bowel movements regular and reducing the risk for more troubling digestive problems, like diverticulitus.
2. Eating late at night. Eating right before you turn in for the night can cause issues all night long. Here’s why – when you’re lying down, food in your stomach can get pushed back up into your esophagus more easily, causing heartburn and other reflux-related issues. To avoid this, stop eating at least two hours before hitting the sack.
3. Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement. When you gotta go, you gotta go. But many people will ignore the urge to go, typically because it’s inconvenient at the moment. By not “making room” digestion can get backed up.
4. Eating too much, too fast. Eating too much at once leads to feeling overly full, reflux, and bloating. Also, eating too quickly can leave you feeling stuffed because you haven’t given you stomach time to expand. Chew your food adequately, and take your time.
5. Drinking too much soda and/or alcohol. Carbonated drinks obviously can make you feel full or gassy. If you simply limit your soda intake, you’ll notice quickly that those feelings go away. And alcohol can stimulate your gastrointestinal tract, creating issues such as diarrhea. Drinking to excess frequently can also lead to or contribute to ulcers. It’s best to keep soda and alcohol to a minimum and drink more water, fruit-flavored juices or low-fat milk.
6. Putting off that colonoscopy. The research is very clear – having a colonoscopy can save your life, because it can detect colon cancer and other issues early. So, if you’re 50 or older, call your doctor and get it scheduled today.
Fix these behaviors and there’s a good chance that your digestion will improve. But – and this is an important but – do not hesitate to see your doctor if you have any lingering concerns, or if you change these behaviors and still feel lousy.
Crozer-Keystone offers a range of board-certified physicians who are trained in the latest technologies and procedures to comprehensively diagnose, manage and treat gastrointestinal and liver conditions. For more information or to make an appointment, visit http://gi.crozerkeystone.org or call 1-877-CKHS-GI1 (1-877-254-7441).