Digestive Disorders

Supporting your newborn’s health: Intestinal colonization after elective cesarean section

Allan Walker, MD

Contributor

The development of the microbiome begins before birth, but there is a profound difference in the colonizing bacteria if a baby is born by elective cesarean section rather than vaginal birth that can affect a child’s health and risk of disease.

Treating constipation with biofeedback for the pelvic floor

Judy Nee, MD

Contributor

People with constipation caused by pelvic floor dysfunction may benefit from a course of physical therapy that uses biofeedback to detect the movements of various muscles, and provides guidance on how to retrain the pelvic floor muscles.

Microbiome: The first 1,000 days

Allan Walker, MD

Contributor

From the time of conception until the second year of life, appropriate bacteria colonization of the digestive tract affects long-term health and plays a role in whether a person will be healthy or will develop a chronic disease.

Brain-gut connection explains why integrative treatments can help relieve digestive ailments

Because of the strong connection between the brain and the digestive system, stress can cause or worsen many gastrointestinal conditions, and gut inflammation can have effects in other areas of the body. Mind-body treatments can improve digestive symptoms and decrease the stress response.

What to do if your child is constipated

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

It’s not unusual for a child to be constipated once in a while, and when it happens there are several things parents can do to relieve the situation.

Integrative approaches to reduce IBS symptoms

Some people with irritable bowel syndrome get relief from medications, but for others they are not a viable or effective option. But there are nondrug treatment options that reduce symptoms for many, including stress reduction techniques, special diets, and certain supplements.

Fatty liver disease: What it is and what to do about it

Wynne Armand, MD

Contributing Editor

Fatty liver disease not due to alcohol use affects between 20% and 40% of the US population. While most of those have a simpler form that does not cause sickness, the disease is still a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and contributes to obesity and diabetes.

Gut feelings: How food affects your mood

Uma Naidoo, MD

Contributor

Besides causing inflammation and disease, more heavily processed foods can contribute to depression and anxiety through the connection between the gut and the brain. A healthier diet that favors whole foods over processed foods may offer protection against depression.

Putting a stop to leaky gut

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

In an unhealthy gut, the lining of your intestine weakens, causing bacteria and toxins to leak into the body, triggering inflammation. The most common causes are genes and diet, with age playing a role as well. But diagnosing the condition is challenging, and may require trying different treatment approaches.

Fermented foods for better gut health

Naturally fermented foods have been getting the attention of health experts lately because they may help strengthen your gut biome—the bacteria and microorganisms in your digestive tract. These foods contain beneficial probiotics, live cultures found in foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and some pickles.