Digestive Disorders

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.

Digestive enzyme supplements for heartburn?

A digestive enzyme supplement can be helpful for people who have difficulty digesting certain foods, but taking one to treat a condition such as heartburn may or may not provide any relief.

Apple cider vinegar… for heartburn?

There is a lot of anecdotal information about people using apple cider vinegar to treat heartburn, but no published research examining the validity of it.

10 signs that a child’s stomachache could be something serious

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Stomachaches are common in children, and most are not serious, but there are certain signs parents should watch for — especially when other symptoms accompany a stomachache.

Leaky gut: What is it, and what does it mean for you?

Leaky gut occurs when the lining of the intestinal tract develops cracks or holes, setting the stage for tissue damage that leads to inflammation. It’s believed that this may be the cause of a number of common chronic diseases.

Can probiotics help treat depression and anxiety?

Research is exploring the connection between the brain and intestine and how they affect each other, and whether the use of probiotics can help treat depression or anxiety.

H. pylori, a true stomach “bug”: Who should doctors test and treat?

Wynne Armand, MD

Contributing Editor

A stomach infection of H. pylori bacteria can cause ulcers, but not everyone with the infection shows symptoms and the treatment process can be challenging, so only people with certain conditions need to be tested for it.

When a nasty stomach virus strikes…

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

When one person in your household catches a stomach bug, it seems the rest of the household becomes sick almost instantly. This winter has been particularly difficult, which makes it all the more useful to know more: Why does this bug spread so quickly? And how do I prevent it?

Don’t tolerate food intolerance

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Food intolerances become more common with age, and such problems are not necessarily linked to an allergy or disease. There are ways to pinpoint what is disturbing your digestive system and there are simple steps you can take to ease digestive distress and even continue to enjoy many of the foods you love.

Colon cancer screening: Is there an easier, effective way?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

The preparations necessary for a colonoscopy can be as unpleasant as the test itself, if not more so. A new test can be completed at home and requires no special prep, but the test is more likely to return a false positive, requiring further testing. In addition, some of the research supporting this test was done by the company or co-inventors, so more research is needed.