Recent Blog Articles

Digestive Health Archive

Articles

What’s the best sleep position to combat heartburn?

Published June 1, 2022

Among people with chronic heartburn, sleeping on the left side appears to help backed-up stomach acid leave the esophagus faster than sleeping on the right side or back, according to a study in the February 2022 issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Is it okay to use proton-pump inhibitors on demand?

Published June 1, 2022

When doctors say that it’s okay to take proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) "on demand" for chronic heartburn, the advice doesn’t apply to everyone. PPIs inhibit the production of stomach acid, which can back up into the esophagus and can cause pain (heartburn) and damage the lining of the esophagus. People with damage to the esophagus often stay on PPIs long-term to prevent further problems. People without damage to the esophagus can take a short course of PPIs as needed.

Taking the air out of bloating

Published June 1, 2022

Everyone feels bloated at times after eating. Bloating is a feeling of tightness, fullness, or pressure in the belly that comes along with abdominal swelling and mild to intense pain. Excessive gas buildup from a sluggish digestive system and problems digesting certain foods are the leading causes. While most bloating goes away after a while, for regular occurrences, people should examine their diet for trigger foods and use over-the-counter anti-gas remedies as needed. In cases of frequent or extended bloating, a doctor should see if other problems are present.

Could stress be making my acid reflux worse?

Published May 1, 2022

Emotional stress can aggravate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which gastric acid washes backward into the esophagus from the stomach. Managing stress through meditation or exercise can help.

What’s the connection between the gut and brain health?

Published May 1, 2022

Gut bacteria may influence our emotions and cognitive capabilities. For example, some bacteria make oxytocin, a hormone the body produces that encourages increased social behavior. Other bacteria make substances that cause symptoms of depression and anxiety. Still others make substances that help people to be calmer under stress. Gut bacteria also have been shown to influence people’s vulnerability to certain brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and autism. For example, a substance found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease (synuclein) is made by gut bacteria and can travel via nerves from the gut to the brain.

Recognizing and treating disorders of gut-brain interaction

Published April 20, 2022

Many conditions of the gastrointestinal tract are easy to diagnose using standard testing. But some such diseases can impact the GI tract without a clear test finding. Disorders of gut-brain interaction are so called because they involve impaired communication between the gut and brain via the nervous system.

Constantly clearing your throat? Here’s what to try

Published April 5, 2022

When you have a cold, it’s normal to feel mucus sitting at the back of your throat, and to have the urge to clear it. Typically this sensation lasts just a few days, but what happens if it lingers for weeks or months?

Feeling the burn of acid reflux

Published April 1, 2022

Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease are two of the most common digestive-related problems, but they often get confused with each other because they share many of the same traits. While the two conditions are connected, they are quite different. Recognizing the difference can help a person adopt lifestyle changes to manage symptoms and know when to seek other options, like medication and surgery.

The plant milk shake-up: Pea and pistachio join oat and almond

Published March 23, 2022

Pea, potato, and pistachio milk? Supermarkets now sell multiple kinds of plant-based milks made from nuts, beans, grains, vegetables, or fruit. Before trying these, some people might like to know more about nutritional benefits and any other reasons to choose or avoid them.

You don't say? Excuse me, but should you squelch your belch?

Published March 1, 2022

Burping is often seen (and heard) as something rude and crude, but it serves an essential purpose by preventing the stomach from overinflating with air from eating.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.