Recent Blog Articles

Digestive Health Archive


Eating disorders in midlife

By age 40, one in five women has dealt with an eating disorder, twice the proportion of women known to be affected by age 21. Risks for anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating can rise at midlife due to job stressors, an empty nest, and dating again after divorce or widowhood. Health effects can include bone loss, heart problems, lung conditions, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, and skin breakdown. Signs of an eating disorder include dramatic weight fluctuations, excessive exercising, and preoccupation with weight, calories, and body size and shape.

Do fermented foods live up to the hype?

Fermented foods and drinks such as kimchi, kombucha, and tempeh are increasingly popular, adding to mainstays such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and beer. Heat and bright lights during manufacturing can destroy some beneficial probiotics. Fermented products can ease digestion, dampen inflammation, boost nutrient absorption, and battle harmful bacteria. People should look for product labels that say "live and active cultures" and avoid shelf-stable versions, which don’t contain probiotics.

Can taking enzyme supplements help soothe my bloating?

Digestive enzyme supplements are promoted to fix problems like bloating, gas, and bowel irregularity. However, for most people, there's little evidence that they help. Doctors may prescribe enzyme pills for people who can't make enough digestive enzymes because of a health condition.

Weighing the new approaches to treating Crohn's and ulcerative colitis

In recent years, treatment options for inflammatory bowel disease have expanded rapidly, with new types of drugs, new medications within existing classes, and new combinations of treatments for some patients.

Inflammatory bowel disease: Issues outside the gut

Nearly half of all people with inflammatory bowel disease have symptoms that occur outside of the gastrointestinal tract. These conditions, known as extraintestinal manifestations (EIMs), can affect the musculoskeletal system, eyes, lungs, and other areas of the body.

Could I have lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance can develop at any age, prompting gas, bloating, nausea, or diarrhea after people eat or drink dairy products. Secondary lactose intolerance can happen after the small intestine is jolted by surgery, illness, or injury.

The rundown on diarrhea

Everyone experiences acute (short-term) diarrhea at some time. The unpleasant experience often resolves on its own in a few days, but there are situations that require medical attention. Examples include bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, a high fever, and episodes that continue for a week or longer. A medical consultation can help determine if diarrhea is related to a specific bacterium or parasite, a medication side effect, a food intolerance, or an inflammatory bowel disease.

Proton-pump inhibitors: Should I still be taking this medication?

Proton-pump inhibitors are a commonly prescribed anti-acid medication, but new guidelines from the American Gastroenterological Association recommend that they should be taken at the lowest dose and shortest duration for the condition being treated.

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.