Recent Blog Articles

Digestive Health Archive


How a fiber-rich diet promotes heart health

Fiber-rich diets may lower the risk of heart attack and stroke, in part by decreasing inflammation. This benefit appears to be facilitated by the breakdown of prebiotic fiber in the gut microbiome to create short-chain fatty acids. These compounds circulate through the bloodstream and interact with specific receptors on cells that quell inflammation. Short-chain fatty acids may also play a role in keeping blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in check, as well as helping to prevent harmful blood clotting.

Inflammatory bowel disease and family planning: What you need to know

Inflammatory bowel disease is commonly diagnosed at a point in life when many people are planning families. People who have been diagnosed with IBD are likely to have questions and concerns regarding fertility, conception, pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding.

What's the best sleep position to combat heartburn?

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?

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

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?

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?

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

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

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

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.

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