Digestive Health - What You Need to Know
There is always a good deal of interest in digestive health, and with good reason. It is amazing how many people suffer from various digestive symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and many other symptoms. These gastrointestinal (GI) problems are twice as frequent in women than men, and women have a higher frequency of having other diseases at the same time, such as migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, or heartburn. For some women the symptoms may become more frequent at a certain time in the menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, the symptoms at times are vague, and many have experienced going to physicians who consider the symptoms "functional" ( meaning no serious disease identifiable), and often having the symptoms dismissed. But left unattended these symptoms can lead to chronic diseases and general poor quality of life. We'll discuss some of the common problems and what can be done about it.
Having infrequent, dry bowel movements is due to the slow passage of waste material through the colon. Because it is slow, a great majority of the water is reabsorbed by the system., making the material left hard and dry. The gastroenterologists will tell you that "normal" ranges from 3 times a day to 3 times a week. However, most of us probably would get uncomfortable with elimination as infrequent as 3 times a week. That feeling of bloating, excess gas, and general abdominal heaviness is really no fun, and sure keeps us from feeling our best!
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to constipation. Less exercise, poor diet, stress level increase, and certain medications can all affect the GI tract. Some diseases, such as low thyroid and diabetes will also contribute to poor GI emptying.
The intestine contains a balance of good and bad bacteria. In the ideal state there is a balance between the two. However, any change with an overgrowth of "bad" organisms or a reduction in the "good" organisms can lead to a change in the balance and ultimately to a disease state. Research suggests altering this state of balance contributes to the development of chronic diseases. There are a wide range of symptoms that can occur, such as either diarrhea or constipation, bloating, undigested food in the stool, fatigue, or chronic yeast infections. Use of antibiotics, stress and poor diet also are important factors that can alter the balance of microorganisms in our system. First thought to be just a theory, but now there is evidence in scientific literature to confirm it is more than just a theory, and now believed to be a contributor to many chronic degenerative diseases, it follows that maintaining a good balance is important.
Most of us don't think very much about intestinal parasites. After all, we are an advance Western country and this is a third world problem, right? Better think again! Even in the USA it is estimated that about 25% of the general population have parasites. These toxins take a toll on the system, and can result in the same types of symptoms already discussed. Today with worldwide travel so common we have seen an increase in parasitic problems.
There are many different types of organisms that are parasites on humans. Parasites that live inside their hosts can affect various tissues and organs, such as the blood, GI tract, liver, gall bladder, lymphatic system, and ultimately weaken the immune system. The host is generally weakened by large numbers of parasites as the body's immune system attempts to resist the intrusion.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a cluster of symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Some people have alternating diarrhea and constipation. There is no disease state that is identifiable, but the bowel is not functioning normally. IBS is much more common in women than men. Stress is thought to play a role in IBS.
In each of these common conditions there are several natural steps one can take to ease the situation
When To See The Doctor
Sometimes the common symptoms we talked about here need further evaluation by a physician. Any CHANGE in bowel habits that is sustained needs a physician's attention, as does severe abdominal pain or rectal bleeding. Sometimes weight loss without apparent cause can mean bowel trouble as well, and a more serious condition underlying the symptoms. Your doctor may need to perform tests on the blood, stool, x-rays of the colon and perhaps a colonoscopy to rule these out.
Help From Natural Supplements
There are natural supplements that are effective with a number of the common problems we discussed. ClearStart--with Nature's Tea is a unique 30 day colon cleanse program, designed to restore good balance by removing toxins, eliminating unwanted organisms and cleansing the colon. It provides powerful herbs that disable negative organisms so your body can eliminate them efficiently, it adds adequate fiber to the diet, and also provides a sweet-tasting blend of traditional Chinese and American herb tea that boosts your body's ability to cleanse itself of toxins and promote optimal nutrient absorption.
ProBionic is another Unicity product designed to help the body restore the needed balance between good and bad organisms. It provides five different forms of lactobacillus for a more comprehensive form of intestinal support than was previously available.A good balance of "friendly" bacteria is needed to help fight off diseases as well as creating needed vitamins and nutrients for our system.
We have more suggestions on the Digestive Health Page