Digestive System And Stomach
Digestive System And Stomach
Charles Triay (General Practicioner) gives expert video advice on: What is the best treatment for indigestion?; What produces excessive stomach gas and can it be cured? and more...
I have irritable bowel syndrome. What should I do?
When dealing with irritable bowel syndrome, it really boils down to dietary modifications and symptomatic treatment. By dietary modification, I mean that there are number of food products which the patient might find makes their irritable bowel syndrome worse: fatty foods, high fibre foods, or it could be low fibre foods. The patient will derive lots of benefits from trying to keep a food diary. It tries to establish what helps the irritable bowel syndrome. There are also a lot of benefits from consulting a dietician, who would then help the patient, study the diet further and recommend things that would be beneficial or not beneficial particular to that individual. From a medication point of view, if an irritable bowel syndrome patient has diarrhoea, we can give some medication for diarrhoea, or if they have constipation, give some kind of medication.
What is the best treatment for indigestion?
Initially, indigestion is treated with simple antacid medications that simply cancel out the acid effect in the stomach, and hence the symptoms are relieved. Indigestion is something that is so common nowadays, and in many cases so persistent, that we often need either more aggressive treatment or we need to try to pinpoint the exact cause for the indigestion. For example: a hiatus hernia, eating the wrong diet or even stress and anxiety. If the indigestion is caused by those things, you can help the patient change their diet, be aware of what's going on. They need to take small, frequent meals throughout the day. We can also treat them symptomatically until maybe the period of stress is over, and, after that, the indigestion will supposedly be cured.
What produces excessive stomach gas and can it be cured?
Sometimes stomach gas can be produced by abnormal flora in the gut, an overgrowth of certain bacteria in the gut, by an excessive amount of acid in the stomach or simply swallowing air. I think stomach gas, in some cases, is very resistant to treatment, but sometimes, when associated with a more treatable cause, can be cured.
I am constipated. What should I do?
What everybody who has constipation must understand is that they must drink a lot of fluid. That is the first step to treating constipation. One of the functions of the large bowel is to absorb water back into the system and therefore leave your stool to be far drier and harder. The second step in treating constipation is to make sure you have enough fibre in your diet. This expands the walls of your large intestine and stimulates them to contract, and by doing so you pass a stool. If neither of those two treatments are working, we resort to laxatives to deal with constipation. There are three types of laxatives: bulking agents, which are fibre supplements, softening agents that are not usually absorbed into the system, and a medication that stimulates your bowel to contract. In a constipation patient who has tried it all and is not getting better, it may well be worth considering a specialist opinion, because some test may identify some rare conditions that can be treated.
What is an appendix for?
The appendix in the human being has absolutely no function whatsoever. Therefore, we can live perfectly well without it. It is a residual appendage of our ancestors, who required a certain amount of movement of intestinal contents in and out of certain pockets to produce fermentation, and hence easier digestion and absorption of food products. We as human beings no longer require the appendix. We can get rid of it without a problem and the patient is not going to experience any kind of change in their lifestyle whatsoever.