Nutrition and digestive disorders
What you eat and how you eat can have a major impact on digestive problems.
The role of nutrition
If your GI tract is abnormal in any way, your doctor will suggest specific dietary changes to help alleviate some of your symptoms.
Some of these dietary changes may help correct and prevent the problem. For example, increasing the amount of fibre in your diet and drinking more water will help prevent constipation; and excluding gluten, a specific type of protein, may be required for the rest of your life if you have coeliac disease. Although this may sound difficult, it could save your life and you will be grateful to be able to enjoy your meals again without suffering from painful symptoms afterwards.
Your doctor may advise you to change your lifestyle. For example, if you have reflux disease you should avoid lying down after eating; and if you have a peptic ulcer you may need to limit foods and drinks containing caffeine.
Changing your diet
Making the appropriate changes to manage your digestive disorder requires patience and a trial-and-error period. You may find it helps to write down the offending foods that give you wind or cause you to feel bloated. If this continues to happen over and over again, then eliminating these foods may be beneficial to you. But remember, if you eliminate food groups from your diet you may need to take supplements. For example, those who avoid dairy products will need a calcium supplement to prevent osteoporosis from developing.
A lot has changed over the years with regards to nutrition for digestive disorders and we have provided the most up-to-date advice in this section.
- A bit about digestive disorders
- Case study: young woman with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Coping with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- Dealing with lactose intolerance
- Diverticular disorders
- Gluten-free diet for coeliac disease
- Nutritional advice for digestive disorders
- Preventing and treating gall stones
- Tips to treat indigestion
- Tips to treat and prevent peptic ulcers
- Tips to treat constipation
- Tips to treat and prevent diarrhoea
- Treating gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
- Treating irritable bowel syndrome
- Difficult digestion? Get some fibre!
- What to eat when you’ve got gastroenteritis...
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