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  • Writer's pictureAlison Cowell

Sick of feeling sick?

When we experience any digestive discomfort, we must take note and address the symptom as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean resorting to prescribed medications all the time. I am so frustrated at the amount of people – including babies - who are given all sorts of medications to treat a symptom rather than to investigate and address the cause.

Take Stan for instance. Lovely 84-year-old Stan who, in the words of his son, was “projectile vomiting like a baby” every time he ate. Stan had been seen by a raft of doctors and specialists, had been subjected to all manner of tests including gastroscopy and MRI and was taking several medications, including one for nausea (despite that fact he said he never felt nauseas!).

The medics were scratching their heads with no idea why Stan was having such issues as the tests had revealed that he was functioning perfectly well. They were at a loss and couldn’t help him. Their only solution was to give him all the medication they could think of…..and he still had severe reflux.

Stan’s son had attended one of my health awareness presentations and spoke to me afterwards. He said that food intolerances had not been considered and was hopeful that this could be the answer for his Dad. I agreed to do a home visit to Stan and took my food intolerance test kit with me. However, on entering Stan’s tiny apartment, it struck me that there was no dining table, no designated area to eat in fact. I asked him where he ate his meals. He pulled out a very low coffee table from under a larger table (that housed all his medication, some books, photos, and a sweet little pot plant). “I use this” he said as he bent almost in half over it. That was it!! That was the answer. The digestive tract is simply one long tube from oesophagus to bowel – and Stan was kinking his tube. He had never needed scans and probes and medication, he simply needed to sit up straight! After my visit, his son made him a special tray that was fitted to his chair. It could be folded out of the way and swivelled round at mealtimes. I asked for it to be made at a height that meant Stan had to sit as upright as he could - and he never experienced reflux again (and didn’t need any more medication!). If only someone had taken the time to investigate the cause of Stan’s ongoing reflux rather than treat the symptom, he’d have been spared a long and upsetting round of unnecessary, resource-intensive tests and procedures.

If you are experiencing any digestive discomfort, from bloating and gas to constipation or diarrhoea, get to the cause of the problem rather than treat with omeprazole, Gaviscon or any other ‘aid’.

You coud try:

· Keeping a food and symptom diary to identify any culprits

· Investing in a food intolerance test

· Including some fermented food in your diet (e.g. kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut)

· Improving your gut health by taking a probiotic supplement

Why is your tummy upset?

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