Digestive problems are common. I know, I've been there, and I’ve come out the other side. For ages, I used to Google symptoms looking for helpful advice to help me regulate my bowels: the farts, the diarrhoea, the constipation (sorry to be crude) were affecting my life. I always needed to make sure I was near a toilet should the dreaded shart appear. I always promised myself that once I felt OK again, I’d share my knowledge with as many people as I can. Well, that’s what I’m doing here.
Now, I just want to preface this by saying that this process might not work for everyone. I had mild problems that weren’t associated with any serious conditions, like Crohn’s Disease. My condition is best described as mild IBS, although it was not formerly diagnosed. However, I did suffer with it and I did have to make special arrangements, like making sure I was near a toilet.
Anyway, here are the things that helped me:
1. Weight loss: I wasn’t particularly fat, but I was outside the healthy BMI for my sex, age and height. The first thing I did was change my diet and lost weight. Being overweight can have a big impact on your bowels for a number of reasons:
a. The excess fat can literally crush the intestines, making it hard for food to move through the system.
b. Being overweight is often indicative of a poor diet. Our body finds it hard to digest junk food and food that’s high in fat. If you eat a lot of this type of food, you need to cut it out. You'll find that you crave it initially, but after a few days, the cravings will disappear. In fact, this is one of the things that shocked me most: junk food is addictive! It causes you to want more. No doubt, the food manufacturers do it on purpose because it boosts profits, so don’t let them rob you of your health for the sake of food.
2. Diet: following closely from the above, I also changed my diet. I cut out the junk and I started to eat high-fibre fruit and vegetable. I ate meat, but mostly lean meats, such as chicken, which are easier to digest. Finally, I swapped simple carbs, e.g. white bread and pasta, and swapped if for their complex carb, whole-wheat counterparts. I also ate some specific foods that I know help with digestion:
a. Prunes: these are fantastic for helping you to stay regular and predict the poop schedule.
b. Yoghurts: these contain probiotics – more on this in the following section.
3. Probiotic supplements: one of the things that helped me the most was taking a probiotic supplement called Fivelac. Fivelac, as the name suggests, contains five different types of probiotic. A probiotic is a ‘friendly bacteria’; it helps the body to carry out certain functions. In terms of Fivelac, it’s a digestive system bacteria. It helps to break down food and releases a greater number of digestible nutrients (the nutrients are always there in the food, but sometimes the body can’t extract it in time and it leaves the body in our poop).
These three things really helped to balance my digestive system and today, I rarely have tummy aches.