Health & Wellness

Common Gastric Problems: How to manage them?

Overview: Gastric Problems

Having stomach problems are quite common, and most of us have experienced it at some time or the other. Usually, any of the common stomach problems like heartburn or indigestion can be easily tackled with over-the-counter medicines and by incorporating positive lifestyle habits. But, when you suffer from severe problems like a peptic ulcer, you must seek immediate medical attention.

Any gastric problems solution can be found in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet and practicing proper bowel habits. Periodic cancer screenings are also advise.

Symptoms and Causes of Gastric Problems

The most common symptoms of gastric problems are 

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Bleeding
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Unwanted weight loss
  • Swallowing problems

It would be best if you did not wait to get medical attention in the following situations:

  • Blood in stool
  • Acute abdominal pains
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Heartburn that does not go away with medications
  • Continuous diarrhea or vomiting

Common Causes of Gastric Problems:

There are functional gastrointestinal disorders where the GI tract may appear to be normal but fails to work properly, for instance, IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome and constipation. This often happens if you:

  • Eat a low-fiber diet
  • Travel frequently and have frequent routine changes
  • Do not get adequate exercise
  • Eat a lot of dairy foods
  • Have high-stress levels
  • Resist the urge to pass stool, often due to hemorrhoids
  • Use laxatives too often, and this weakens bowel muscles
  • Take medicines like anti-depressants, iron tablets, and strong painkillers

Constipation happens when you find it hard to pass stools, and these are also infrequent, maybe less than thrice a week. The main cause of constipation is the lack of fiber or “roughage” in your diet, and it is easily control by increasing your daily fiber intake and exercising regularly. When you find it hard to pass stool even after changing your diet, you can take the help of laxatives. But these are only a short-term solution. IBS, also called a nervous stomach or spastic colon happens when there is more colon contraction that in people without IBS. There are some foods and drugs that work as triggers. The most noticeable symptoms of IBS are abdominal cramping, bloating, excess gas, changes in bowel habits, and alternate periods of diarrhea and constipation.

Structural gastrointestinal

Structural gastrointestinal disorders are the ones where the bowel appears abnormal and, therefore, does not work as expected. Here, surgery may be require to remove the abnormality. Examples are hemorrhoids, colon polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, etc.

  1. Hemorrhoids occur because of chronic pressure that results from straining when passing stool or they may develop during pregnancy or because of continuous diarrhea.
  2. Anal fissures are cracks inside the anal opening caused by the passage of very hard stools or watery stools.
  3. Perianal abscesses happen when these glands inside the anus get block, and bacteria within them cause infections.
  4. Anal fistula occurs when body wastes are sent out through this tube-like channel instead of the anal canal.
  5. Perianal infections occur when skin glands near the anus get infected and have to be drained.
  6. Diverticular disease is small outpunching’s in the large intestinal walls that develop in the weakened parts of the bowel because of a lack of fiber in the diet.
  7. Colon polyps and cancer

Ways To Manage Gastric Problems

  • One of the best ways to manage gastric problems is to stay away from foods that cause gas. So, you should avoid whole grains, dairy foods, Brussels sprouts, specific fruits like pears and apples, etc. as they have starch that is hard to digest and absorb.
  • You can stay away from foods that have sorbitol, which is a natural sugar contains in fruits.
  • You have to identify food combinations that can trigger stomach problems like gas; for instance, some get gas on eating fruits having proteins or when they eat protein and starch together. You can stick to recipes that advocate steaming the food as it helps to prevent gas.
  • Drinking liquids with meals makes you lose the stomach acids and digestion gest affected. So, it would help if you ideally drank half an hour before a meal.
  • Eating and drinking slowly help because you do not swallow too much air that can cause gas.
  • You can take over-the-counter antacids and digestive aids for better digestion.
  • Activated charcoal can reduce bloating and gas, and it goes through a unique process to make it edible by humans.
  • It is best to quit habits like chewing gum, smoking, or drinking through a straw as these fill your stomach with gas.

Treatment Options Available

Common gastric problems can be treated with OTC medicines and lifestyle changes. There are some medicines prescribed by doctors for treating other health issues you may be experiencing that have side-effects, which can cause stomach problems like diarrhea or indigestion. It would help if you ideally avoided aspirin and medicines for treating arthritis or NSAIDs when you have frequent indigestion or a stomach ulcer. Some conditions may require surgery, like gallstones and ulcers.


We are nutritionist, health writer's, and food bloggers. Check it out our latest health & wellness articles on fitness, diet, and healthy living.

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