I know a lot of women and men who complain about recurring belly issues. Cramping, gas, bloating, diarrhea, etc… Unfortunately, I am also one of the victims. Since this issue hits so close to home, I thought I would see what information was out there to help all of those suffering.
A few years ago I was a victim of Salmonella poisoning. I was never able to figure out where I got it, but it did send me into a tailspin of major gastrointestinal problems. Once I recovered from the sickness, my stomach was not the same. I tried what seemed like every suggested solution, until I finally found myself walking into a colonoscopy at age 35! I have a bad family history of colon issues, so we thought it was the best idea to check it all out. Come to find out that I have a colon of a 25 year old! Oh yeah! Healthy and happy colon…so what gives? What is wrong with me?
When we are first born our bodies produce enough lactase (the enzyme necessary to break down lactose in dairy products) to drink milk from their mother or from other mammals like cows or goats. As we age, we decrease the consumption of milk as well as the production of the lactase enzyme. This can lead a lot of people to think they are lactose-intolerant. My father is one of these people. He avoids cheese like it is poison and if he thinks there may be dairy in anything he pops a Lactaid pill.
As I continued to suffer, I thought more and more about my diet history, my family history and came to the conclusion…I have a low threshold for dairy. I don’t think I am intolerant, but just cannot eat very much. I enjoy a slice of pizza every once in a while and I am fine, but if I joined the family in a bowl of queso at the mexican restaurant there is going to be a BIG problem!
There has been a lot of research on stomach issues in adults and they seem to occur more often in women. This leads me to ask why? Why are women more often suffering from GI issues? Why as we age do we find ourselves have more GI problems?
There is plenty of information out there to support that women suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) more often than men. This may be because women are more likely to go see a doctor than men. This also may be because women have more hormones playing a role in the gastrointestinal tract than men. This also may be because of some reason we don’t know yet. Nevertheless, we may have more control over it than we think.
I know that when I began to break my diet down to the basics, I thought diary may be a culprit. I decided to cut it out completely and see how I felt two weeks later. I felt better, but not symptom free. I then decided to cut soy out of my diet as well. I felt much better, MUCH BETTER! This study of n=1 is not a scientific study, but it works for me! THAT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Each person is different, each person has a different threshold or sensitivity. For one person its diary, for another person it is wheat or gluten, for another person its specific vegetables. A person may have a sensitivity to excessive amounts of gluten and not have to go gluten free, but just reduce their intake. Everyone is different!
Conclusion – Do you suffer from Gastrointestinal issues?
1. Get checked by a doctor to make sure there are no serious issues or allergies. Allergies can occur later in life and colon cancer or other issues can occur earlier!
2. Make a food journal for 2 weeks and see what is in your daily diet and when you eat. Do you eat too much of one thing? Do you eat too much at one time?
3. Try a food elimination – one at a time – for 1-2 weeks. Don’t remove several things from your diet because then you do not know what may have caused the problems.
4. Reevaluate you pain and discomfort. Is is better, worse, no change, improved?
5. Keep trying until you find the diet that works for you!
Food is fuel for our bodies, it should be something that does not cause inflammation and discomfort. We all have things that we love to eat…maybe we need to adjust our diets.
Maybe we need to reduce the amounts of certain foods and then we can enjoy food more!