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What's caused your stomach upset?

Stomach upsets are a common health complaint and there are a variety of factors that could be causing it. It is often determined by a cramp or dull ache in the stomach or could even be a sharper pain or general discomfort. Most stomach aches are nothing serious and will pass in a day or two, however it could need medical attention if the pain is unexpected, sudden and severe in the abdomen.

Here are some of the top causes of stomach upsets:

  • Trapped wind and bloating - this is an extremely common problem and easily dealt with. It is simply caused by a build-up of air in the body that results in some abdominal discomfort and bloating.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - IBS is quite a common problem and tends to come and go in bouts. Top symptoms include diarrhoea, constipation and stomach cramps that you may notice after eating certain foods or during times of stress.
  • Diarrhoea - stomach cramps usually accompany diarrhoea and make you feel generally unwell. This is mostly due to a viral or bacterial stomach bug that will pass on its own. There are over-the-counter remedies to help relieve this problem.
  • Constipation - this is a common condition where you are not passing stools regularly and finding difficulty in passing stools. Severity can vary, but it is usually short-lived. Build-up in the body results in stomach discomfort and pain which is relieved when bowel movements are regular again.
  • Heartburn and acid reflux - this occurs when stomach acid leaks from the stomach and up into the oesophagus, resulting in a burning sensation and general discomfort.

Keeping your tummy happy:

Even though these stomach problems are quite common, there are some little lifestyle changes that you can make to decrease your chances of suffering from stomach discomforts and keeping your tummy feeling happy and healthy.

  • A healthy, balanced diet - this is imperative for keeping your tummy in tip top condition. Eating fatty foods regularly can wreak havoc on your digestion and slow the entire process down, so eat a varied diet that includes plenty of healthy foods.
  • Avoid eating quickly - eating too much too quickly is the main culprit of digestive problems. Take your time eating your meals as it takes a little while for your brain to receive the signal from your stomach that it's full. Avoid eating on the move as much as possible and try not to gulp down your food as you will end up ingestion large amounts of air that causes trapped wind and bloating.
  • Stop smoking - smoking can weaken the muscle that is responsible for controlling the lower end of the oesophagus. This therefore results in regular bouts of heartburn.
  • Lose excess weight - losing a few pounds will have a great effect on your digestion as excess stomach fat adds pressure and causes heartburn.
  • Don't drink too much alcohol - binge drinking increases the acid production in your stomach, causing heartburn and making other digestive problems worse.
  • Relax - avoiding stress will also have a positive impact on your stomach. Anxiety and worry can upset the delicate balance of digestion and it is definitely a top cause of making IBS symptoms worse.