Everyone experiences occasional digestive symptoms such as upset stomach, gas, heartburn, nausea, constipation, or diarrhoea.
However, when these symptoms occur frequently, they can cause major disruptions to your life.
Your digestive system breaks down foods and liquids into their chemical components—carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and the like—that the body can absorb as nutrients and use for energy or build or repair cells.
Food’s journey through the digestive system begins in the mouth. It passes down the oesophagus and into the stomach, where digestion begins. Next stop: the small intestine, which in the average person is more than 20 feet long. The small intestine further breaks down food, absorbs nutrients, and sends them into the bloodstream.
The remaining watery food residue moves into your large intestine, a muscular tube about 4 feet long. As undigested food passes through it, bacteria feed off the remnants. The wall of the large intestine soaks up most of the remaining water. Any undigested food that remains is expelled by a highly efficient disposal system.
Like all complicated machinery, the digestive tract doesn’t always run smoothly. In some people, the problem is genetic. In others, the immune system mistakenly attacks the digestive system, causing various digestive woes. What we eat, and how we eat, can also throw off digestive health.
Discovering whether you’re Intolerant. Intolerances can be responsible for many symptoms, especially digestive problems, from bloating to constipation and diarrhoea to abdominal cramps. These are sometimes accompanied by mental and physical symptoms, such as mood changes, chronic tiredness, depression, increased appetite, sleepiness after meals, inability to concentrate and a host of minor ailments from itches and rashes to asthma and sinus problems.