Digestive Health Month
Once in a while, most people will experience digestive discomforts like heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea. When these problems persist, they can be very uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing. Digestive problems can range from mild to severe, but you can help alleviate a lot of the discomfort by making lifestyle changes, as well taking over-the-counter medications. More serious digestive issues may require more intense medical intervention.
Heartburn typically feels like a burning sensation behind the breastbone that may move upward toward the neck or throat. What's happening is the acid in your stomach backs up into your esophagus, usually within 2 hours after eating a large meal or trigger foods or beverages and when bending over or lying down after eating.
You may be able to prevent or relieve heartburn symptoms with these tips:
Several over-the-counter medications can also help relieve symptoms of heartburn. These medicines—which work to help neutralize stomach acid—include antacids, histamine-2 receptor blockers (H2 antagonists), and proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs).
- Avoid common “trigger” foods and beverages.
- Spicy foods
- Citrus fruits
- High-fat meals
- Eat smaller meals
- Stop smoking
- Lose weight if overweight
- Wear loose fitting clothing
- Avoid lying down within three hours of a meal
Be sure to talk to your doctor or your Publix pharmacist if you need to take any medication more than three times a week, as this may indicate a more serious problem.
Although the normal frequency of bowel movements varies with each individual, more than three bowel movements a day can be considered abnormal. Diarrhea episodes usually begin abruptly and subside within one to two days without treatment.
It is important to stay hydrated until the diarrheal episode ends. Self-treatment of diarrhea should be limited to people with mild-to-moderate acute diarrhea who have minimal dehydration. If you are weak or dizzy, contact your health care provider for evaluation.
Experiencing side effects from a course of antibiotics? Antibiotics often destroy the good bacteria that naturally live in the stomach and help maintain digestive health; this may lead to upset stomach and diarrhea. Probiotics are food supplements that replace those good bacteria. You can find them in the supplement aisle or in some yogurts. Look for the seal “Live and Active Cultures” to determine if the yogurt contains the beneficial bacteria. Ask your Publix Pharmacist which probiotic supplement is best for you.
NOTE: Studies are ongoing to determine the benefits of probiotic use. For now, regular use of probiotics in healthy adults is not necessary.
Constipation is a decrease in frequency of bowel movements. For most cases of simple constipation, a balanced diet, exercise, and adequate fluid intake are helpful. Successful treatment of constipation depends on careful identification of the cause.
Make some lifestyle changes to help avoid digestion issues and learn which episodes are serious matters.
Tips for better digestive health
- Eat a diet high in fiber
- Limit foods that are high in fat
- Choose lean meats
- Eat on a schedule
- Stay hydrated
- Skip habits like smoking, and avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Exercise regularly
- Manage stress
When to seek medical attention
- Severe stomach pain
- Continuous nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation or heartburn lasting more than 24 hours
- Difficulty or pain swallowing foods
- Chest pain or shoulder, arm, neck pain, with shortness of breath
- Light-headedness, sweating, dizziness accompanied by vomiting blood or black material or black tarry bowel movements
- Heartburn or indigestion while taking recommended dosages of nonprescription medications
- Unexplained weight loss
- Heartburn or indigestion after 2 weeks of continuous treatment with a nonprescription medications
- Chronic hoarseness, cough, choking, or wheezing
Berardi RR, Kroon LA, McDermott JH et al. Handbook of nonprescription drugs, an interactive approach to self-care. APhA Publications; 2006
Stock up on these products at Publix.
Alka-Seltzer®, Phillips' Colon Health®, & TruBiotics™
Alka-Seltzer® Original Effervescent
Enjoy fast relief from heartburn, indigestion, and pain with Alka-Seltzer®! Fast relief of:
Alka-Seltzer® Fruit Chews
- Upset stomach
- Acid indigestion with headache
- Body aches
Enjoy fast relief from heartburn with great-tasting Alka-Seltzer® Fruit Chews!
Phillips' Colon Health®
Helps support digestive health with a daily probiotic supplement.*
- Three types of probiotics
- Helps support digestive and immune health*
- Helps replenish the good bacteria in your digestive tract*
Helps support digestive and immune health:*
- By supporting the 70% of your immune system found in your digestive tract
- Helps replenish your body┐s good bacteria
|* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
MiraLAX® activates water to work in 3 ways.
To unblock your system naturally.
MiraLAX® is different from other laxatives.* It works with your body to provide effective relief from occasional constipation without causing harsh side effects—so you can have peace of mind from start to finish.
MiraLAX® is the #1 doctor-recommended laxative brand, including gastroenterologists.
MiraLAX® powder dissolves easily in water and other liquids, with no taste or grit. And it's available without a prescription.
Nothing works better than MiraLAX® for constipation relief.**
|* Excluding other polyethlene glycol 3350 laxatives.
** For relief without harsh side effects.
Sundown Naturals® Acidophilus XTRA contains 40 million live cells* per serving to support overall well-being.** Acidophilus is a friendly probiotic found naturally in the intestinal tract.
Sundown Naturals® Ultimate Probiotic Acidophilus supports the absorption of nutrients, encourages intestinal micro-flora balance (imbalance may lead to inefficient digestion), and promotes healthy functioning of intestinal and digestive systems.**
Sundown Naturals® Fiber Gummies supply your body with five grams of prebiotic inulin fiber per serving, supporting GI function** in delicious orange, cherry, grape, apple, lemon, and strawberry flavors.
Sundown Naturals® Papaya Enzyme
combines delicious fruit with supportive enzymes including papain, amylase, and protease. Papaya also supports protein digestion and food absorption.** Take regularly after meals or snacks to promote gastrointestinal wellness.**
* Providing 40 million colony-forming units at the time of manufacture.
|** These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.