Did you know that 25 percent of adults suffer pain and discomfort from digestive issues?
(BlackDoctor.org) –Did you know that some digestive disorders are more prevalent in men than in women? While some digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, are more common in women, a number of digestive problems hit men hard. Here are four digestive problems that are common in men and suggestions for relief.
Acid Reflux and GERD
Acid reflux, the result of stomach acid flowing up into the esophagus, can cause burning pain under the breastbone, a sour taste in the mouth and sometimes regurgitation. Acid reflux is often called heartburn. It’s caused by a lazy or confused sphincter, the muscle that separates the esophagus and stomach. Either the sphincter doesn’t stay closed or it opens at the wrong time, allowing acid to flow upward and irritate the lining of the esophagus. The discomfort of acid reflux can be worse after heavy meals, ingesting caffeinated drinks and alcohol, and if you lie down too soon after eating.
To help prevent the pain of acid reflux, steer clear of greasy and spicy foods, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol. Also, be sure to eat dinner two hours or more before bedtime. If you have acid reflux occasionally, it’s fine to take chewable antacids or over-the-counter acid reducers, such as histamine-2 blockers (Zantac, Pepcid) and Prilosec (omeprazole). But if acid reflux flares up more than twice a week, see your doctor. You could have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Left untreated, GERD can increase the risk for esophageal cancer in some people. Prescription medication, along with lifestyle changes, will usually ease GERD symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be needed for GERD.
Ulcers are painful, open sores that form on the stomach or duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine). For unknown reasons, ulcers occur more frequently in men. That’s especially true of duodenal ulcers. They’re twice as common in men.
The most frequently reported ulcer symptom is a gnawing pain in the abdomen, which can wake anyone from sleep. In the past, ulcers were incorrectly thought to be from stress. But we now know that ulcers are caused by a certain type of bacteria, as well as overuse of pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen.
Be sure to see your doctor if you suspect an ulcer. When an ulcer is left untreated, digestive juices and stomach acid can eat a hole in the intestinal lining, causing excruciating pain that may require hospitalization and surgery. Prescription medication can help heal the ulcer, but it may take several months. For day-to-day relief, eat small meals throughout the day (ulcers hurt less when there’s food in your stomach) and nix the ibuprofen and aspirin. You can forget those old rules about eating a bland diet. There’s no evidence that helps.