That full bloated feeling at the end of the day might not be just the end result of a big meal.
Professor Gerald Holtmann, Director Gastroenterology at Princess Alexandra Hospital said many highly prevalent gastrointestinal diseases typically manifest in people over 40, including gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, diverticula of the colon, or GI malignancies.
Even if symptoms such as bloating, constipation, reflux and other digestive complaints are minimal there could be something bigger going on behind the scenes.
“Gut sensitivity diminishes with age so elderly patients frequently have less severe symptoms,” Professor Gerald Holtmann says.
“While symptoms are more prevalent, there is the risk that pathology such as ulcers cause only minimal symptoms.”
In the past, he has seen over 60s patients presenting with peptic ulcers and life-threatening GI bleeding after experiencing only very mild symptoms.
“These situations could have been avoided if patients presented with their symptoms to their GP so appropriate tests and treatment could have been started.”
Symptoms can also be early signs of significant underlying disease.
“New onset of difficulties to swallow, pain, nausea, changes of bowel habits, visible blood mixed in the stool, unintended weight loss and ongoing diarrhoea can be signs of significant underlying diseases that should be addressed as soon as possible,” Professor Holtman says.
As well as making sure you have a thorough medical, there are plenty of ways you can deal with the symptoms… and it can be as simple as a drink before bedtime
Skip the alcohol and instead make a few different choices to help you have a good night’s sleep and get some relief from your digestive woes.
Water is essential for keeping your digestive tract functioning as it should. When you don’t get enough it can leave you constipated. It is also sugar free and contains no calories, so it should be your number one choice for liquid, not just before bed but all throughout the day.
Yoghurt containing bacteria replenishes the normal flora within the gastrointestinal tract. Drinking yoghurt is great after any meal to help with digestion but can also help keep you feeling full and stop any late night snacking.
Ginger helps to relieve nausea, vomiting, motion sickness, morning sickness, gas, loss of appetite, and colic. Keep the doses small otherwise it can lead to heartburn. There are lots of tea varieties available containing ginger, but you can easily make your own fresh versions.
- Green tea
- Ginger root
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Honey or stevia to sweeten
- Finely chop ginger root
- Infuse in green tea, boiling for 20 minutes
- Add lemon juice and sweetener
- Can be served hot or cold
Turmeric is known for being an anti-inflammatory but it also helps with indigestion and gas buildup. As a bonus, it can also help with gastric ulcers and haemorrhoids.
Here is a recipe that helps to ease your digestive system and give you a good nights sleep. Makes enough for two.
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (helps absorption)
- Sliced ginger
- Raw honey (sweeten to taste)
- Add all ingredients (except honey) to a saucepan and whisk
- Heat until bubbles start to appear
- Simmer for 5 minutes on low heat
- Strain out ginger
- Add honey