Basic Gastrointestinal Education

Basic gastrointestinal education is very important if you wish to avoid preventable GI problems and diseases down the line. Dr. Ari Nowain, a Beverly Hills GI doctor, hopes that you will take heed of this educational page so that you can prevent gastrointestinal problems as you progress through life.

Stomach Health

It is important to take care of your stomach and learn what your body can and cannot digest. Granted some people may have a condition that is out of their control despite the best efforts to control diet and behaviors. However, for the majority of people, stomach problems can be controlled through diet and lifestyle modifications.

Peptic ulcers, also called stomach or duodenal ulcers, can be caused by the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, Aleve, and Aspirin) or from a bacterial infection (H. pylori) of the stomach. Therefore, it is best to limit your dosages of these drugs to protect the lining of your stomach and check for H. pylori if you have symptoms of abdominal pain.

Heartburn is very common in the U.S. It is estimated that over 60 million adults experience indigestion at least once a month, while an estimated 15 million adults experience heartburn daily. Fortunately, you can change your diet to decrease the occurrence of heartburn.

Diet changes to decrease heartburn: Avoid consuming foods that can increase the likelihood of developing heartburn:

  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods, fatty foods, chocolate
  • Peppermint
  • Tomato products
  • Carbonated drinks

Lifestyle changes to decrease occurrence of heartburn: 

  • Avoid smoking – it weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows stomach acid to rise, resulting in heartburn.
  • Smaller meals have been shown to help.
  • Reduce weight if you are obese.
  • Do not lie down right after meals. Try to eat about 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Elevate the head of your bed.
  • See a GI doctor if your symptoms to do not improve overtime. A doctor can prescribe a few different types of medication to improve your symptoms.

Healthy Digestion – Not everyone’s body is alike. Some people cannot tolerate certain foods and it is important to recognize when your body is having difficulty digesting foods. You may experience gas after a meal, intermittent diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain. Once you find out what foods your body cannot tolerate, you can plan to avoid those foods. This will cause you to feel physically better while your body will be under less stress. These are some of the most common foods that people have trouble digesting:

  • Dairy Products
  • Overly sweet food
  • Overly salty food
  • Spicy food
  • Processed foods
  • Fatty and fried food
  • Artificial sweeteners – i.e. Sweet N’ Low, Splenda, Equal, etc.
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Spoiled food

Colon Health

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S among men and women. In the United States, one in every twenty people will be diagnosed with colon cancer if they do not undergo a colonoscopy or an alternative colon cancer screening. Colon cancer has been decreasing over the past few years because of increased screening procedures and the removal of polyps. If diagnosed early, colon cancer is very treatable.

Things you can do for a healthy colon:

  • Eat fiber – or take a fiber supplement.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables to promote regularity.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • If you are over 50 (or over 45 in African Americans), have regular colonoscopy screenings.
  • If you have a family history of colon cancer, it is recommended to begin screenings at an earlier age. It is best to discuss this with your doctor as each person has different risk factors.

Contact a GI Doctor in Beverly Hills

The Center for GI Health places a lot of importance on preventative care and colon cancer screening. If you would like to find out more information about how to prevent colon cancer and other cancers of the digestive tract, please call 310-657-4444 or contact us.