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Dec 20, 2012

Healthy Living’s digests the facts about indigestion

For many of us, Christmas is a time of indulgence, an occasion to catch up with family, build new memories, enjoy experiences of laughter and joy and – most definitely – enjoy some great food and drinks. If you’ve been counting down to the ham and turkey and all the other Christmas treats, this week’s healthy living offers some advice on how to reduce the pesky effects of overeating.  Gastroenterologist, Doctor Irvin Gabourel shares his knowledge on indigestion.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

No matter how many times we promise ourselves to take it easy on the Christmas feasting; most of us are guilty of overindulging. The problem usually is the all that rich and decadent food can often times be very cruel to our stomachs. We’re not talking about the extra few pounds that may sneak up but the uncomfortable feeling of indigestion that follows.

 

Dr. Irvin Gabourel, Gastroenterologist

Irvin Gabourel

“First let’s clear up what is indigestion. Indigestion is a common term used by patients to describe a variety of symptoms none of which really is the cause of the indigestion. So you can have a patient coming in talking about bloating, talking about an early felling getting full after a meal. They feel distended, pain or reflux. That indigestion then we translates into a condition called Dyspepsia.”

 

Dyspepsia can include a variety of symptoms: abdominal pain specifically above the navel, burping, nausea which may include vomiting, bloating, early satiety or a distended stomach.  It differs per individual and as uncomfortable as it makes you it is not life threatening.

 

Dr. Irvin Gabourel

“Dyspepsia, t is one of the number cause of visits to the primary care physicians and gastroenterologists. It is said that this can occur between twenty-five percent of the population suffers from dyspepsia at least once a year. That can vary between thirteen to forty percent depending on where you are in the world. Just as it appears, it goes away. You have to look at what gives you dyspepsia. Some people will get dyspepsia after having a greasy meal, some will suffer after eating a very spicy meal, then you can relate to what is actually causing it.”

 

As for the holiday, larger food portions, very rich food, and lack of fiber area all contributing factors to dyspepsia over the holiday. Also, to be blamed is excessive stress.

 

Dr. Irvin Gabourel

“During Christmas time we tend to socialize a lot we go visit different homes and families and wherever we go they want to feed you; that’s our tradition. So we may eat a little more than we usually do. So my recommendation is for our listeners today to eat in small amounts; pace your time between meals. Instead of having your big meals, you can have five small meals which would be easier to digest.  Some psycho social we can call them. Some people that are under stress can suffer a lot of dyspepsia but as a specialist is to rule out any organic causes.”

 

If you suffer from stomach discomfort, traditional over the counter medications should work fine. Roll out your Tums or Rolaids and you should be fine. Otherwise, keep a mental note of your triggers and try to avoid them.

 

Dr. Irvin Gabourel

“The person themselves will have to know what food or drinks will trigger these bouts of dyspepsia. You have patients who after drinking a couple drinks of alcohol will start with reflux or with gastric pain.  So we know then that you as a person and who is responsible of your own health should be responsible for.”

 

If the discomfort persists for longer than three months you should seek medical advice.

 

Dr. Irvin Gabourel

“When the pain is not going away with regular medication when you’re losing weight and you don’t want to lose weight, when you rat seeing black stools, when you start having excruciating pain that before was just minimal and it’s not going away. Then I think those are red flag symptoms or signs that you could look for then that patient should consult.”

 

If you’re looking to break that holiday tradition of indigestion then don’t overload on portions of food or alcohol.  Otherwise, enjoy the holidays, and the food, without discomfort.

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