Disease - Conditions

Myth: Digestion Happens in the Stomach

Most of us have some general sense of how digestion works. We consume food, and our internal organs break it down. But because most people don't have an in-depth understanding of the digestive process, several myths have become popular. In this article, we're going to debunk the myth that digestion happens in the stomach.

Our digestive tract is a complex system with many components that interact with each other and the rest of our body. It’s also very adaptable to what we consume, and doesn’t need specific food combinations or “cleanses” to keep working at its best. Here is a myth about digestion, debunked by Dr. Bhatti.

How Digestion Works

When you eat food it passes through a series of organs on its way through the body - the stomach is only one of those stops. Here is a quick breakdown of how it works:

  • The Mouth. When food enters the mouth, tastes and smells alert the rest of the digestive system that food is on its way.
  • The Esophagus. Once you swallow, the food slides down the esophagus, which brings everything to the stomach. 
  • The Stomach. The stomach drenches the food in an acid wash. This helps to kill microbes and partially unravel proteins. 
  • The Small Intestine. This is where most of the digestive action happens. Enzymes breaks down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into their components. Then, they are transported throughout the body where needed. 
  • The Large Intestine. In the large intestine,, trillions of microbes devour what we couldn’t—mainly fiber and other “prebiotic” carbohydrates. 

So that's the digestive process in a nutshell. If you have any questions about the digestive system or how it works, contact Dr. Bhatti today!

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Common Causes of Stomach Pain after Eating

That little “tummy ache” could be attributed to eating too much or too fast, but it could also be a sign of a more serious health problem. In this article, we take a look at the possible causes of stomach pain after eating.

Over Eating

Stomach pain is often caused by simply eating your food too quickly. When you overeat, you might not take the time to chew through your food properly and you might notice that the food generally disappears from your plate very quickly. Take your time and chew slowly when you eat.

Food Intolerances

It is estimated that nearly 20% of the population is intolerant or sensitive to certain foods. Stomach pain and cramping are common symptoms of food intolerances or sensitivities, which are often associated with dairy, gluten, nuts, yeast, and tomatoes.

Food Allergies

Dairy products, nuts, eggs, peanut butter, soy, corn, wheat, and gluten are common food allergies that can cause symptoms such as stomach pain. A food elimination diet or an allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody test can be conducted to determine whether you are allergic to a particular food or substance.

Celiac Disease

Stomach pain is a common symptom of celiac disease. The condition is characterized by gluten sensitivity. People with celiac disease will immediately react to a specific protein found in gluten called gliadin—it is found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

This is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects approximately 15% of the population. Some symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, cramping, abdominal pain, or stomach pain after eating. Candida, food allergies, and food sensitivities are also associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

Pancreatitis

Stomach pain after eating can also indicate pancreatitis, especially when the pain lasts for over six hours. Pancreatitis is known as pancreas inflammation. People with pancreatitis will experience pain that begins around the upper abdomen; the pain will then spread to the back. Other pancreatitis symptoms include fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is a condition where pouches in the colon become inflamed from bacteria. The pouches are also known as cysts or diverticula. Some symptoms include fever, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, nausea, bowel habit changes, and cramping pain, especially around the lower left area of the abdomen. Stomach pain after eating is also common.

Intestinal Obstruction

When there is a blockage in your colon or small intestine, it can be difficult for foods to be digested properly. When you eat too fast, large pieces of food may not be broken down. A hernia or tumor can also lead to intestinal obstruction.

Chronic Candida

Abdominal pain can also be a symptom of chronic candida—a condition also known as yeast overgrowth. Other common symptoms associated with candida include chronic fatigue, bloating, gas, and depression.

Heartburn

Heartburn is also sometimes referred to as acid reflux, or acid indigestion. Heartburn is the result of too little stomach acid, and it can produce burning chest pain after eating. The pain may only last a few minutes, or up to several hours. Stomach pain after eating can also be attributed to gallstones, eating spicy foods, a stomach flu, lactose intolerance, food poisoning, appendicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, Crohn’s disease, and peptic ulcers. Stomach pain after eating may also be the result of a blocked blood vessel.

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5 Simple Steps to Start Eating Healthier Today

"You are what you eat" - or so the old saying goes. It's remarkable just how much truth there is to that old proverb. What we eat has significant impacts on our overall health. With that in mind, hHere are five quick and easy steps to start improving your health through your diet today!

1. Moderation is Key

The foremost step in eating healthy is learning to relish all your preferred foods in moderation. That doesn't mean you have to cut out all of your favorite foods in one fell swoop. It's all about balance. Give your body the nutrients it requires, while simultaneously pleasing your taste buds. 

2. Eat the Rainbow

Here's a fun tip - eat meals that look like the rainbow! Now that doesn't mean you should eat a dinner of Skittles. We're talking about foods that have natural color like fruits and vegetables. A good rule of thumb is to eat double the amount of vegetables and fruits as you do carbs and proteins. 

3. Don’t Cut Out Meals!

Don't skip out on important meals. Roughly 4-6 hours after you eat, all of the following starts to occur:

  • Your brain begins to experience a shortage of fuel
  • You start to feel tired, moody, or irritable
  • Your cognitive functions decline - impacting your attention, concentration, and memory

If you know you get hungry at certain times, pack a healthy snack to help control your hunger until your next meal. 

4. Drink Lots of Water

Water is essential for aiding digestion and other body parts. When you're fully hydrated you will feel less fatigue, look younger, and feel full longer, which saves you from feeding when your body isn’t hungry.

5. Eat Whole Grains

Whole grains contain healthy fibers, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are removed from processed grains. Eating a well-balanced meal that includes whole grains has been demonstrated to decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

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Relief From Heartburn

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Heartburn is the most common symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Other symptoms of GERD include the regurgitation of food, a burning sensation in the chest or throat, difficulty swallowing, and sometimes chest pain. Please note that there can be similarities between heartburn and heart attack symptoms. If you have chest pain that lasts for more than a few minutes or any warning signs of a heart attack. seek immediate medical attention.

Foods that Trigger Heartburn

There are a number of common culprits that cause heartburn including fatty foods, late night meals and overeating. A loaded cheeseburger at 10pm is not a good idea if you’re prone to heartburn. Specific foods that are known to cause heartburn include:

  • Onions, garlic, mustard and other spicy foods/condiments
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges
  • Caffeinated drinks including, coffee, tea and soft drinks
  • Peppermint
  • Tomatoes

Some medications and some forms of exercise can also set off heartburn.

Relieving Heartburn

Relieving the symptoms of heartburn starts by being aware of the foods or activities that trigger heartburn for you:

  • Avoid specific foods and beverages that you know cause discomfort.
  • Consider a diet if you’re overweight. Extra weight increases pressure on your stomach, forcing more acid into the esophagus.
  • Eat 4–6 small meals instead of 2-3 large meals.
  • Research options for over-the-counter medications.

Minnesota GERD Doctor

Depending on the severity of your heartburn and other symptoms, treatment for heartburn and other GERD-related symptoms may include lifestyle changes, medicines, or surgery. If lifestyle changes or medication don't help, Dr. Bhatti may perform an EGD to biopsy or obtain images of your upper GI tract. Contact us today at Bhatti Gi clinics (located in Chaska and Edina) to set up your appointment and get to the bottom of your GERD.

 
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Exercise to Promote Good Digestion

You probably know that eating fruits, vegetables, and foods that are high in fiber can help your digestion. But exercise can also help optimize your digestive process. Exercise improves blood flow throughout the body – including your digestive tract.  

The Importance of Exercise

A consistent exercise routine will help keep your digestive process moving and can alleviate constipation, gas, and bloating. Different types of exercise have different effects on the body. For example, riding a bike or breathing exercises can help reduce heartburn. Certain yoga poses like gentle twists can stimulate your abdominal organs. But the best kind of exercise is the exercise you enjoy because you will be more motivated to get moving. National recommendations for physical activity say that adults should exercise about 150 minutes per week. That is less than ½ hour per day – and enough for your digestive health.

Alternatively, some types of extreme exercise can have negative effects on digestion. Endurance athletes often report gastrointestinal issues such as is nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea. It’s important to talk with a doctor before implementing a new exercise regimen, especially if you have health issues.  

MN Digestion Doctors

Eating right, exercising and staying hydrated are all important parts of general health that impact your digestion. Please contact us at Bhatti GI anytime you have questions or concerns about your digestive health. Our primary clinics are located in Chaska and Edina, but we help patients throughout the Twin Cities metro area: 952-368-3800

 

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Your Digestive System And How It Works

Every time we eat or drink something, our digestive system goes to work to help our bodies absorb the nutrients we need
to stay strong and healthy. In this article, we are going to briefly explain how the human digestive system works.

The Mouth

It all starts in our mouth. As we chew our food, saliva is produced and our food starts to break down. Once swallowed,
food moves down our esophagus and into our stomach.

The Stomach

The stomach is a curved organ that stretches when we eat or drink, and connects the esophagus to the small intestine. Muscles at the top of our stomach relax to let food enter while muscles at the bottom of our stomach go to work to mix the contents of our stomach with digestive juices or acids that primarily break down proteins. 

The Small Intestine

Next, the contents of the stomach, which is now called chyme, enters the small intestine. Digestive juices created by the small intestine, along with bile from the liver (which is stored in the gallbladder) and enzymes from the pancreas all go to work to further break down the food into carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The walls of the small intestine absorb these nutrients and – via the bloodstream - deliver these nutrients to cells throughout the body. Meanwhile, the remaining chyme passes into the large intestine.

The Small Intestine

Once in the large intestine (also called the colon), there are very few nutrients left in the chyme. Water and electrolytes are removed and microbes go to work to continue the digestive process. What’s left now is waste, which passes through the final part of the large intestine, called the rectum and exits through the anus.

This vital and amazing process takes place every time we eat or drink. And the nutrients absorbed into our bodies through digestion help all parts of our body - from our organs to our hormones. You can help keep your digestive system working well by drinking lots of water and eating a healthy diet that has lots of fiber-rich foods like fruit and vegetables.

Minnesota Gastroenterolgy Clinic

As a gastroenterology clinic, we specialize in caring for people who have digestive issues. Please contact a Bhatti GI doctor if you have concerns about your digestive health. We have clinics located in Chaska and Edina, but provide care to patients throughout the Twin Cities.

 

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