America’s Digestive Problems on the Rise

08. 08. 2016

Heartburn, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease. If it seems like you’re hearing more about these digestive issues today than you have in the past, it’s probably not in your head. A recent analysis by the consumer health care company Amino found that digestive problems are on the rise in the United States, and experts tend to agree.

Gastroenterologist Benjamin Lebwohl, M.D., says that more individuals are seeing their doctor for treatment of digestive problems, and influx is due to increased prevalence of digestive issues rather than patients being overly cautious. Blood screening studies confirm an increased prevalence of Celiac disease over time, and there appears to be more incidences of acid reflux now than there have been in the past.

“There is something in the environment that is triggering Celiac disease. Perhaps it is some dietary change in recent decades, perhaps it is something like increased antibiotic used in recent decades,” Dr. Lebwohl says.

As for the increase of acid reflux, Dr. Lebwohl suggests that changes to our diet or changes in our gut bacteria may be responsible.

For patients with Celiac disease, the only known treatment is to follow a strict, gluten-free diet. However, for patients with gluten sensitivity, the solution can be a little trickier. Avoiding gluten may help with symptoms like bloating and lethargy, but Dr. Lebwohl warns that gluten-free diets tend to be higher in fat and calories and may also be deficient in B-vitamins (Source: CBS New York).

While some digestive conditions are without cure, the majority of them can be managed and treated through lifestyle changes, dietary modifications and medications. If you are suffering from digestive issues or problematic symptoms, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor or gastroenterologist. A consult with your doctor is the first step towards identifying the problem and determining the best course of treatment.

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