Does your stomach “talk” to you? Maybe it is and you’re just not listening.

Everyone has those days where they just know something isn’t right in their gut. Maybe you ate something that doesn’t agree with you and causing heartburn or indigestion. Maybe you got a virus that’s causing nausea and vomiting, or maybe the bacterial balance in your gut is off causing you to have bloating and excess gas. There are many factors that can affect gut health. If you experience stomach issues more than twice a week then, perhaps, it’s time to take a closer look at what is causing it and think about what you are doing to fix it that may be doing more harm than good.

Let’s look at 5 ways you’re making mistakes trying to solve your health problems on your own.

#1 Ignoring It

Many people think that unless a problem is causing them to not be able to function that it is not very important. They may have bouts of severe heartburn or diarrhea on a weekly basis, but because it doesn’t cause them to miss work, they write it off as age or something that doesn’t need immediate attention.

Unfortunately, when these symptoms go unchecked it can often make matters worse. Leaving a stomach issue unchecked can cause severe long term damage.

#2 Using over-the-counter (OTC) medicines

Don’t get me wrong, OTC meds are great to have around the house for those occasional cases of vomiting or, when you eat a spicy dinner and now, have a bad case of heartburn. However, those are for occasional use.

All too often people get in the habit of using these medications on a daily basis. The problem with this is these medicines just mask the underlying problem by treating the symptoms. In the long run this does more damage.  Because it also masks the symptoms, these OTCs could leave you in the dark while those major issues only get worse.

#3 Cutting healthy foods from your diet

It is easy to blame gut issues on things in your diet. Sometimes this IS the problem. Eating fatty, fried foods or foods with a high acid content can mess with the bacterial balance in your gut.

We all have bacteria in our gut that helps with digestion and needs to be kept in check to avoid tummy troubles. Some people have stomach issues after they eat vegetables and fruits which causes them to cut them from their diet as much as possible.

Unfortunately, as we all know, fruits and vegetables are vital for our health. They contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for our overall well being. Again, it is best to find the underlying cause of what is causing your problems before making changes to your diet.

#4 Drinking highly caffeinated beverages

I know, this one is tough to hear. A large majority of people start out their day with a cup of coffee or two…or ten. Then have some sort of caffeinated beverage with lunch or dinner.

The problem with too much caffeine and gut health is the impact it has long term. Caffeine acts as a laxative. This can aggravate an already upset bowel and, because your digestion is being rushed, you will not be getting everything you need from the food you eat. Also, another thing to keep in mind is how highly acidic caffeine is. This can cause irritation of the intestinal lining and result in ulcers and gastritis.

#5 Not seeing a doctor

The biggest mistake people make when treating their gut issues is not seeing their doctor. If you have stomach or bowel issues on a regular basis it is best to see your doctor and find out what the underlying issue is. It is very easy to blame it on stress or diet and take an antacid, however, this is most likely doing more harm to your body than you think.

For instance, an occasional bout of heartburn is normal, especially after a heavy meal or a stressful day but, over time, heartburn can permanently damage the lining of your esophagus that may require surgery. In these types of cases, the damage could have been prevented by seeing a doctor and finding out the underlying cause of the heartburn in the first place.

When you have recurring gut issues, instead of trying to fix the problem yourself, and having to deal with the hits and misses of home remedies, make an appointment with your doctor. This is the only way to find out for sure what is going on and what you need to do to fix the problem.

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