Gut Health

Digestive Health

It is important to keep your gut healthy. For more information on digestive health visit NHS Choices.

Indigestion

Indigestion also known as heartburn or dyspepsia is a discomfort in the stomach usually a burning sensation, feeling sick, burping, bloating or belching usually after food due to inflammation of the stomach lining, which can be triggered by:

Certain medical conditions can cause it such as:

You can usually manage indigestion at home by seeing your pharmacist. However, if it gets worse or does not improve, please consult with your doctor, especially if you have the following symptoms:

  • unexplained weight loss
  • unexplained and continual symptoms of indigestion for the first time and you’re 55 or older
  • black tarry stools that have an unusual smell
  • difficulty swallowing
  • frequent vomiting or blood in your vomit
  • shortness of breath and sweating

For more information on indigestion visit NHS Choices.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a long-term condition that causes reoccurring pain or discomfort in your abdomen (tummy), bloating and an altered bowel habit. The exact reasons why you may develop IBS aren’t fully understood.

There is no cure for IBS but there are treatments that can help to improve your symptoms. These include making changes to your lifestyle, taking medicines and psychological treatments. Please see your pharmacist and these leaflets to help you manage your symptoms:

Please consult with your doctor if your symptoms persist, especially if you also have:

  • weight loss
  • blood or mucus in your faeces
  • bowel problems that first develop after age 50
  • a family history of bowel problems
  • diarrhoea that lasts longer than six weeks
  • anaemia

For more information and support on IBS see these websites:

Diverticular Disease

Diverticular disease is a common condition affecting your digestive system. It occurs when small pouches, called diverticula, are pushed out through the wall of your bowel. Most people with diverticula won’t have any problems.  If your diverticula become inflamed and infected, this is known as diverticulitis. Symptoms of diverticular disease are usually pain in the lower tummy or cramping, bloating and change in your bowel habit. Diverticular disease is not a serious condition and is NOT related to bowel cancer.

For more information visit NHS Choices.

Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition that affects your small bowel. Your body reacts to gluten, a protein found in certain foods like bread and pasta, causing inflammation. Symptoms of coeliac disease can vary from being mild to severe – or you may not have any symptoms at all. Symptoms may include change in bowel habit, nausea, bloating, excessive wind, tummy cramps or pain.

There isn’t a cure for coeliac disease but if you eat a diet that doesn’t contain gluten (a gluten-free diet) this should make your symptoms go away. You may find your symptoms disappear in as little as a few weeks after you cut gluten out completely.

Gluten is found in all foods that are made using wheat, barley or rye. As a general guide, don’t eat bread, pastry, cakes, pasta, pizza bases, biscuits, most cereals or processed foods, such as sausages, soups and sauces. See these leaflets for more advice on gluten free diets:

For more information and advice on celiac disease visit NHS Choices.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an autoimmune condition causing inflammation of your bowel where your body’s own immune system attacks elements of the digestive system. There are two types of IBD:

Symptoms include tummy pain, chronic diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, tiredness and weight loss. IBD is a complex disease which arises as a result of the interaction of environmental and genetic factors. There is no cure for IBD but there are medication which can improve your symptoms and disease process. Here is some diet advice for IBD from NHS Choices.

For more information on IBD visit NHS Choices.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. There are two types of pancreatitis: acute – when the pancreas is inflamed and causes short-term illness – and chronic – when the pancreas is irreversibly damaged and causes ongoing, long-term illness or bouts of acute symptoms. The most common cause of pancreatitis is drinking alcohol and gallstones.

Acute Pancreatitis

Chronic Pancreatitis

Liver Disease

For more information on liver disease:

Gall Bladder Disease

Gall Bladder Disease Includes:

See this leaflet on Gall bladder disease diet advice.