Q & A: Digestive Problems

Q: Can you explain the difference between digestive issues in the stomach, small intestine and large intestine?”

Beth

A: One of the ways to distinguish where the problem in the digestive problem lies in the quality, timing and location of symptoms. Digestive problems that occur in the stomach are usually related to too much or too little stomach acid or damage to the protective mucous lining of the stomach. The symptoms of all 3 can be burning in the stomach. In addition, some of the symptoms of low stomach acid are excessive belching or aching 1-4 hours after eating, gas immediately following a meal, offensive breath, constipation, fullness during and after meals, difficulty digesting fruits and vegetables and undigested foods found in stools.

Excess stomach acid and disruption of the mucous membrane are harder to distinguish because they often co-exist. These symptoms include stomach pain, burning or aching 1-4 hours after meals , feeling hungry an hour or two after eating, heartburn when lying down or bending forward, temporary relief from antacids, food, milk,carbonated beverages, or rest and relaxation, and worsening due to spicy foods, chocolate, citrus, peppers, alcohol and caffeine.
Small intestine problems are usually related to low digestive enzymes, leaky gut or imbalanced gut flora.

Symptoms can include difficulty losing weight, soreness on left side under rib cage, bloating, excessive gas, nausea, foul smelling, greasy or poorly formed stool, with visible undigested food, and symptoms of leaky gut and candida, including but not limited to chronic or frequent fatigue, joint pain or swelling, arthritis, allergies, sinus congestion, skin rashes, asthma, confusion, poor memory or mood swings.Large intestine problems can be hard to distinguish from small intestine problems because there is overlap.

Some of the symptoms are feeling that bowels do not empty completely, lower abdominal pain relief by passing stool or gas, alternating or one of constipation and diarrhea, coated tongue or ”fuzzy” debris on tongue, or foul smelling gas.

Dr Ritamarie Loscalzo

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