Articles by Natural Health Author Jaime A. Heidel
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Top 5 Causes of Chronic Stomach Pain
by Jaime A. Heidel
(The Best Years in Life) Do you live with chronic stomach pain? Lots of people do. The amount of “stomach remedies” you can find at the pharmacy is proof enough of that. I mean, there’s an entire aisle dedicated to the stuff!
If chronic stomach pain is getting in the way of your life, knowing these common causes can help you skip the quick-fix route, and treat your condition at home.
1. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease, also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a condition that affects approximately 1 in every 100 people. It is an autoimmune disease that causes an inability to digest a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye.
When someone with celiac disease eats even trace amounts of gluten, their immune system responds by attacking their intestines. This causes chronic inflammation, diarrhea, lower stomach pain, and nutrient malabsorption.
Other symptoms of gluten intolerance include muscle aches, chronic fatigue, dermatitis, sinusitis, mood swings, insomnia, and brain fog. There is no cure for celiac disease, but it can be effectively managed through a lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet.
Important Note: If you believe you have an intolerance to gluten, a blood test may reveal a false negative.
The best way to tell if this common food intolerance is causing your stomach pain is to remove all traces of gluten from your diet for at least one month. Then load up on gluten-based foods on the 31st day to test for a reaction.
If you’re intolerant to gluten, those symptoms that were beginning to fade away will return full force!
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is not a well-understood condition, though it affects millions of people, especially women under the age of 40. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include stomach pain (which is usually relieved by a bowel movement), frequent changes in bowel habits that coincide with stressful situations, chronic gas, and mucous in stools.
You can treat irritable bowel syndrome at home by eating more fiber-rich foods and supplementing with a high-quality probiotic. Probiotics are the active cultures found in fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut. These cultures populate your gut and can help cut down on inflammation and chronic stomach pain.
3. Stomach Ulcer
Chronic stomach pain can also be the result of a stomach ulcer. A stomach ulcer is a perforation in the lining of the stomach or intestine.
Most ulcers are caused by a bacterium called H. pylori. H. pylori affects approximately 50 percent of the population (though 80 percent of infected individuals experience no symptoms). For the other unfortunate 20 percent, however, this bacterium can cause serious problems.
Symptoms of a stomach ulcer include pain behind the sternum (especially after eating), morning stomach pain, indigestion, frequent burping, nausea, and even vomiting.
A stomach ulcer is often treated with a series of antibiotics and antacids. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best course of action. In fact, it can make a stomach ulcer much worse.
To treat a stomach ulcer at home, try adding a high-quality probiotic supplement. Also, cut the junk food out of your diet, and trade it in for whole-foods such as fiber-rich beans, organic steamed vegetables, brown rice, gluten-free oatmeal, and gut-healing soups and stews.
4. Acid Reflux Disease
Acid reflux disease is a common cause of chronic stomach pain. It may surprise you to know that the cause of acid reflux is not too much acid in the stomach but too little. This is why conventional treatment methods are ineffective in curing the condition.
Antacids and proton pump inhibitors only further reduce the stomach acid it needs to digest food. Instead of suppressing the acid in your stomach, try enhancing it.
Drink one teaspoon of raw, organic apple cider vinegar before each meal. Alternatively, you can take a digestive enzyme supplement before meals to reduce your acid reflux symptoms.
5. Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a serious inflammatory bowel disease caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the lower intestine as though it were a foreign invader. Over time, this leads to ulcerated sores.
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include crampy stomach pain, frequent and loose bowel movements, blood in the stool, and low-grade fever.
The most important factor in the treatment of ulcerative colitis is finding out why your immune system is attacking your intestines in the first place. Oftentimes, this condition is caused by gluten intolerance and/or excessive consumption of highly-processed foods.
Reduce your symptoms by eating a whole-food diet. You should also add a probiotic supplement to reduce inflammation and heal your ravaged gut. Turmeric is also beneficial for this purpose.
You don’t have to live with chronic stomach pain. Even if you’ve been struggling with it for years, it doesn’t have to be your normal.
Learning the cause of your symptoms is half the battle. Once you've done that, you'll be able to use a combination of whole food, supplements, and stress reduction techniques to finally put your condition into remission.
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