At Gi Doc JHB, we know digestive problems can affect your quality of life. Dr. Schneider is dedicated to providing compassionate, comprehensive and personalized care for all patients.
We have the skills and resources to diagnose, treat, and manage the full range of digestive disorders in both children and adults.
Working closely with you and your primary care physician, board-certified gastroenterologist, Dr. Schneider will create a personalized plan tailored to your specific symptoms and needs.
Whenever possible, we opt for a non-invasive approach to care, from dietary and lifestyle changes to medications and nutritional therapy.
These techniques can often bring immediate relief from debilitating disorders.
We are a friendly and caring gastroenterology practice, treating patients in Johannesburg. We are dedicated to providing an outstanding quality of care and personal service.
Nutrition and intestinal function intimately complement each other. The chief purpose of the gut is to digest and absorb nutrients in order to maintain life.
In other words, diet is important for your digestive and overall health.
What you put in your stomach can make a difference in the health of your digestive system and be the difference between a healthy body and an unhealthy body.
For instance, some forms of gastritis are caused by drinking alcohol too often or too much at one time.
Avoiding some foods and beverages and eating others can help manage the condition.
For more information on the best foods for overall gut health, read this article.
Diagnosing Gastrointestinal Illnesses
Patients may be referred to a gastroenterologist for chronic disorders.
Specialists may be able to help the patient determine how to adjust their lifestyle, diet, medications, or manage their ongoing symptoms.
Symptoms of GI Problems
There are many different kinds of GI problems that can occur.
These problems can develop when your gastrointestinal system isn’t able to function as it should, which can be due to issues with your diet or other pre-existing illnesses.
There is a strong link between the foods you eat and the way your gastrointestinal system digests these foods.
The first sign of problems in the digestive tract often includes one or more of the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain in the belly
- Swallowing problems
- Weight gain or loss
Treatment for GI Problems
Before any treatment can be effective, it is important that a correct diagnosis is made. This can be complicated by the fact that many digestive disorders have similar symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
In many cases that are not life-threatening, doctors will recommend short-term medication (sometimes just to relieve symptoms or clear an infection) or a change in dietary habits, before considering surgery.
Once a correct diagnosis has been made, treatment can begin. Here’s more about possible treatments for digestive disorders:
Identifying problematic foods and lifestyle choices:
Certain conditions are triggered by particular foods, for instance, spicy food increases the level of discomfort experienced by those with stomach ulcers or GORD.
Your gastroenterologist will take a careful look at your diet and lifestyle and also possible food intolerances that you may have, and advise on changes you could make to help relieve the symptoms of whatever digestive disorder you may have.
In the case of bacterial or parasitic infections, a short information guide of antibiotics may be prescribed.
Antacids could be recommended for heartburn, and pain medication (from over-the-counter painkillers to those only available on prescription) for abdominal pain caused by any of the digestive disorders.
Certain conditions may require long-term medication and vigilance as far as diet is concerned. Anti-nausea medication and anti-diarrhoeal medication is available from the pharmacy without a prescription.
Some digestive disorders constitute a medical emergency, such as appendicitis.
These are usually accompanied by acute abdominal pain, as in the case of an abdominal obstruction, or a ruptured organ. Gastrointestinal bleeding can also be life-threatening and can require immediate surgery.
In cases of bleeding in the gastrointestinal systems, endoscopic treatment plays a major role in the diagnosis and management.
There are also endoscopic treatments available for reflux disease and achalasia, strictures in the gastrointestinal tract, removal of gall stones, etc.
Healthy Diet/Nutrition Habits to Follow
Some healthy nutrition habits you can work on building for better GI health include the following:
- Eat on a regular and consistent schedule rather than eating anytime you want or at random times of the day.
- Eat foods with probiotics, such as yoghurt, to boost the number of healthy bacteria in your digestive system.
- Eat foods that are high in fiber, such as beans, vegetables, and fruits, to keep your bowel movements regular.
- Eat until you’re full, but stop there so you won’t overload your digestive system.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially warm liquids, that promote healthy digestion.
Food Habits to Avoid
Some of the food habits that you should avoid include the following:
- Don’t eat your food fast, since slower eating supports better digestion.
- Avoid eating too much later on at night, especially before bedtime.
- Avoid taking a nap or going to bed right after you eat, since this also slows your digestive system.
- Avoid having fruits with other foods, which can lead to bloating.
- Chew all foods slowly and thoroughly to a mashed potato consistency. The more you chew your food, the easier it will be for your body to digest the food.
- Try to eat meals at regular intervals, i.e., eat every 3-4 hours. You should eat at least 3 meals a day.
- Drink at least 8 cups of water every day.
- Some people may continue to experience food sensitivities and may need to continue to avoid certain foods. If you cannot tolerate a food, avoid that food for a few weeks before you try it again.
- Eating a variety of healthy foods is important for good health.