Digestive Problems: 10 Tips for Daily Life
3. A Balanced Diet Keeps Digestion on Track
Eating right can help prevent digestive problems or soothe your system when
problems flare up. Follow your doctor’s instructions on what to eat and what to
avoid. Pay attention to portion sizes, as well as how often and how quickly you
What to eat depends partly on the specific cause of your digestive problems
as well as what foods you’re sensitive to. Here are some general guidelines to
keep in mind:
- Gradually add more fiber to your diet. Fiber-rich foods add bulk to your
stools, which helps regulate your digestion. Increase your fiber intake
gradually to prevent bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
- Eat several small meals throughout the day to prevent the sudden bowel
contractions that large meals can cause.
4. Stay Hydrated, but Drink with Care
Water is essential to good health and normal bowel function. Water also
helps keep stools soft but solid and well-formed. Avoid drinking beverages such
as coffee or soda if you think they trigger your digestive problems.
When diarrhea strikes, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid
becoming dehydrated. Water and sports drinks (which replace lost minerals
called electrolytes) are good choices. Caffeine and alcohol can worsen
Increase your fluid intake in hot weather and any time you exercise
vigorously. Drinking water helps prevent dehydration, a potentially dangerous
imbalance where your body loses more water than it takes in.
To prevent “traveler’s diarrhea,” avoid potentially contaminated water and
anything that might have come into contact with water. Sip bottled water,
juice, or sports drinks when you’re on the road. Remember that contaminated
water may be used to make ice and popsicles, coffee, or tea, and to rinse raw
fruit and vegetables.
5. Practice Healthy Hygiene for Better Digestion
Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after you use the
bathroom and before eating or preparing food. This helps prevent transmitting
potentially dangerous bacteria to your food.
If diarrhea causes pain or itching, try using premoistened, alcohol-free
towelettes (not harsh soap) to clean the anal area. Keep the skin dry by
wearing cotton underwear and loose, comfortable clothes that breathe.