Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Seasonal Digestive Distress: 10 Tips for Coping

    By
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    End of summer and early fall is a time for barbecue, seaside clambakes, and fair food. And unless we’re careful, we suffer some unpleasant results: stomachaches, nausea, heartburn, and constipation or diarrhea.

    Outdoor events can trigger digestive problems in a number of ways:

    Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

    Understanding Cirrhosis of the Liver

    Cirrhosis is a serious degenerative disease that occurs when healthy cells in the liver are damaged and replaced by scar tissue, usually as a result of alcohol abuse or chronic hepatitis. As liver cells give way to tough scar tissue, the organ loses its ability to function properly. Severe damage can lead to liver failure and possibly death. Cirrhosis poses another danger as well: Dense scarring slows the normal flow of blood through the liver, causing blood to find alternate pathways to return...

    Read the Understanding Cirrhosis of the Liver article > >

    • Picnic and party food can spoil in the heat.
    • We may over-exercise.
    • And it’s easy to become dehydrated.

    What can you do? Here, gastroenterologists offer five ways to avoid digestive problems, followed by five ways to deal with digestive trouble once you have it.

    5 Ways to Avoid Digestive Problems

    1. Eat Smaller, Frequent Meals. If you want to prevent indigestion, eat smaller, more frequent meals, writes gastroenterologist Cynthia M. Yoshida, MD, in her book No More Digestive Problems. In the case of a great picnic or barbecue, try starting with small portions of your favorite foods.

    2. Take It Slow. Taste your food, savor it, and space it out. Practice mindful eating, and talk and socialize, says Gerard E. Mullin, MD, associate professor of medicine and director of integrative GI nutrition services at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. "If you overwhelm your stomach -- and the more you eat the more you slow it down -- you'll feel gas, bloating and discomfort." Here’s one good way to help yourself slow down: Cut your food into small pieces, then chew each piece well.

    Going slow refers to physical activity, too. Mullin suggests that if you exercise for more than 45 minutes, wait an hour before you eat so that the blood diverted to your muscles has time to return to your stomach, where it's needed to help digest your food.

    3. Store Food Safely. The waning sun feels great on your skin, but it also allows bacteria to thrive on food. There are about 76 million cases of food-borne illness in the U.S. each year, says the CDC. Common symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, and other digestive problems.

    Keep cold foods cold, hot foods hot, and if you have doubts about that salad, steak, or picnic bounty, pass it up. Hot foods should be kept at 140 degrees or warmer. Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees or colder. Perishable food should not be kept at room temperature for longer than two hours.

    1 | 2 | 3
    Next Article:

    What triggers your digestive distress?