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Seasonal Digestive Distress: 10 Tips for Coping

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5 Ways to Avoid Digestive Problems continued...

4. Avoid Fried and Acidic Foods. To prevent gas, bloating, and other symptoms of overindulgence, limit or avoid these types of food: 

  • Fatty food, like fried foods and cheese, which take longer to digest and increase risk for heartburn
  • Gassy foods, like sodas and beans
  • Acidic foods, like citrus, tomatoes, colas, tea, and coffee, which can lead to heartburn 

5. Hydrate. When it's warm out, you want to be sure you're getting enough fluids. Yet you don't want to gulp down glass after glass, which can cause you to swallow air, leading to bloating and gas. Dehydration can lead to constipation and nausea. Drink sensibly before you're thirsty.

5 Tips for Coping With Digestive Problems

You got caught up in the fun and overdid it at the barbecue anyway? Have no fear, it's not hard to handle occasional digestive problems. 

1. Eat Fruits and Herbs That Soothe the Stomach. Certain foods can help a troubled digestion, says Mullin, who favors pineapple, papaya, ginger tea, and fennel. Other experts also recommend chamomile to soothe stomachs. 

2. Drink Clear Liquids. If your digestive problems include diarrhea or vomiting, it's even more important to remain hydrated, though you should take it slow. Drink clear liquids one teaspoon at a time until you can keep them down. Hold off on solid foods for several hours. 

If you've got a bad stomachache, severe abdominal pain, or persistent diarrhea or vomiting accompanied by fever, see your doctor right away. 

3. Avoid Strong Odors. If too much food has made you queasy, you might want to step away from the grill -- and your favorite aunt who wears all the perfume. Strong odors like cooking smells, perfumes, colognes, and smoke can overturn a queasy stomach.   

4. Stay Away From Substances That Irritate Stomachs. Coffee, alcohol, and carbonated beverages can aggravate the digestive system. So can some over-the-counter and prescription medications, as well as some herbal remedies and supplements. If you take medication or supplements and have digestive trouble, talk with your doctor. 

5. Try Over-the-Counter (OTC) Remedies. Antacids and acid blockers may help relieve occasional indigestion when you've overindulged, while antidiarrheal drugs may help with diarrhea. To be sure you're taking the right medication for your symptoms, talk to your doctor.

"Self-diagnosis and drugs of any kind make a bad combination," writes Steven R. Peikin MD, professor of medicine and head of the division of gastroenterology and liver diseases at Cooper University Hospital, in his book Gastrointestinal Health. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for example, can make gastrointestinal issues worse for some.

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What triggers your digestive distress?