Some top tips from our Superintendent Pharmacist, Mark Sadja, to keep your tummy feeling sunny this summer season.
As we are now into holiday time, many of us may experience some stomach problems – indigestion, heartburn and irritable bowel being some of the most common. This is often brought about due to a change in our diet – be it barbeques at home or eating out on holiday. There are several steps you can take to try and reduce the incidence of heartburn or indigestion, and ensure that it doesn’t reduce your enjoyment of your holiday.
Heartburn is caused when acid escapes from the stomach and burns the walls of the oesophagus. Unlike the stomach, the oesophagus doesn’t have a protective lining and is sensitive to this acid, which ultimately causes a burning feeling.
Indigestion is a common problem that affects many people, usually after eating or drinking. It is caused by acid breaking down the protective lining of the stomach wall, which leads to irritation and discomfort.
How to Help
Some simple tips to help reduce the incidence of indigestion and heartburn include stopping smoking, avoiding eating late at night, and avoiding spicy foods or indeed very acidic foods (e.g citrus fruits). Also, alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee tend to increase acidity in the stomach.
Over the Counter Medicine for Heartburn & Indigestion
The best thing to do if you experience indigestion or heartburn is to talk to your local Sam McCauley Pharmacist who can advise on the most suitable over the counter medicine for your symptoms.
Gaviscon liquid and tablets can be very effective at giving fast relief and act to relieve the symptoms of indigestion and heartburn by stopping excess acid escaping from the stomach.
Losec Control or Nexium Control can also be used for the short-term treatment of symptoms associated with heartburn and acid indigestion. These tablets should only be used short-term, and they reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach. Just one tablet can help protect you from frequent heartburn and indigestion – all day and all night.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a common condition that affects 30% of Irish people at some stage during their life. The symptoms include, abdominal pain, bloating and swelling of the abdomen, and a change in bowel habit.
How to Help
Buscopan tablets may be used to relieve the symptoms, and they specifically target the source of the cramping and the pain and discomfort associated with IBS. Please speak with your local Sam McCauley pharmacist who can advise as to their suitability.
If you often suffer with stomach discomfort or bloating it may also be worth taking a probiotic.
Probiotics are organisms such as bacteria or yeast that are believed to improve health. Our bodies are home to over 500 different types of bacteria, which keep the intestines healthy and assist in digesting food. Some digestive disorders occur when the balance of healthy bacteria in the intestines becomes disturbed and probiotics help maintain this balance of healthy bacteria and reduce the incidence of stomach upsets.
Alflorex is a probiotic supplement and is intended for people who have unresolved digestive upsets. Many customers find that Alflorex makes a big difference and allows them to enjoy life without the same level of digestive upset. If you have never tried this it is very effective and has been researched and developed by scientists in University College Cork.
Finally, if you are going on a holiday abroad it is probably worth bringing something such as Arret which is a medicine that is very effective for treating diarrhoea. This should be used in conjunction with Dioralyte which are sachets that when mixed with water help to replace any lost fluids and salts, and help you to get back to normal.
With all of the products mentioned, your local Sam McCauley pharmacist, or any of the healthcare team, can advise on the most suitable for your needs.