Discomforting digestive disorders

Discomforting digestive disorders

An improper diet and a lack of physical exercise may be leaving many with digestive disorders post-Covid-19, writes Dr B S Ravindra

Pandemic has, in all truth, caused a lot of problems to humankind. The subsequent lockdowns have invariably given rise to several health problems, not forgetting the difficulty in the gastro and digestive systems. The human body needs basic physical exercises to keep functioning normally. However, lockdown restrictions have curtailed such physical activities, resulting in situations where the reaction of the body is seen in improper digestion and abnormalities in gastro behaviours.

Some of the common problems that are seen are abdomen fullness, bulging, continuous burping, throat discomfort, and burning sensation in the chest area. Some of the other symptoms that are being observed in recent days are loss of appetite, jaundice, and problems related to the liver and pancreas. In most of these cases, the person who is suffering from any of the above problems tends to self-medicate which has resulted in worsening of the situation rather than finding a solution to it. This has consequently ended up causing mucus formation and blood in the stools. There are cases of constipation due to a lot of indigestion.

When Covid-19 hit us, of the many things that were being circulated on social media was ‘free advice’. People started to suggest many things such as regular drinking of herbal drinks commonly known as kashayam, sudden rise in gargling, and intake of extremely hot water.

Excessive medications and self-medication which involves a lot of steroids have given rise to such gastro difficulties. These sudden changes in lifestyle and food habits are one of the main reasons for such digestive disorders.

Foremost, one should follow a regular diet. Switch back to normal plain water and increase the quantity of yoghurt, and buttermilk as these help in the digestive system. One must also pay attention to avoid junk food and other fast foods as they need a lot of energy to break down. Avoiding alcohol and reducing smoking will also help.

Due to restrictions to curtail the spread of the disease, many of us are forced to remain indoors, thereby affecting physical exercise. A short walk of 30 minutes, mild workouts, and other such regular household chores will enable one to stay fit and avoid problems leading to the digestive system.

Careful monitoring of food habits, regular exercises will certainly help in getting the digestive system function in the right way.

If there are symptoms of Covid-19 seen in a person, it is advised to immediately consult a doctor. Some of the post-Covid-19 symptoms such as acute abdominal pain, blood in stools, jaundice must be reasons to visit a doctor and take immediate medication.

Though these are not commonly seen in people who have survived the virus, it is always wise to take prudent steps towards maintaining good health.

(The author is the director of the Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at a leading chain of hospitals in Bengaluru.)