Bowel discomfort is a much more common health concern than most people realise!
Whether bowel discomfort comes in the form of pain or irritation, its main cause is most often associated with issues of the digestive tract, otherwise known as the gut (1). It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of discomfort during bowel movement. Food allergies, hormonal imbalances, disruptions in metabolism, taking medication, related health concerns affecting digestion or a myriad of other reasons can all be possible culprits for bowel discomfort. Setting an appointment with a healthcare practitioner may be the only way to accurately identify the true cause.
But even before we see the doctor for a proper assessment, it’s possible to learn about the everyday things we may be doing that may be contributing to the problem of feeling any discomfort during bowel movement. You may be surprised to learn that you can make simple adjustments to your health habits that can effectively address the issue of bowel discomfort soon after you finish reading this article.
To save yourself from further discomfort, worry, and potentially costly medical bills, read on to learn more about the common issue of bowel discomfort and what you can do to avoid and address it.
Potential everyday causes of bowel discomfort
We may feel equal parts anxious and embarrassed the moment we start experiencing atypical sensations in our gut. After all, symptoms that precede or accompany this health concern can include more frequent flatulence and burping, noticeable abdominal bloating, or discomfort during bowel movement, more frequent trips to the bathroom, or unpleasant changes in one’s bowels (1). Many people experience prolonged suffering as they are too embarrassed to talk about the issue with loved ones or a healthcare provider.
It’s important to know that bowel discomfort is a perfectly normal occurrence and can be experienced by even the healthiest of people. It is not automatically indicative of more serious health concerns, as there are things we do on a regular basis that we do not realize may add to or exacerbate this issue.
For instance, you may actually be dealing with trapped gas, indigestion, food poisoning, diarrhoea and constipation, lactose intolerance, and irritable bowel syndrome (2). These things can happen on occasion when you eat too quickly, consume too much food in one sitting, sleep or nap too soon after meals, unintentionally eat foods you're allergic to or foods that have gone bad, don’t drink enough water, or eat too much of one kind of food at the expense of a well-rounded diet. These small actions may go unnoticed, but if done frequently, they can have dire effects on the body, showing up as discomfort during bowel movement.
Fortunately, these common causes of bowel discomfort can usually be treated at home by staying hydrated by drinking water, temporarily switching to a bland and easily digestible diet while your stomach recovers, staying well-rested, and applying a hot compress to your abdomen area to provide pain relief (1).
In the event that you still feel discomfort for a prolonged period of time, despite trying to treat the condition at home, seek professional advice from a gastroenterologist.
How diet helps in dealing with bowel discomfort
Committing to long-term lifestyle changes focused on improved mealtime habits is also key to dealing with bowel discomfort. It can address current problems while also helping ensure you do not experience the same in the future (1).
Increase high-fibre foods
Improving your diet by incorporating high-fibre foods is a sure way to help your gut develop less complications related to difficult-to-digest foods, as they can cause constipation, indigestion, and bloating. Specifically, it’s recommended that you cut down on meats and fatty foods. Consider eating less of them during mealtime or having them only a few times a week.
On the other hand, high-fibre diets ease bowel discomfort by being easily digestible and leaving little waste for the gut to get rid of. Consume foods such as apples, papaya, oats, whole grains, legumes, and leafy vegetables in order to fulfill your body’s dietary need for fiber. Remember that fiber is not only lighter on the digestive system as opposed to meat and fat, but it also plays a crucial role in helping the stomach expel waste efficiently without the need for you to strain during bowel movements (3).
Foods to avoid
If you’re experiencing indigestion, bloating, or diarrhoea, you might want to avoid fatty foods (think red meats, fried foods, processed snacks like commercial crisps and cured meats, and sugary treats) as they stimulate colonic contractions which frequently lead to these issues (4).
Also avoid foods that contain large amounts of lactose and fructose as they can cause intestinal gas production, which in return, causes more bowel discomfort (4). This means you might have to sacrifice desserts and pastries, practically all forms of sweets, as well as high-cream and syrupy foods including some beverages and fruit-derived products, if bowel discomfort is something you seriously want to address.
Know that it’s not a threat to your stomach health if you have these kinds of foods once in a while. Moderation in their consumption is the rule of thumb to follow. Pay attention to recommended serving sizes and most especially, how your body reacts to certain foods; some may cause immediate discomfort during bowel movements, so being aware of this can guide the dietary adjustments you need to make.
Supplements for dealing with bowel discomfort
Given how bowel discomfort can be tackled with dietary changes, it makes sense that you can support these changes with vitamin and mineral supplementation. Supplementation can be a convenient and reliable way for Australians to care for their health overall and address common concerns including bowel discomfort. By choosing the right combination of supplements, you have the potential to manage your most pressing health concerns and find symptom relief. Below, we list some supplements that you can include in your vitamin packs to assist with bowel discomfort and avoid recurrences.
Adequate zinc levels are required to help maintain healthy body functions such as supporting digestive health (5). When digestive health is maintained, your body has better defences against the common gut-related issues mentioned above, including bowel discomfort (5).
Probiotics help restore digestive balance, maintain intestinal health, replenish digestive flora, the good bacteria and microbes that help keep your gut healthy. Including Vitable’s Probiotics and Probiotics SB in your vitamin packs gives you the necessary probiotics to support a healthy digestive system (6). Vitable Australia’s probiotics supplements may provide lasting benefits to digestive health and can relieve bowel discomfort. Probiotics SB is especially recommended for those on or have just finished taking antibiotics. Antibiotics can sometimes purge the gut of healthy bacteria that can be partially replenished with a healthy daily dose of probiotics.
Curcumin is a cousin to ginger and contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that contribute to healthy digestion and overall digestive system health. This supplement is worth exploring if you would like to address ongoing bowel discomfort (7).
Remember that bowel discomfort can happen to everyone, and though it can cause worry, it can be dealt with easily by living a healthy lifestyle. This means eating well, knowing your body’s reactions to your food habits, as well as taking proper supplements focused on dealing with gut health and alleviating bowel discomfort. Keeping your gut healthy should be a priority. With this in mind, creating a vitamin pack specifically made for digestive health or bowel discomfort can help give you the peace of mind that your gut is healthy.
Vitable’s vitamin subscription service is definitely what you’re looking for if you want to include Zinc, Probiotics, and Curcumin in your diet to help improve digestive health. It’s also possible to customise your vitamin packs if there are additional concerns you would like to address through supplementation. If you need another reason to try Vitable’s services, know that we ship anywhere in Australia, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore and the list goes on! We provide convenient delivery services, so you can stay safe and healthy wherever you are.
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
1. Health Direct. “Abdominal Pain”. Health Direct. Published (n.d.) on https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/abdominal-pain. Accessed January 10, 2021.
2. Cleveland Clinic. “Abdominal Pain”. Cleveland Clinic. Published (n.d.) on https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/4167-abdominal-pain. Accessed January 10, 2021.
3. University of California San Francisco Health. “Constipation”. University of California San Francisco Health. Published (n.d.) on https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/constipation. Accessed January 10, 2021.
5. John Hopkins Medicine. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment”. John Hopkins Medicine. Published (n.d.) on https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/irritable-bowel-syndrome-treatment. Accessed January 10, 2021.
5. Vitable. “Zinc”. Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/zinc. Accessed January 10, 2021.
6. Vitable. “Probiotics”. Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/probiotics. Accessed January 10, 2021.
7. Vitable. “Curcumin”. Vitable. Published (n.d.) on https://research.vitable.com.au/curcumin. Accessed January 10, 2021.