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All Digestive Health Alerts

Learning to Live the Gluten-Free Life

Celiac disease results from your body's negative reaction to gluten. When your immune system detects gluten, it produces antibodies that damage your small intestine. This causes malabsorption, which means your body can't get the nutrients it needs, such as iron, folate and vitamins D and B12, from food. As many as one in three new cases of celiac disease occur in people ages 65 and older. … More...

Liver Damage: Medication May Be the Culprit

In the United States, injury caused by medication is the most common cause of acute liver damage -- that is, damage that comes on suddenly. While efforts are made to ensure the safety of medications before they're introduced to the marketplace, the reality is that some approved drugs still may cause harm -- and liver damage (which in rare cases can lead to liver failure) is the number-one reason a particular medication is pulled from the shelves. More...

New Hope for People With IBS

The cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has long been a bit of a mystery. A number of studies have found an overgrowth of intestinal bacteria in people with IBS based on the results of breath tests -- meaning they have too much of the bacteria normally found in the gut. Now a study using a more quantitative type of test, validates this hypothesis. The study was published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences (Volume 57, page 1321). More...

Exercise Your Way to a Healthy Gut

The payoffs of regular physical activity in preventing digestive disorders are impressive. The strongest evidence so far exists for colon cancer. One study involving more than 400,000 people concluded that engaging in two hours of moderate physical activity per day -- or one hour of vigorous activity -- was associated with a risk reduction for colon cancer of 20 to 25 percent. More...

Double Trouble: Celiac Disease Plus Lactose Intolerance

If you have celiac disease, don't be surprised if drinking milk or consuming other dairy products leaves you feeling bloated or nauseated, or you experience cramping and diarrhea afterward. Up to two-thirds of people with celiac disease are also lactose intolerant. The symptoms they endure can be blamed on the digestive system's inability to sufficiently break down and absorb the simple carbohydrate lactose, present in milk and other dairy products. More...

Heartburn, Belly Fat and Cigarettes: A Recipe for Cancer?

One of the hazards of chronic heartburn is that it ups the risk for a precancerous condition called Barrett's esophagus, when stomach acid damages the cells that line the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach. People with Barrett's esophagus are at increased risk for esophageal cancer, although risk is low. More...

Research on GERD and Tooth-Surface Loss

Besides damaging the tissues of the esophagus, chronic exposure to acid associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also cause harm farther up the alimentary canal by contributing to ongoing erosion of dental surfaces. More...

Out With the Old: New Guidelines on Treating GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common, distressing condition that afflicts millions of Americans. In March, the American College of Gastroenterology released updated clinical guidelines for treating GERD based on an extensive analysis of medical research conducted between 1960 and 2011. The new guidelines highlight three key lifestyle modifications as a first step for treating GERD: More...

Weighing the Risks of Daily Aspirin Therapy

Is aspirin therapy a good idea? Many people take a daily low-dose aspirin to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The benefit, however, may be modest at best in people without symptoms or a history of CVD, and long-term aspirin use carries a risk of side effects, especially gastrointestinal bleeding. Here’s what research suggests. More...

Go-To, Self-Help Remedies for Constipation

If you suffer from constipation, you've got plenty of company: about 24 to 50 percent of older adults regularly experience constipation. More...

Revised Screening Guidelines for GERD

Just because you've got GERD (or gastroesophageal reflux disease) doesn't mean you need to be screened for throat cancer, according to guidelines published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (Volume 157, p. 808). More...

Understanding the Risks of Esophageal Cancer

Although esophageal cancer is relatively rare in the United States, the number of individuals who are diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus is rapidly increasing. More...

Can You Eat Dairy Products If You're Lactose Intolerant?

This Q & A comes from a recent issue of our Health After 50 newsletter. Because lactose intolerance is a common concern, we thought we’d share it with you. A reader asks, "I'm lactose intolerant. Are there any dairy products that won't make me feel sick?" More...

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