Opinion

Pharmacist: Here’s how to lessen the stress of GI distress during holidays

Posted 11/16/21

Heartburn, reflux, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation — 61% of Americans report having one or more GI symptoms in the past week! Ouch! Gastrointestinal diseases and distress can come in many forms affecting the throat, stomach and GI tract.

The good news is that most diseases and symptoms can be treated or prevented.

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Opinion

Pharmacist: Here’s how to lessen the stress of GI distress during holidays

Posted

Heartburn, reflux, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation — 61% of Americans report having one or more GI symptoms in the past week! Ouch! Gastrointestinal diseases and distress can come in many forms affecting the throat, stomach and GI tract.

The good news is that most diseases and symptoms can be treated or prevented.

As we approach “eating season,” what are some over-the-counter medications that are good to have on-hand if someone in your family experiences a symptom? 

Many over-the-counter medications can treat a variety of GI symptoms. Antacids such as Tums, Rolaids, or Mylanta are recommended to treat mild, food-related heartburn. These come in chewable tablets, or liquid form. Either form will treat the acid burn and most brands have similar formulations.

Anti-diarrheal are the next form of drugs like Imodium-AD (loperamide) that are recommended to keep at home. These help stop diarrhea and can also help to prevent dehydration related to diarrhea. If you are suffering from diarrhea and you take a medication to combat it, you should still aggressively rehydrate to ensure you are not dehydrated and to replace electrolytes.

Several antacid medications such as Pepto-Bismol (Bismuth subsalicylate), Prilosec (Omeprazole) and Pepcid (Famotidine) are also recommended to have on-hand. This treats indigestion, heartburn, and the occasional bout of diarrhea. These can also treat harmful bacteria affecting the stomach and GI tract.

Suffering from constipation is another form of GI distress. Constipation is a functional problem and can be treated with Colace (docusate), or Miralax and with a high fiber diet, and good hydration.

Eating high fat, heavy meals can cause some GI distress. It is recommended to eat smaller more frequent meals to help avoid bloating or pain. Eating a diet low in fiber, not getting enough exercise, traveling and stress can also be causes of upsetting the GI tract.  

If symptoms continue or worsen, see your doctor or pharmacist for advice on the next steps to take.

Editor’s note: Debora Fuertes is a pharmacist at SpotRx Pharmacy.

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