Top Symptoms of Digestive Distress

Do you experience nausea, burp frequently or feel burning in your upper torso? If so, you may be wondering what’s going on. If you’re new to intestinal distress, uncertainty may seem like the norm -- but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some typical symptoms of common gastrointestinal issues, along with expert advice for relief.

The Problem: Nausea and Indigestion

Our stomachs hold a lot of nerve endings, and when we feel nervous or stressed, we often feel it in our gut, says registered dietitian Erica Giovinazzo. Unhealthy eating habits can cause it too. If you eat greasy, fattening foods at each meal, the odds are good that your stomach won’t respond well; we also become more sensitive to such foods as we grow older.

Rx: Manage your stress levels as best you can, and eat a balanced diet consisting of healthy, fiber-rich whole grains, produce and lean protein.

The Problem: Burping

Belching can sometimes be a side effect of indigestion, since there may be foods your body is sensitive to that are not being digested properly. But oftentimes, burping is brought on by swallowing too much air, either by eating too quickly, sucking from a straw or frequently chewing gum. “Carbonated beverages also make you burp more,” says Giovinazzo.

Rx: Try going without the aforementioned habits and see if it helps. If it doesn’t -- or if you don’t have any of the aforementioned habits to begin with -- discuss your symptoms with your doctor. “It could be a sign of another intestinal problem,” says Giovinazzo.

The Problem: Acid Reflux

Acid reflux and its close cousin gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause painful burning in the esophagus. They both can be triggered by a number of different foods: fats, tomatoes, vinegar, chocolate, citrus fruits or spicy foods. “Some people may have trigger foods that don’t cause problems for other people,” says Giovinazzo.

Rx: To hunt down your own dietary problem areas, keep a food diary, and start to sniff out any correlations between painful symptoms and the foods you recently ate. Overeating can also be a trigger for reflux, sotry to control portions at each meal too. If you experience prolonged acid reflux, it could be an indicator of something more serious; schedule an appointment with your doctor to play it safe.