Gallbladder Disease Symptoms and Treatment

Irritable Bowel SyndromeDo you have a stomachache, feel nauseated, and have you experienced intestinal flu symptoms that just won’t disappear? Sharp pain on your right side? Bloating, gas and general fatigue? You might have gallstones or gallbladder inflammation.  Check out this article for more information about gallstones, gallbladder disease and what causes it.

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14 Natural Treatments for Indigestion, Nausea, and Stomach Ache

Stomach AcheFeeling sick to your stomach? Indigestion, gas, stomachache, bloating, nausea, diarrhea? Having an upset stomach (dyspepsia) or belly ache is not unusual. Most everyone has experienced this at some time in their lives, regardless of age or lifestyle. Generally it is caused from eating too much unhealthy food, too quickly. Most often the cause of stomach upset can be a problem specific to one of the many organs in your abdomen. What are the causes of dyspepsia and how can this be treated naturally?

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome: How It Can Affect Your Life


Irritable Bowel SyndromeWhat is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that affects the large intestine or colon. It causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and changes in your bowel movement. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states,

  “About 1 in 6 people in the U.S. have symptoms of IBS. It is the most common intestinal problem that causes patients to be referred to a bowel specialist (gastroenterologist).” 

IBS is usually not extremely serious and doesn’t cause permanent damage to your large intestine. The symptoms of the disorder can be controlled by either medication or changes in your diet such as eating more fibrous food. A small percentage of people can experience more severe symptoms that may be crippling to their everyday lives. The disorder affects more women than men, possibly due to the hormonal changes women go through. Many are diagnosed with the disorder before the age of 35 and have a relative with irritable bowel syndrome.  Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition. For some people, the condition may worsen with time and for others, the condition completely disappears.


Man stomach acheSymptoms
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the most common signs and symptoms of the irritable bowel syndrome are as follows:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • A feeling of fullness
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Changes in bowel movement patterns

These symptoms vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe. Often times, symptoms may decrease with a bowel movement. IBS may cause you to experience a loss of appetite.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome StatisticsCause(s) of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not known. Some documented risk factors of the condition include being young, being female and having a family member with IBS. People of all ages can be diagnosed with the disorder. It can arise after a person has experienced an infection of the intestine. With irritable bowel syndrome, food is forced into your intestine either more quickly than normal or slower than normal. The result of food moving more quickly into the intestine is diarrhea and the result from food moving more slowly into the intestine is constipation or dry and hard stool.

Tests and Diagnosis
What is EGD?Currently, there are no tests to accurately diagnose irritable bowel syndrome. Your doctor may perform a full physical exam as well as complete a medical history. Most of the time, diagnosis is the result of the process of elimination of other diseases. IBS has a tendency to mimic other diseases such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or colon cancer.  Mayo Clinic provides a list and description of tests that may be taken to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome in the following:

  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD or upper endoscopy) or Colonoscopy.  In some cases, your doctor may perform these diagnostic tests, in which a small, flexible tube is used to examine the stomach or the entire length of the colon.
  • Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan. CT scans produce cross-sectional X-ray images of internal organs. CT scans of your abdomen and pelvis may help your doctor rule out other causes of your symptoms.
  • Lactose intolerance tests. Lactase is an enzyme you need to digest the sugar (lactose) found in dairy products. If you don’t produce this enzyme, you may have problems similar to those caused by irritable bowel syndrome, including abdominal pain, gas and diarrhea. To find out if this is the cause of your symptoms, you doctor may order a breath test to ask you to exclude milk and milk products from your diet for several weeks.
  • Blood tests. Celiac disease (non-tropical sprue) is sensitivity to wheat protein that also may cause signs and symptoms like those of irritable bowel syndrome. Blood may help rule out that disorder.
Foods that Trigger IBS

Foods That Trigger Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome can usually be treated by managing the symptoms of the condition. Some lifestyle changes/treatment options are as follows:

  • Eating more fibrous foods to reduce the occurrence of constipation. Foods with fiber include whole grain bread and pastas, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • Eating smaller meals will make it easier for your intestinal system to digest your food faster and make you feel better.
  • Avoiding foods that may exacerbate your symptoms such as alcohol, caffeinated drinks and dairy products.
  • Avoiding stress may relieve the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Taking medication(s) specially prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome. The medications include but are not limited to the following: alosetron for diarrhea and lubiprostone for constipation.

Alternative Treatments
Hypnotherapy Session womanPeople look towards alternative medicine when traditional modern medicine may not be effective inrelieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine provides a list of treatments to aide with symptoms of the disorder, including the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal remedies
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Probiotics
  • Reflexology
  • Relaxation Therapies
  • Yoga


About Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)  – International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD)

Aragon G, Graham DB, Borum M, Doman DB (Jan 2010). Probiotic therapy for irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y) 6 (1): 39–44 PubMed

Brenner DM, Moeller MJ, Chey WD, Schoenfeld PS (April 2009). The utility of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review. Am. J. Gastroenterol. 104 (4): 1033–49  PubMed

Ducrotté P (Nov 2007). Irritable bowel syndrome: current treatment options. Presse Med. 36 (11 Pt 2): 1619–26 PubMed

Gaylord SA, Palsson OS, Garland EL, et al. Mindfulness training reduces the severity of irritable bowel syndrome in women: results of a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011; 106(9):1678–1688. PubMed

Grundmann O, Yoon SL (Jan 14, 2014),Complementary and alternative medicines in irritable bowel syndrome: An integrative view. World J Gastroenterol 20(2): 346–362 PubMed

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – U.S. National Library of Medicine 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Definitions – Mayo Clinic 

Irritable bowel syndrome. (September 2007)  The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), NIH Publication No. 07-693. pdf

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Complementary Health (NCCAM) –  National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practices

Lindfors P, Unge P, Arvidsson P, Nyhlin H, Björnsson E, Abrahamsson H, Simrén M. (2012)  Effects of gut-directed hypnotherapy on IBS in different clinical settings- results from two randomized, controlled studies Am J Gastroenterol. 2012; 107(2):276-85

Lindfors P, Unge P, Nyhlin H, Ljótsson B, Björnsson E, Abrahamsson H, Simrén (2012)  M. Long-term effects of hypnotherapy in patients with refractory irritable bowel syndrome Scand J Gastroenterol. 2012;47(4):414-20

Lindfors P, Ljótsson B, Björnsson E, Abrahamsson H, Simrén M. (2012) Patient satisfaction after gut-directed hypnotherapy in Irritable Bowel Syndrome Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012. Oct 5. PubMed

Manheimer E, Cheng K, Wieland LS, Min LS, Shen X, Berman BM, Lao L (2012). Acupuncture for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 5(5) PubMed

Nikfar S, Rahimi R, Rahimi F, Derakhshani S, Abdollahi M (December 2008). Efficacy of probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Dis. Colon Rectum 51 (12): 1775–80 PubMed

Shen YH, Nahas R (Feb 2009). Complementary and alternative medicine for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Can Fam Physician   55 (2): 143–8. PubMed

Wilkins T, Pepitone C, Alex B, Schade RR (Sep 1, 2012). “Diagnosis and management of IBS in adults.”  American family physician 86 (5): 419–26. PubMed


Hang Pham, MBHA Health EducatorThis article is written by Hang Pham. Hang Pham is a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall.

The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Food Combining – Trouble digesting? How Food Combinations Can Affect YOU

Are you getting the optimum nutritional value from your food?  Do you frequently experience flatulence (gas), heartburn, burping, cramping, bloating, fatigue or feelings of hunger?  Proper food combining can aid in digestion. Some foods are digested more slowly than others. Correct combinations assists us in digestion, assimilation, and elimination of foods. Proper digestion also aids in sleep.

protein greens

Food Combining – Which foods are more easily digested in combination with other foods?

What is the Principle of Food Combining?
Food combining is based on the principle that  particular food should be digested in combination with one another for optimum nutrition. After you eat a meal, blood rushes to your digestive system  away from the muscles, brain, and other organs.

This can leave us feeling tired after a big meal and not feeling like engaging in heavy physical activity.

The time that it takes to digest food varies between men and women and also depends upon the type of food eaten. The small intestine in adults is a long and narrow tube about 23 feet long. The large intestine in adults is wider in diameter but shorter than the small intestine.  It is only about 5 feet long.

Digestive SystemIn the 1980s, Mayo Clinic researchers measured digestion time in 21 healthy people. The estimated time that it took from eating to elimination in stool, averaged 53 hours.  The average time that food moved through the large intestine (colon) was 40 hours.  There was a significant difference between digestion between men and women: 33 hours for men, 47 hours for women.

If food is left in our digestive system too long, it can ferment and putrefy, causing indigestion, heartburn, and weight gain.   Different types of foods  will digest more efficiently if you avoid mixing foods from one group with those of another. Protein takes much longer to digest than fruits and vegetables, which are mostly water, for example.

What Are the Best Food Combining Tips?
According to the rules of food combination, you do not want to mix proteins and starches in the same meal. You also don’t want to combine starches with fruits.  Most of us to not follow this tradition. We eat rice with chicken, hamburgers on a bun,  spaghetti with meatballs, corn flakes with strawberries and bananas and apple pie with flaky wheat pie crust. Fruits are either a single or double sugar, whereas the starches are a triple sugar. Fruits mechanically break down in your stomach, but chemically, they don’t break down until they reach the  small intestine. Starches, again, are broken down in three different stages, starting in your mouth.  Why are these bad combinations? Dr. Wayne Pickering is a naturopathic physician on the East Coast of Florida, well-known for his pioneering efforts in food combining. Dr. Pickering explains:

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Combining meat with starch is upsetting to the digestive system. Starches should be eaten alone or with greens.

“Starches require an alkaline digestive medium to digest. If you put your fist in your stomach while it’s digesting steaks and all that, chances are, you wouldn’t have a hand anymore. The acid is intense… When you mix them both together – an acid-type of food and an alkaline – basic chemistry shows that they don’t digest. They neutralize. Then what happens? If the food is not digesting… it’s going through your body [undigested], throwing it into all kinds of turmoil.”

Tips based on food combining theories
If you are frustrated because you can’t seem to eat different types of foods without getting excessive gas, bloating, or upset stomach, you might benefit from trying these basic food combining tips:

  1. Drink juices alone on an empty stomach, or 30 minutes before eating other foods.
  2. Choose greens wisely. You may eat lettuce and celery in combination with all fruits.  Other greens, such as spinach, kale and parsley, should only be digested with fruit when juiced in a blender, or as a smoothie
  3. Respect water.  Eat foods with high-water content before other foods.  Always drink water between meals and not with meals. Drinking liquids with meals flushes the nutrients out of your system. Research shows that sipping a little water during meals doesn’t cause major problems, however drinking one or two glasses of water may interfere with digestion. Researchers have found it is best to drink fluids one hour before or two hours after meals for better absorption of nutrients.
  4. Experiment. Learn what works well for you.  You might feel best by eating fruit in the morning, breads and starches in the afternoon and denser foods such as protein in the evening works best for you, or a light meal of fruit in the evening might be best for you. Trust that your body knows best.
  5. Eat melons separately. Don’t eat any other type of food within 20 minutes of eating melon.  Melons (watermelon, cantelope, honey dew melon, etc.) should always be eaten alone.


    Watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew and all other melons should never be eaten with other foods.

  6. Alcohol retards digestion. Avoid alcohol with meals.
  7. Don’t combine starches with acid fruits (such as grains with tomatoes).
  8. Exercise lightly.   You might like a leisurely walk through the park, assists digestion.Hard, heavy, or prolonged exercise before eating interferes with digestion.  
  9. Eat foods in season.  Be in tune with your environment and with nature.
  10. Eat foods that fit your lifestyle. The nutritional needs of a muscle-bound triathlete would be quite different than that of a sedentary piano teacher.


    Proteins, such as fish, poultry and beef are more easily digested without starches, like pasta, rice or bread. Wait 3 hours after eating protein before eating a starch.

  11. Don’t eat starches with proteins, such as ham and eggs with potatoes. Wait two hours after eating a starch before eating protein, and three hours after eating protein before eating a starch. Foods that are considered starchy include grains, legumes, potatoes, corn, peas, winter squash and sweet potatoes. Starchy foods also often contain at least a small amount of sugar and fiber. Meat and potatoes is  a common combination. However, foods high in protein such as fish, poultry, beef, are best not combined with starches.
  12. Eliminate stress. Don’t worry.  When in doubt, eat foods separately. You might wish to practice relaxation techniques or meditation. Studies show that stress causes major digestive problems.
  13. Be mindful when you eat. Stop eating when the food doesn’t taste as appetizing before you feel “full.” Most people continue to eat out of habit.  Pay attention.  If you feel full, you’ve probably eaten too much.
  14. Do not eat dessert right after a meal. Wait a a couple of hours to have that piece of pie or cake.

    Man eating fruit

    Eat fruit 30 – 60 minutes before a heavy meal.

  15. Do not eat fruits or vegetables with a heavy meal. Eat fruits and vegetables 30 – 60 minutes before proteins and starches.
  16. Do not combine acidic fruits with other fruits and with starches. Lemon and banana, for example, can be difficult to digest when combined, and most likely lead to gastrointestinal upset.
  17. Tomatoes are a fruit-vegetable and can be digested easily with other vegetables with seeds such as cucumber, squash, zuchinni, and bell pepper.
  18. Give thanks before eating your food. An attitude of gratitude does a lot for the digestive system.

Mayo Clinic – “Digestion: How Long Does it Take?” – Michael F. Pico, MD.
Dr. Mercola – “How to Combine Foods for Natural Health”


Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.
  Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.