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07 Sep

Probiotics and Your Health

Taking generic probiotic strains may not help your digestive tract, new study finds.

Health News Results - 14

WEDNESDAY, June 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Extremely tiny bits of plastic: They're in your food and drink, and even in the air around you.

Now, new research calculates that the average American consumes more than 70,000 particles of these "microplastics" every year -- and even that's likely an underestimation, the scientists noted.

Your microplastic intake might be even hig...

WEDNESDAY, May 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The belly-brain connection is gaining traction in autism research. And a new study suggests gut bacteria may play a role in the disorder or some of its symptoms.

Although this research is in its infancy, it's hoped that someday scientists might tweak the gut bacteria to ease digestive symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

The latest...

THURSDAY, Feb. 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists say nearly 2,000 previously unknown types of bacteria in the human gut have been identified.

The human gut hosts many species of microbes, collectively referred to as the gut microbiota. Scientists are working to identify the individual species and understand the roles they play in human health.

While investigators are g...

FRIDAY, Dec. 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- As many as 20 million Americans have gallstones. Most don't have any symptoms, but not all will escape a gallstone attack.

The gallbladder is a small organ in the upper right abdomen. It's a reservoir for bile, the fluid made by the liver to aid digestion. Experts aren't sure why, but gallstones form from imbalances in the substances that make...

THURSDAY, Sept. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- They're sold everywhere, but can probiotics -- the good bacteria found in some foods like yogurt and in supplements -- really help restore digestive health?

Maybe, but only for some people, new research suggests. The Israeli researchers found that some people's digestive systems held on to the probiotics given in a supplement. But in others,...

MONDAY, July 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Get up off of the couch: Sitting too much may kill you even if you exercise regularly.

If you sit for six hours a day or more, your risk of dying early jumps 19 percent, compared with people who sit fewer than three hours, an American Cancer Society study suggests.

And, the study authors added, sitting may kill you in 14 ways, includ...

MONDAY, Feb. 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The next time you see a grasshopper, try to imagine it as a snack.

If might help if you know that insects are nutritious and digestible.

"For a long time the prevailing wisdom was that mammals didn't produce an enzyme that could break down the exoskeletons of insects, so they were considered to be very difficult to digest," researcher...

THURSDAY, Sept. 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A mostly vegetarian diet may provide relief similar to widely used medications for people with acid reflux, a new study suggests.

The study looked at close to 200 patients at one medical center who had been diagnosed with laryngopharyngeal reflux.

It's a condition where stomach acids habitually back up into the throat, and it's dis...

FRIDAY, June 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to stomach discomfort during exercise, forget that old adage "no pain, no gain." New research suggests that excessive strenuous exercise may lead to gut damage.

"The stress response of prolonged vigorous exercise shuts down gut function," said lead author Ricardo Costa.

"The redistribution of blood flow away from the gu...

THURSDAY, May 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The chemotherapy drug Xeloda may prolong survival in those struck by a type of digestive system cancer, a new study finds.

People with bile duct cancer who received the medication lived for an average of about 17 months longer than those who didn't take it, the researchers found. Based on the findings, the study authors suggested that Xeloda...

WEDNESDAY, May 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that people with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis who haven't done well on other treatments may find relief with Xeljanz (tofacitinib), a drug currently used to treat arthritis.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. It affects about 700,000 Americans, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundatio...

THURSDAY, April 13, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Fewer Americans with Crohn's disease are ending up in the hospital than in the past, according to a new federal study.

Crohn's is a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder that often leads to surgery for most with the disease.

Hospitalization rates for Crohn's disease remained stable in the United States between 2003 and 2013. That's ...

FRIDAY, April 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Gallbladder removal may not always necessary for gallstone pancreatitis, a new study suggests.

Gallstone pancreatitis occurs when one or more gallstones gets stuck in a duct in the pancreas. This blocks pancreatic enzymes from leaving the pancreas and traveling to the small intestine to aid in digestion. When those enzymes back up into the pan...

MONDAY, April 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- People with schizophrenia may face an increased risk for serious infections, a new study suggests.

"The preliminary data results suggest that individuals with schizophrenia have higher prevalence of all types of severe infections compared to the background population," study author Monika Pankiewicz-Dulacz, from the University of Southern Denm...

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Wellness Library Results - 35

What is celiac disease? Just about everybody loves the smell of freshly baked whole-wheat bread, but not everyone can afford to take a bite. For anyone with celiac disease, this treat is practically poison. People with this condition are extremely sensitive to gluten, a class of proteins found in all foods made with wheat, rye, or barley. Even small amounts of these proteins can damage the intesti...

Walk into a crowded bus station or supermarket, and there's bound to be somebody who has had a colostomy. The thing is, you probably won't know who it is. People who have had a colostomy can work, exercise, and have sex -- in short, many are just as active as ever. But patients who have never had a colostomy often take a different view. For them, a colostomy represents a threat to their lifestyle...

Many people think the day isn't complete without a bowel movement, a notion that leads to a lot of unnecessary worrying. Elderly people, who are more prone to constipation, are especially likely to fret if a day or two passes without a little "quality time" in the bathroom, according to the National Institutes of Health. No matter what your age, though, bowel movements don't have to be an everyda...

What is a digital rectal exam? A digital rectal exam (DRE) is a simple, potentially life-saving procedure. It's also something that most people would rather avoid. If your doctor recommends a DRE, try to put your squeamishness aside and look at the big picture. A few moments of discomfort could be the key to a healthy future. The exam is very straightforward: Your doctor will slide a gloved, wel...

It's not a subject that lends itself to cocktail party talk, a first date -- or any date, for that matter. Yet who among us can claim to never have an embarrassing emission from time to time? Whether we like to talk about it or not, all of us produce gas throughout the day, every day. Most of the time, flatulence is one of life's minor annoyances -- and one that we might all feel happier without. ...

What causes diarrhea? Diarrhea is basically your body's reaction to toxins, an infection, or irritation in your intestines. It's caused by a multitude of problems and can be divided into acute (diarrhea that lasts a few days) and chronic (diarrhea that lasts longer than four weeks). Acute diarrhea is usually caused by the presence of a toxin (poison) in the gastrointestinal tract. Chronic diarrhe...

As far as anyone can tell, the appendix serves no particular purpose in the body. While your other organs are busy keeping you alive, this small, pinkish, finger-length abdominal sac seems content to just take up space. But every once in awhile, the appendix can be a matter of life and death. If the organ becomes swollen and inflamed -- a condition called appendicitis -- you'll need an emergency o...

If you've ever felt your insides twist in knots before a big speech, you know the stomach listens carefully to the brain. In fact, the entire digestive system is closely tuned to a person's emotions and state of mind, says William E. Whitehead, PhD, a professor of medicine and co-director of the Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders at the University of North Carolina. People with irrit...

What is anorexia nervosa? Anorexia nervosa, or simply anorexia, is a psychiatric and physical illness in which the sufferer basically starves herself. Clinically, a person is anorexic if she has 85 percent or less of the normal body weight for someone of her age and height, yet continues to fast or diet. An estimated 1 percent of teenage girls have the disease. It's a serious condition that can ca...

What is binge eating disorder? It's a behavioral disorder characterized -- as the name suggests -- by episodes of uncontrollable eating. If you have binge eating disorder (BED), you consume unusually large amounts of food at a single sitting -- probably in secret and until you're uncomfortably full. (This eating disorder is similar to bulimia, but people with BED don't try to compensate for their ...

The liver is a tough, resilient organ. We can flood it with toxins and expose it to nasty germs, and it still goes about its jobs of purifying blood, manufacturing bile, and keeping us alive. But even the liver has its limits. If it suffers too much damage over too many years, some of the cells will turn into scar tissue. This is called cirrhosis. If enough scar tissue forms, the liver will begin ...

What is Crohn's disease? A hundred years ago, before Crohn's disease had a name, doctors dismissed it as an untreatable illness or possibly a tumor. Doctors didn't know that patients' immune systems, the weapons for battling disease, were attacking their own digestive tracts. In people with Crohn's disease, tissues deep within the lining of the digestive system become inflamed. The inflammation ...

"Food, glorious food," begins the chorus of young boys in Oliver, the musical based on the Charles Dickens's classic, Oliver Twist. "Hot sausage and mustard. While we're in the mood, cold jelly and custard!" the residents of the orphanage continue in their ode to an imaginary feast, an antidote to their daily gruel. Although the poorhouse fare may be foreign to many, the cravings evoked in the bo...

Lying down after a big meal, you feel a burning pain in the center of your chest. Before long, the fire spreads upward to your neck. The pain eventually dies down, but not before you curse that third helping. That searing pain you felt was heartburn, also known as acid indigestion -- a symptom experienced by more than 60 million adults in the United States. A survey from Simmons Market Research B...

Smokers with digestive trouble often blame their diet, stress, bad luck -- anything but their cigarettes. After all, the stomach is a long way from the lungs. Or so it seems. You won't read it on the Surgeon General's warning, but the fact remains: Smoking is hazardous to your entire digestive system. If you're a smoker, think of that pain in your stomach or burning in your chest as a wake-up cal...

GERD is the acronym for gastroesophageal reflux disease, a condition in which stomach acid frequently splashes into the esophagus. GERD occurs when the valve connecting the stomach and esophagus becomes weak, turning the junction into a two-way street. Because the esophagus isn't well equipped to handle such a harsh liquid, GERD often causes burning pain and discomfort. Over time, it can even infl...

The gallbladder often seems more trouble than it's worth. This small storage pouch plays a minor role in the body, but it's a major source of disease. Specifically, the organ can become a breeding ground for gallstones, hard crystals that can cause absolute misery. Each year, about 1 million Americans develop gallstones. More than half never experience any troubling symptoms, and their gallstones...

What is gastritis? Many people -- including some doctors -- use "gastritis" as a fancy word for stomachache, but the term really means "inflammation of the stomach." Most people with sore stomachs don't have gastritis. When inflammation does set in, it can cause considerable pain and discomfort. Fortunately, gastritis is usually easy to control. You may need to make a few lifestyle changes or get...

Travelers to Mexico call it Montezuma's revenge, while Mexicans call it "turista" (tourist). It undoubtedly goes by other names in Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and other developing regions all over the world. Whatever you call it, travelers' diarrhea can put a major crimp in your vacation or business trip. Ten million visitors to developing countries pick up this unwanted souvenir eve...

What is dyspepsia? Dyspepsia -- commonly known as indigestion -- is a catch-all term for pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. Everything from stress to certain painkillers can cause indigestion, but with treatment and some basic lifestyle changes, most people find they can be free of it. If you have persistent stomach trouble, schedule an appointment with your doctor. You can rest assured he...

What is gastroenteritis? Many people blame "the stomach flu" whenever they fall ill with nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting. But stomach flu is actually a misnomer: The viruses that cause the "real" flu (influenza) usually don't affect the stomach. When doctors speak of stomach flu, they're usually referring to a popular name for a condition in which the digestive tract becomes irritated and inflamed....

Ever since aspirin hit the market in the late 1800s, it has been a fixture in medicine cabinets everywhere -- and for good reason. It erases headaches, soothes arthritis, lowers fevers, helps prevent heart disease, and may even ward off some types of cancer. If it were discovered today, doctors would hail it as a medical breakthrough. But for some people, aspirin has a serious downside -- especia...

This is a love story. I love Doritos. I have loved them as long as I can remember. I love the telltale orange mess they leave on your fingers and face; I love finding the chip that has so much "nacho cheese" on it that it is almost red; I love the way they taste with a cold diet soda; I'll even be so gauche as to say that I love the unmistakable stench of Doritos breath. This all would be fine,...

What is pancreatitis? The pancreas is a small, hard-working organ that sits behind the lower part of your stomach. A center that manufactures digestive juices and enzymes (which break down food in the stomach so the body can absorb it) and hormones such as insulin, it usually goes about its business without causing any trouble. But if something damages the organ, it can become inflamed, often cau...

From the bacterial point of view, the human intestine is the promised land. The gut is warm, moist, and full of good food. It's also extremely crowded. A cubic centimeter of prime real estate in the colon can hold 100 billion bacteria -- nearly 20 times the entire human population of earth. A few hundred billion bacteria may seem like plenty, but some people might benefit from even more. Probioti...

What's a hernia? If you have a hernia, a piece of intestine, fat, or other tissue is bulging through a torn or weakened abdominal muscle. Hernias can develop painlessly over time, or occur suddenly -- all it takes is increased pressure in the abdominal cavity. They commonly result from age-related wear and tear, heavy lifting, a congenital defect, sustained coughing, or obesity, but many hernias...

Do you have frequent bouts of constipation alternating with diarrhea? Have you periodically experienced abdominal pain, gas, painful cramping, bloating, nausea, and loss of appetite for no apparent reason? If so, you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Doctors describe IBS as a functional disorder, meaning that there's a problem in bowel function that appears to be unrelated to organic disea...

What is a peptic ulcer? The digestive juices that churn in our stomachs are great for dissolving dinner, but they can also be hard on our bodies. Under certain circumstances, the brew of acid and enzymes can eat away at the lining of the stomach or the duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine), creating an open sore that is commonly called a peptic ulcer. Estimates vary, but government sou...

Do you fear your breath is strong enough to scare small children? You might be mistaken. People are notoriously inept at assessing the odor of their own exhalations. A breath-mint addict who constantly worries about his breath may never have had a problem. At the same time, a person with truly noxious breath may be baffled when friends start offering mints or backing away during a conversation. I...

You don't need a PhD in physiology to know that stress can be hard on the stomach. We've all done our own experiments on the subject, intentionally or not. Remember how you felt the last time you spoke in public? Those butterflies weren't in your head. The impact of stress on the stomach goes far beyond indigestion, however. In recent years, doctors have uncovered a remarkably complex connection ...

In Turkish, they're known as "bottom tulips"; in Dutch they're called "anus berries." But to many who have hemorrhoids, they are simply -- well, a pain in the you-know-what. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins either inside the anus or rectum or around the outside of the anus. Women often develop them during pregnancy or while in labor. Anyone can get them, in fact, but hemorrhoids are more common as p...

What is constipation? If you've ever exchanged tips about eating prunes or drinking lots of water to stay regular, then you've probably had personal experience with constipation. More than 4 million Americans feel constipated frequently, according to a National Institutes of Health survey. Although constipation is common in all age groups, people over age 65 suffer from it the most. Constipation ...

At first glance, asthma and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) seem like completely unrelated problems. After all, asthma is a chronic lung condition that causes the airways to narrow in response to triggers like allergies, while GERD is a condition in which stomach acid often splashes into the esophagus. One leaves you gasping for air; the other makes you regret eating that last slice of pizz...

Americans spend more than $700 million on laxatives each year -- seemingly enough to keep the whole animal kingdom regular. But despite all of those powders and tablets and tonics, constipation is as common as ever. In fact, more than 4 million Americans say it's a frequent or constant problem. If you're frustrated by constipation, this might be the time to try a different approach. To help you ge...

Until recently, doctors had almost no idea what caused these often painful breaks in the stomach lining, and they were just as puzzled about treatments. (A medical text from 1957 recommends hourly feedings of milk and cream.) Ulcers are no longer such a mystery to doctors, but many myths and misunderstandings remain. Test your knowledge of stomach ulcers with this quiz. (And, by the way, skip the ...

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