Covid-19's impact on the gut

Over the past four months, a rapid increase in gastrointestinal infections has been noted in people, according to Dr Jignesh Gandhi, consultant laparoscopic and gastrointestinal surgeon at the Hiranandani Hospital in Navi Mumbai, India.

He believes this is because of a decrease in physical activity, change in food consumption and binge eating brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"A number of people have problems with hyper-acidity and gastro reflux disease," he said. "Another health concern is gall-bladder stones, which are associated with severe pain in the abdomen.

"If not treated in time, it can lead to life-threatening complications."

According to Dr Gandhi, many people have also complained of pain in the right-lower abdomen. This is due to constipation or acute appendicitis, he said.

A lower intake of fluids and odd sleeping hours mainly lead to these problems, pointed out the doctor.

Dr Gandhi said it is crucial for people not to panic. Medical aid is available at hospitals or via tele-consultation.

Self-help also ensures good health.

Avoid fermented food

Due to a lack of physical activity during the lockdown, consuming fermented food may lead to reflux issues.

If beset with gastrointestinal issues, it is best to cook and consume all meals at home.

Consume healthy food

Eat small meals every two hours (time required for digestion).

Keep alternating between a liquid diet and a regular soft diet to ensure smooth digestion.

If possible, go for a walk daily.

Maintain low-fat diet

Lower your intake of carbohydrates and add more protein.

Sufficient intake of fluids is crucial.

Hydrating yourself well is the key to good digestion.

Take time to eat

Quick consumption of food leads to aerophagia (swallowing of air with food), which leads to reflux.

Simply enjoy your meal, rather than finishing it like a chore, which has a huge impact on digestion.

Social and stress-related habits such as alcohol consumption and smoking can also be detrimental to the digestive system.

Indo-Asian News Service