Steps You Can Take To Improve Your Digestive Health
Off and on, over the years, I’ve had a few instances of abdominal discomfort. Usually, it was lying down after eating, eating something spicy, or other indigestion problems. I never attributed stomach issues to my childhood sexual abuse experience. I didn’t even know digestive issues were a potential consequence of childhood trauma.
But, in 2020, my stomach swelled as if I was at least three months pregnant and beyond a comfortable level. Later, a blood test revealed positive Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria associated with gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), stomach cancer, and other issues. I admit I was under a lot of stress, but the stress was self-induced. For most of my life, I had taken a spiritual approach to life experiences, seeing life experiences as something to learn from.
But, when my career did a 360 in part because of our move to Oregon, I took a more victim approach to life. After my abuse experience, I let anger (at my father’s interference with my mother becoming a nurse), a broken compass to my life’s work, and the unconscious need to redeem myself lead me down the nursing path. And, ever since my Saint Louis apartment days, I wanted time to figure out what I really wanted to do.
As you know, nothing we do is in vain, and I learned so much about the human body, and I have several years of teaching nursing subjects, including pharmacology, under my belt. In other words, nursing ended up being a stepping stone to my life’s work. I loved teaching about the different body systems, including the digestive system and Helicobacter pylori aka. H. pylori to my nursing students. Many of my students had never heard of H. pylori before and were excited they knew something many others did not. Even some were tested and felt better because they knew what caused their stomach discomfort was.
When I started having stomach issues in 2020, I knew stress and H. pylori were the causes. But, spiritually, I felt attacked in different directions instead of learning from life, taking time to rest, and allowing circumstances and people to be as they are.
Common symptoms of H. pylori infection include bloating, nausea, and stomach pain. And, if you were to research many digestive issues (diabetes, GERD, IBS, stomach cancer, and others), stress is a common factor. Our body is paying the price for our fast-paced lifestyle.
I couldn’t finish the medication regime because of an allergic reaction to some of the medications. Usually, the treatment for H.pylori treatment is. But, I could control my stress, and eventually, that is what I did.
Two Bible verses came to me during 2020 during my stressful state…One was you do not have because you do not ask. I asked God for healing. Second, I visualized being able to enjoy food again. I avoided spicy foods. I accepted my circumstances and did the best I could with what I had. And, I remembered many of the teachings I had as a child, including being more present with nature.
A major part of my stress was not digesting my life as it was. For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to enjoy life and believed there was a life flow. And, I am on the path to enjoying each day for what it is. Therefore, my digestive system is no longer out of order. I accept my life and where I am today.
This month, August 2021, I will focus on digestive health. Of course, I am adding a spiritual twist to digestive health because we are more than our bodies. However, our body deserves the best treatment possible to do the work we came to do and so we can have life more abundantly.
Here are some thoughts to consider going forward.
- Know that your digestive system, like your entire body, is wise and works together for your good, no matter your experiences.
- Your digestive system will show you what foods and life experiences fuel it or lessen its effectiveness.
- Your digestive system relies on certain chemicals (neurotransmitters, vitamins, minerals, and other biochemicals to work efficiently and effectively.
- Your digestive system works together with all of your other systems.
- We have the support we need to live life more abundantly (John 10:10).
So, how can you improve your digestion health?
- Pay attention to your digestive symptoms. For example, what brings you bloating, excessive gas, stomach cramps, indigestion, and an overall unwell feeling. Some people have digestive symptoms when they are in contact with other people.
- Eat your last meal two-three hours before you go to bed. Digestion can take three hours, so laying down after eating can interfere with the absorption of nutrients your body needs.
- Drink plenty of water. Speak with your healthcare provider about how much water you should be drinking. Many experts now say drink 1/2 your body weight.
- Know that eating huge meals at one time can strain your digestive system. Your body has to deal with the overload of nutrients, including sugar from carbs and fruits.
- Try Hara Hachi bu. No. It’s not another dance routine. It’s a Japanese term for eating when you are 80% full. Many of us grew up under the rule of cleaning our plate before dessert, other activities, or just because our parents said so. We don’t have to clean our plates or overload our system. We know overeating can cause other health issues, including overweight, obesity, diabetes, and others. We can change our internal programming to reflect what we now know.
- Know that much of the stress we have is self-induced. One critical step in managing stress is controlling the stories we tell ourselves about our lives and the people in them.
- Journal your symptoms and discuss them with your healthcare provider. And always feel comfortable seeking a second opinion.
- Be active. Your stomach cells and the overall digestive system requires oxygen and rich blood.
Okay, all. I’ll share more information on digestive health throughout the week. Until then, make the best of each moment and your lifetime. Be still and know you don’t always have to be busy. Enjoy the gift of life as it is.
P.S. Do you want to know more about weathering through adversities and staying healthy? Then, sign up for my quarterly newsletters and join the community bent on healing from the inside out, reuniting with our purpose, and achieving and sustaining our best health possible.