(Nevada News Service) A new survey from healthcare provider MDVIP found a majority of Americans aren't keeping their gut health in check and are experiencing recurrent digestive issues such as gas, bloating and abdominal pain - but very few actually seek medical care.
Chief Medical Officer with MDVIP Dr. Andrea Klemes said many and across the country know very little about how important good gut health is.
She said gastrointestinal issues are linked to other serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer's disease.
"Now, the gut has good and bad bacteria in it, and that bacteria is a balance," said Klemes. "That's what makes you have a healthy gut or an unhealthy gut. That unhealthy gut can make you have bigger disease issues like the heart attack, but also can cause symptoms like brain fog or fatigue, moodiness or even eczema or psoriasis."
Klemes said their survey found more than half of participants have used over-the-counter digestive products such as fiber supplements and laxatives.
She added that "people are looking for a magic pill," but says the best way to a have a healthier gut is through the food you eat.
She said probiotic foods such as yogurt and pickles can really go a long way. Prebiotic foods like garlic, onions, asparagus and oats feed the good bacteria.
Klemes added that most adults believe the myth that healthy people should have a bowel movement every day. She said that simply isn't true.
She said the number of times you visit the restroom in a day or week varies from person to person. She said one should understand what is "normal for you" - and when something is abnormal, she said you should visit your doctor.
Klemes said women are also more affected by digestive woes than men, with three in four experiencing symptoms a few times a month or more.
"It is interesting because women said they felt more dismissed by their doctor," said Klemes. "So it is hard, if you have a GI issue, you shouldn't suffer in silence. If your doctor doesn't take it seriously, then you need to find another doctor."
Klemes said stress, daily activity and other lifestyle habits can also have an impact on gut health. She encouraged everyone to take her group's "Gut IQ" quiz to learn more about proper gut health.