Common Unhealthy Habits That Harm Your Digestive Health


Posted By Author on March 14, 2022

The choices you make every day impact your digestive health. Even seemingly insignificant decisions, like which snack to munch on, can affect your body’s function – and the way you feel. Stress also plays a major role, plaguing many Americans and contributing to a host of unhealthy habits harming your digestion and overall health. In fact, around 20 million Americans suffer from chronic digestive diseases.

If you are looking for relief from acid reflux, stomach discomfort or other digestive symptoms, our Charleston gastroenterology specialists can help! Simple lifestyle changes are often an effective treatment option.

Common Unhealthy Habits Impacting Your Digestion

Drinking alcohol.
Alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to ingest nutrients properly, with excessive amounts causing damage to the throat, esophagus, liver, pancreas, colon, and intestines. The following digestive diseases have been linked to moderate/high alcohol consumption:

  • Throat and esophageal cancers
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Colon cancer
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Diseases (GERD)

Smoking cigarettes.
While most assume that lung cancer is the only unfortunate result of smoking cigarettes, the habit causes damage to other organs as well. Smoking is a risk factor for the following digestive diseases:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer of the colon and rectum
  • Stomach cancer

Smokers are also more likely to suffer from acid reflux and peptic ulcers than nonsmokers.

Consuming a poor diet.
A diet lacking in nutritious foods and fiber can also increase your risk for digestive disorders. It’s no secret that foods high in sugar, grease and saturated fats are easily accessible – but choosing healthy, high-fiber foods instead can encourage regular bowel movements and help avoid constipation and other unpleasant symptoms. Try fresh fruits and vegetables, like sweet potatoes, bananas, broccoli, spinach and more!

Overeating.
After eating too much, you likely feel bloated and uncomfortable. This makes it more difficult for your body to digest your stomach’s contents, causing it to produce extra digestive enzymes that can back up into the esophagus and pass through the esophageal sphincter – and cause painful heartburn!

Because digestive triggers vary from person to person, it can be tricky to pinpoint what is upsetting your digestive tract. Our Charleston gastroenterology specialists can help! Just note what foods and drinks seem to upset your digestion, and log your symptoms along with the time they occurred.

Charleston GI Can Help You Maintain A Healthy Digestive System

A healthier lifestyle is a great step toward a healthy digestive system. With the help of our skilled gastroenterologist, we can support you in avoid unhealthy habits harming your digestion. In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, our Charleston GI team may suggest over-the-counter medications or additional testing. We treat a wide range of GI conditions, including acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, Celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and more!

Some gastrointestinal diseases are hereditary, making screening tests a powerful tool for prevention. Screenings save lives, especially for patients with a family history of GI disease. Colonoscopies, for instance, can help us detect cancerous cells in their early stages, giving patients a much higher rate of survival.

Charleston GI is proud to serve the community we call home. We offer 4 convenient office locations in Summerville, Carnes Crossroads, Mt. Pleasant, and West Ashley. Our team of GI specialists is excited to meet you, so schedule your appointment today! You can even get to know us beforehand by clicking here.

If you’re looking for a good gastroenterologist near me, visit Charleston GI.