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Health Briefs

Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano

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Gut Check 

If your digestive system is working well, it’s easy to take it for granted. But when diarrhea, constipation, bloating or other symptoms strike, you know it. John Hyatt, M.D., a gastroenterologist on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, offers these pointers to help keep your system on track.

  • Choose a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. The fiber in produce can help keep your digestive system running smoothly.
  • Eat on a regular schedule.
  • Don’t overeat.
  • Stay hydrated. Aim for six to eight glasses of water a day.
  • Consider probiotics, foods such as yogurt and supplements that contain beneficial bacteria, if you’re suffering from diarrhea or constipation.

Dr. Hyatt says the most common condition he sees in his practice is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), where people have diarrhea, constipation or alternating bouts of both.

“If you have symptoms of IBS, be sure to be evaluated to make sure you don’t have a physiological or mechanical problem. Don’t just assume it’s IBS,” Dr. Hyatt says. One study found that 40 percent of people who thought that they had IBS actually had lactose intolerance, he points out.

He says that reducing IBS flare-ups mainly involves identifying and eliminating the foods that cause the symptoms.

Going Gluten-Free

With celiac disease, the small intestine reacts to gluten and its lining becomes damaged. The Celiac Disease Foundation estimates that up to 97 percent of people with the condition are undiagnosed.

People who have celiac disease can help heal their small intestines by choosing a diet that doesn’t contain gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and possibly oats.

Gluten-free foods include:

  • Rice, soy, corn, potatoes and beans, and flours made from them
  • Meat, fish and poultry
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Dairy products

Check the labels on any packaged food to be sure no ingredients containing gluten were added.

Do You Have Digestive Problems?

For a referral to a gastroenterologist on the Baylor Plano medical staff, call 1.800.4BAYLOR or search our online directory.