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The Age of Indigestion: Gas & the Growing Girl

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The approach of my 40th birthday has brought about some surprises. I'm happy to say that I haven’t had the flood of anxiety that some women experience at the looming arrival of "The Big Four-Oh." Instead, I've been pleased to discover new self-confidence, growing wisdom (though I'm the first to admit that I have much to learn), and a healthy appreciation for life that simply wasn't there in my early 30s. Who says it's all downhill after 40?

Except...well...there are some things that aren’t so refreshing. Despite my brand new "ready-for-the-world" attitude, my body isn't always on the same page. As a matter of fact, when it comes to eating the foods that I love, my body is reading an entirely different book! Suddenly, all of the things I love (ice cream, pizza, onions, bread, and...gasp...even chocolate!) are causing heartburn, painful cramps, bloating, and gas.

WHAT is going on?

Studies have found that nearly 40% of older adults have one or more digestive disorder symptoms each year. This is largely due to the changes that occur in the digestive tract with age. Those of us who once lived on 2am fast food runs and scarfed-down "meals" on the go are slowly starting to realize ... those days are gone forever.

A slowing metabolism means that it takes longer for food to work its way through our system. Our bodies are making less of the enzymes we need to break down food. And reduced hormone production can wreak all sort of havoc. Oh yeah. We're officially adults.

These changes can be even more pronounced in women, who are twice as likely as men to develop digestive problems. This is usually attributed to hormones. Most women can attest to the digestive disruptions that occur around their monthly cycle. Factor in the fluctuations in levels of progesterone, estrogen, and cortisol that occur with approaching menopause or peri-menopause and you’ve got yourself a hotbed of digestive distress.

How come no one tells us about changes in digestion as we age? A little warning would have been nice! Of course these gastric gaffes are perfectly normal, but that doesn't make it any easier. So what's a bloated, constipated, cramped-up, miserable girl to do?

Painful or uncomfortable issues with heartburn, gas or constipation are definitely something to bring to your doctor's attention. It's easy to blame everything on age, but these symptoms can also be signals of a more serious problem.

If all is well, then take stock of what you eat and listen to your body. If your last dinner of pepperoni pizza with extra onions and a glass of chardonnay left you in the bathroom for an hour or popping antacids all night, for Pete's sake...don’t eat it! Your belly will thank you.

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EmpowHER Guest

Same thing for me, I turned 40 and suddenly indigestion was rampant. My stoamch can't handle White Castle's the way it used to. Never before was indigestion an issue for me.

I've tried everything in teh world, short of prescriptions. And while I've cut out the White Castle and am now eating much better AND makingsure I don't eat or drink too close to bed time, I still have indigestion occasionally.

Tums, I found worked well short term, but I came to find out after doing some research that the calsium carbonate in it only stimulatd the production of gastrin whic hbrought me right back to having indigestiion again. So this was nothing more than a short term fix.

I started researching NATURAL things to solve the problem because why on eath would I want to add more chemicals to my body?

Things like Apple Cider vinegar? Well okay, I tried that. But you can't keep a bottle of THAT in your purse or glove compartment.

Researched some more on natural remedies and came across a product called Gingera Antacid at my local Whole Foods Store. I've had the best results with this. It's a powder that I can pour into a glass of water or a bottle of water and drink. I've found it gives me the quickest results and most lasting results.

Now if I could find something to help me with my over 40 reading vision, I'd be a real happy camper.

April 8, 2009 - 7:11am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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