Ah, the holiday season, that lovely time of year when visions of sugar-plums, fudge, and cocktails dance on into your mouth. A fun time for you? Yep! Fun for your tummy? Not so much. Fortunately, Amy Foxx-Orenstein, D.O., associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, gives the info you need to avoid being the, ahem, party pooper.
Culprit #1: Round three at the buffet
The Consequence: Heartburn. Gobbling too much food at once expands your stomach and puts pressure on the valve to the esophagus, which allows stomach acid to splash up.
The Cure: Popping antacids like Tums or Mylanta gives fast relief by calming stomach acid. Medications that reduce or block acid production, like Pepcid AC, aren't as quick as antacids but do offer longer relief.
Culprit #2: A little too much bubbly
The Consequence: Diarrhea. Toxins in alcohol interfere with the body's ability to absorb water, leading to an outpouring of intestinal fluid, resulting in watery stool.
The Cure: Start chugging -- sports drinks and water, that is. Downing lots of fluids can restore the body's normal balance faster by replacing the fluid that was lost.
Culprit #3: Candy, cookies, cake -- oh my!
The Consequence: Constipation. Not getting the recommended 25 to 35 grams of daily fiber means you don't have enough to absorb fluid and add bulk for easier BMs.
The Cure: Gradually increase the amount of fiber in your diet with lots of fruits and veggies, and be sure to drink plenty of water. Having trouble eating enough? Ask your doc about fiber pills. And for relief in a hurry, a stool softener or laxative such as Colace or Milk of Magnesia may help.