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Q&A on digestive health with Dr Sarah Brewer

(47 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 04-Mar-10 12:33:33

Hello. Have you got any questions about digestive health, digestive discomfort, probiotics, bloating, IBS? Dr Sarah Brewer, GP and author, can answer all your questions about these issues - and more.

Dr Brewer is following this thread from today until March 11. Please post your questions here any time from now until then, and we'll post up Dr Brewer's answers a week or so later.

This Q&A is sponsored by the yoghurt brand Activia.

SpawnChorus Thu 04-Mar-10 21:09:08

What are your thoughts on weaning babies at six months?

And why is baby poo yellow?

And why is it that I dodge the political webchats, yet I'm happy to talk shit?

Maratch Thu 04-Mar-10 21:39:05

I have been giving my DS a probiotic supplement (Optibac in powder form) - is there any evidence that this has benefits for his immune system / digestive health? Or is it just a total waste of money?!

hobnob57 Thu 04-Mar-10 21:52:48

Can pregnancy mess with your bowels? Since DD2 was born 3 months ago, I can't handle oats or nuts in my diet - the volume and frequency and aroma of gas produced is just blush and vile. I didn't have this problem pre-pg but I remember something similar after DD1. What is happening? I'm dairy and gluten-free ATM if that makes a difference due to DD's intolerances.

squeaver Thu 04-Mar-10 21:55:20

I have only one question: Martine McCutcheon? Really?

lisalisa Thu 04-Mar-10 22:20:50

Hi Dr Brewer

I would love to ask you a question please.

For the last six months I have been suffering episodes of extreme pain in my lower abdomen right side only. It is a stabbing pain like a needle going in and feels deep inside. It feels very much like wind and my whole stomach swells up and is very tender.

the episodes of pain last about 5 days and start slowly. By day 3 I am bedridden.

The first time this happened I was rushed to hospital in a blue light ambulance as I was crawling the walls with pain. They could find nothing wrong and the pain eventually subsided.

It returned again just 2 weeks ago and i suffered 5 days of intense pain which again took me out of my life and into bed with its severity. this time I was tested for ovarian cancer which thankfully came back negative.

I feel this may be diet related and wonder if you had any ideas please?

In between pain episodes I am pain free

tatt Thu 04-Mar-10 22:49:50

Hi Dr Brewer

My coeliac blood test was negative but if I miss any gluten I forget everything, lack energy, fall asleep after lunch and not surprisingly get very depressed. I've had 2 tests for bone density - one was lower than average but not realy bad, the other OK. Anything else that could cause those syptoms or should I be going back on gluten and asking for a biopsy?

ppeatfruit Fri 05-Mar-10 10:02:46

lisa lisa..iam not a doctor which means iam unbiased. Try giving up wheat of any type and see if there's an improvement.

If a child has a food intolerance, is it better to cut out that food completely until it no longer affects them, or to allow them to have it in moderation?

I'm particularly interested in dairy intolerance, as it affects my 3yo and my 7yo. I kept them on a strictly dairy-free diet for nearly 18m, before relaxing the diet. It is clear when they have had too much dairy, as their previous symptoms return, albeit more mildly than before. I'm not worried about their calcium intake, as I ensure they have calcium-fortified foods, as well as other, natural, sources of calcium.

Bucharest Fri 05-Mar-10 10:33:38

I was treated twice last year for h.pylori (first antibiotics didn't work) I haven't yet been retested, and the gastritis type pain is much less frequent, and I keep it under control with peppermint oil and gastrocote....

Does Manuka honey really (as told to me by a health food store bod) make all residue of the bacteria go away completely without the need for further antibs? Asking because my Gp said that current medical feeling is to try and treat the h pylori no more than twice, after which you just have to live with it....(do not, obviously wish it to develop into ulcers/stomach C further down the line!)

Miggsie Fri 05-Mar-10 11:54:37

Dr Brewer
I have a lot of gut problems that started recently.
I used to be a regular for bowel movements, once a day in the morning.
But now I go 4 or 5 times a day. Nothing particularly wrong with the actual motion, but it is so more frequent.
Second, often at night I feel like I really really want to do a poo, but I do not need to, but it still feels like I do.

I am also feeling nauseous for a lot of the time, today I am not even eating as the thought of food is making me feel quite ill.

I am not pregnant, but it really feels like something is pressing on my bowel and stomach all the time. My gut is making lots of gurgling noises and I am burping a lot as well.

I have tried various things such an ant acids and plant extracts for bowel movement but I can't honestly say I notice any difference from when I am taking and when I am not.

Can you explain the difference in activity on 'digestive health' between branded yoghurts and generic live yoghurt?

tabouleh Fri 05-Mar-10 21:47:21

moondog why are you so rude?

have you read the mumsnet onlinechat guidelines?

although perhaps you are also that rude to guests to your house hmm

I've reported your posts.

tatt Sat 06-Mar-10 09:02:30

Probably should have said that my gp ran a few other blood tests for things like aneamia and thyriod and they are all in normal range.

Coldhands Sun 07-Mar-10 08:10:14

I was diagnosed with IBS a few years ago and only recently tested for coeliac disease but nothing else has even been considered. Is this normal as I'm not convinced it is just IBS.

Get agonising pains, go to the toilet very quicky and can be on and off all evening. Stomach then feels very sore and tender. Often bleed from the back which clears up itself then starts again a while later. Stomach always makes very loud noises which is really embarrasing as the whole room will notice.

jalopy Sun 07-Mar-10 11:33:59

Have you advice on how to manage non-ulcer gastritis?

I'm a non smoker, don't drink alcohol, avoid spicy and acidic foods, eat a balanced, low fat diet, not on medication (apart from omeprazole - prescribed by gastroenterologist), have low caffeine intake and exercise regularly.

Despite this regime, I'm still very prone to flare ups. Have you any other suggestions?

Thanks.

MudandRoses Sun 07-Mar-10 21:46:57

rubyslippers my mum has ulcerative colitis. Diet makes a hige difference to her. She has to avoid things like coffee (tea is ok), coconut (high fibre irritates it I think), white bread...when she was first diagnosed it was much worse and she ate rye bread (avoiding wheat flour, I guess), but she is able to eat most things now, so it does settle down. Hope you're feeling ok!

hobnob57 Mon 08-Mar-10 14:21:38

Yes, yes, prettycandles' question re. childhood food intolerances. If they are exposed to foods they are intolerant of, is it actually harming them? DD1 seems to have a threshold for dairy, beyond which her face puffs up, her flatulence is embarrassing and the sore tummies begin again. DD2 seems to be intolerant of several thing in my diet (she is BF) which I haven't got to the bottom of yet, so is her digestive system being harmed in the meantime if she is gaining weight ok? Her dirty nappies are swimming in mucus...

Imustbenuts Wed 10-Mar-10 10:42:39

Re IBS: I read an article which said that it can be irritated by too much fibre and suggested eating oats. I sent the atricle to my mum, who has IBS, and she swapped her All Bran for porridge and the severity of her symptoms has reduced enormously.

On another note my OH says he has never known anyone with as much wind as me. I don't get pain or bloating but I do seem to have more wind than most. I eat a "normal" diet. Any suggestions?

posieparkerfuckityfuck Wed 10-Mar-10 10:46:22

My DH A member of my family is very stinky, terrible smelly blowoffs and poo that, quite frankly, fills the whole house with it's toxic odour. I think this is due to rotten guts through years of drinking too much. Am I right? What can be done?

emmap Wed 10-Mar-10 14:19:58

i get bloated every afternoon after lunch. every afternoon. doesnt matter what i eat, whether i fast, slowly etc. the next phase - ie, release of bloating, windy-style - are fairly high powered. why the bloating?!

CatherineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 11-Mar-10 11:45:49

Hi all, just to let you know that today is the last day for questions. Answers will be back up by Mon 22nd March.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 22-Mar-10 17:59:32

Hello, here are Sarah's answers.

Thanks to Sarah and to everyone who posted a question.

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