19 Aug


The digestive system (or gut) is responsible for processing all that we eat and drink so that the essential nutrients can used to keep our body  provided with fuel.  There are millions of people in the UK who suffer with digestive problems but for most of us, abdominal issues may just be warning signs that we are doing too much, things are upsetting us, or we are eating the wrong foods and not giving ourselves enough time to relax and digest it. But there are some symptoms that could be caused by gastrointestinal disease, for which you need to see a doctor.As I thought about this blog I noticed that when I was doing my out of hours sessions that more than 50 % of those attending the Urgent Care Centre were complaining of abdominal pain with or without vomiting or bowel symptoms. They are anxious  and fearful and  attend at all hours
One father attended with his daughter who had come home from school gone to the fridge, drunk cold milk and the had instant abdominal pain. The father put her in the car and rushed her to A&E worried she might have had a serious reaction.
There are those that attend who have eventually plucked up courage to admit they are experiencing significant problems.
  Many people appear within an hour of vomiting and very concerned about starving and nearly always ask the  question “when can they eat?”
To understand our gut we need to start at the beginning….
imageIt starts at the mouth and the desire for nourishment starts the moment we are born. I remember my third child, who was ‘born in the car’ on her way to the hospital,  within minutes off birth was rooting for food and indeed she had her first feed  before she arrived at the hospital. I was also ravenous after delivery and enjoyed not only my breakfast but my husbands aswell. He was driving and  lost his appetite as he had the task of sorting out the car and caring for the other two children.
 I now understand why when I  witnessed my first births in Africa that the women always rushed to the entrance gate of the hospital to get food from the food sellers after they had delivered.
This illustrates how there is an instinctive need to eat,  but in times of fear and anxiousness(fight and flight) the desire goes away. We all know that lack of appetite before an examination or important social occasion.
The mouth is an important entrance to the gastrointestinal tract and it should guarded carefully
Now less people are in touch with their bodies they lose that instinct and eat out of habit rather than real need . Plates are piled high and many feel they have to finish every morsel whether they need to or not. We often don’t give ourselves enough time to eat and think carefully what we are eating and  whether the plate is  showing a balanced diet and whether our body actually needs it. There is an argument for saying grace at the beginning of a meal,as I remember in school, to allow the body to prepare itself for eating, activating the salivary glands and reflecting on what was to be eaten and starting the pace leisurely rather than leaping forward like an Olympic runner aspiring to win the race. Saliva not only lubricates the food but also contains enzymes that start chemically digesting your meal and special chemicals that help bacteria causing infections. Teeth break down large chunks into smaller bites. This gives a greater surface area for the body’s chemicals to work on. Recently articles have appeared in the press talking about a study of brain samples from deceased dementia patients and how unusually high levels of Porphyromonas gingivalis, a type of bacteria which causes gum disease were found.
Although the bacteria live in the mouth, they can enter the bloodstream during eating, chewing, tooth brushing or dental surgery, and potentially reach the brain, experts explained.
Inflammation caused by gum disease-related bacteria has already been linked to various health problems including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Researchers say they have uncovered how bacteria may set off a chain reaction leading to bowel cancer.
Fusobacteria, commonly found in the mouth, cause overactive immune responses and turn on cancer growth genes, two US studies reveal.
Dental care has deteriorated due to dental costs to patients and less care taken by individuals regarding dental hygiene and poor diet.
If you haven’t visited the dentist recently perhaps this will be a good promptThis is the link for our local dentists in and around West Ealing :-
The same link can be used to find dentists throughout England.
imageIt is so important to introduce chewing foods at an early age as this encourages the appropriate muscles to work together around the mouth and jaws and to stimulate  the production of saliva containing enzymes to. break down food into a  more digestible form. It is also important in the development of speech in formation and articulation. Many years ago, when I was doing paediatrics looking after children with cerebral palsy, the speech therapist fed the children initially to start the therapy  and emphasised the importance of chewing foods.
It is through the mouth that we can introduce substances that damage our health seriously whether its excessive carbohydrates,
image alcohol, drugs or simply placing a cigarette between the lips.
imageFizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, crisps and desserts are frequently eaten despite the fact that they may increase the risk of bowel cancer, according to a new study.
The tongue
The taste buds on the tongue allows use to experience the sensation of taste.
A bad taste in the mouth could be linked to a number of issues, including; constipation, loosely fitted crowns and gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue). A sour taste may be linked to acid reflux, where regurgitated stomach acid enters the mouth. Metallic tastes in the mouth may occur in women at the start of pregnancy, individual taking antibiotics, or those with a zinc or vitamin B12 deficiency.
The tongue is important manipulating food in mastication and in phonetic articulation of speech.Lips are a visible body part at the mouth of humans. They are soft, movable, and serve as the opening for food intake and in the articulation of sound and speech.
Trying to open a child’s mouth  is extremely difficult,like a vice, to keep things out and to keep things in. It is these muscles that allow us to suck fluids with a straw.
Lips are a tactile sensory organ. I always remember my mother checking if the washing was dry by putting the crisp shirts to her lips and seeing if eggs had not gone off by putting each en to her lips. Try it – one end should be warmer than the other.
They are the sensory gates and we have a choice what we allow to enter.

But we must not deny the fact they are tactile sensory organ giving pleasure in kissing! What better way of reminding us to love our gut…..

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Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Training and Advice


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