In my blogs regarding gut week I got as far as the stomach and although we are aware that what you put in your mouth must go down there are more hazards to come!
Moving down past the stomach the resulting thick liquid passes slowly into the small intestine.
*The small intestine – food particles move along this intricate tubing (about 6 metres long) and are broken down into simpler molecules, of carbohydrate, protein and fat. These are then absorbed into the blood stream.
*The large intestine – the remaining food particles spend 12-48 hours here. Here, water and minerals are absorbed while bacteria break down undigested food stuffs.
*The pancreas – not strictly part of the digestive system but this secretes an alkaline juice which neutralizes stomach acid, and enzymes that break down protein, fat and carbohydrates.It is also a gland that produces important hormones such as insulin.
* The liver – the chemical factory and warehouse of the body. Receives nutrients from the gut via the blood.
* The gall bladder – concentrates bile and squeezes it into the small intestine, where it helps digest fat.
Having understood how your gut works it is important to be in tune and be aware of signs that something is going wrong.
If you’ve never listened to your gut, you may be pleased to know that you’re not alone. In fact a recent Love Your Gut survey has shown that the majority of the nation (81%) are clueless about the health signs their gut is giving them. Almost three quarters (74%) even admit they rarely get concerned about the health of their digestive system.
But the digestive system is unique in the sense that it communicates signs – healthy and warning signs, using all of the five senses to provide health indicators. So by listening, tasting, seeing, smelling and feeling more, you can really tune in to your gut. This is why loveyourgut week was launched. If you want to know more about your gut follow the website below and download an information pack.
Gutweek leaflets include:-
Coeliac UK leaflet:
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten. Damage to the gut lining occurs when gluten is eaten. There is no cure or medication for the condition and the only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet for life.
Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley and rye so is commonly found in flours, bread, cakes, pasta, cereals and even sausages. 1 in 100 people have coeliac disease but misdiagnosis is high and a quarter of patients with an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) diagnosis actually have coeliac disease.
Symptoms can include:-
Bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, wind, constipation, tiredness, anaemia, mouth ulcers, headaches, sudden or unexpected weight loss, hair loss, skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis), short stature, osteoporosis, iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, depression, infertility, recurrent miscarriage, joint/bone pain.
A debilitating disease and the IBS network offers support and help to live with this condition.
symptoms can include:
. abdominal pain
. urgency/ incontinence
. back pain
The Bristol stool scale or Bristol stool chart is a medical aid designed to classify the form of human faeces into seven categories.
Types 1–2 indicate constipation, with 3 and 4 being the ideal stools (especially the latter), as they are easy to defecate while not containing any excess liquid, and 5, 6 and 7 tending towards diarrhoea.
Looking after your insides
This leaflet is issued by CORE http://www.corecharity.org.uk/
which is a charity that raises awareness and funds research into gut and liver disease.
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT
And, although we may all start life with just milk
on the menu, it is astonishing to think of the variety
of what passes our lips thereafter as we grow into adult life. However, eating and drinking ‘unwisely’ over long periods may lead to trouble.
Although some of us may claim to possess ‘cast iron guts’, many individuals need to be much more careful in their choice of what to eat and drink. So, the advice in this leaflet is trying to help you find ways of giving your guts the best chance of coping.
If you occasionally stray outside the guidelines we suggest, it’s very unlikely to cause you much harm. So, whilst you might come to regret choosing to eat that tempting but particularly spicy curry, it is unlikely to give you anything more than a short-lived heartburn or stomach upset. But if you regularly eat or drink unwisely, you might be building up longer- term troubles for yourself.
This leaflet answers many questions concerning our diet and what effects our digestion.
Love Your Gut leaflet
A comprehensive leaflet illustrating how using your senses you can appreciate the health of your gut and 2 very good questionnaire which can help to detect IBS or bowel cancer.
Good Bowel Health Book
This guide to good bowel health is issued by bowel cancer UK who produce useful guides and support for those with bowel cancer or those undergoing investigation such as colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy
The following red flags are important to note if you are concerned about this
*Bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
*A change in bowel habit lasting for 3 weeks or more especially to looser or runny poo
*Unexplained weight loss
for no obvious reason
*A pain or lump in your tummy
You may experience one, some or none of these however if you have any concerns or if things just don’t feel right, go and see your doctor.
Everyone in the UK is sent a testing kit at the age of 60yrs to detect blood in the stool as a screen for Bowel Cancer. If you have not received a kit request one from your GP
The IBS Self Care Plan
This shows you how you can plot your symptoms on any given day and this will help find out how your IBS responds to the changes in your life, diet or medication/therapy.
St.Mark’s and You Leaflet
St Mark’s is part of Northwick Park Hospital and is the country’s leading specialist hospital for colorectal and intestinal disease.
The beginnings of St Mark’s Hospital were in a small room at No 11 Aldersgate Street where, in 1835, Frederick Salmon opened ‘The Infirmary for the Relief of the Poor afflicted with Fistula and other Diseases of the Rectum’. There were just seven beds and in the first year 131 patients were admitted. One of the benefactors was Charles Dickens.
Thirteen years later, a site in City Road was purchased from the Dyers’ Company and the almshouses that occupied it were converted to a 25-bed hospital. This was opened on St Mark’s Day, 25 April 1854, and took the name of St Mark’s Hospital for Fistula and other Diseases of the Rectum.
By the 1870s, ever-increasing demands on the Hospital caused rebuilding to be considered. The adjacent site, occupied by rice mills, was acquired but could not be developed for some years due to lack of funds. Eventually, building began and in January 1896 the ‘New St Mark’s’ was opened. There was considerable difficulty in meeting the costs of maintaining the new building and it was the entertainment industry that finally came to the rescue. Lillie Langtry organised a Charity Matinee at her theatre in Drury Lane and the Hospital was saved. In 1909, the name of the Hospital was changed for a second time to St Mark’s Hospital for Cancer, Fistula etc.,
St Mark’s was taken over by the new National Health Service in 1948.
St Mark’s remained part of the Barts NHS Shadow Trust (later Barts NHS Group) until April 1994, when the changes envisaged by the Tomlinson Report came into force. At this point, Bart’s joined with the Royal London and the London Chest Hospitals to form the Royal Hospitals NHS Trust (later Barts and The London NHS Trust).
St Mark’s became part of the North West London NHS trust and moved to the same site as Northwick Park Hospital. The hospital maintains strong teaching ties with Imperial College School of Medicine.
I hope now on the final day of Love your gut week by reading these blogs about the gut and using the links suggested you will be better informed as to improve the health of your guts and be aware when something is wrong and seek the appropriate help.