Posted on

Doctors are reporting a rise in the number of people suffering from gastrointestinal problems.

Issues such as erratic eating patterns, stress from hectic lifestyles, more processed food and “excess hygiene in childhood, lowering gut immunity” being seen as major factors.

Recent research has found that stomach ache, bloating and cramps are on the increase, despite people with such problems trying to be more careful over what they eat.

Experts have warned that measures to try to ease the problem could actually be making them worse.

Advice to add bran to cereals to help with constipation has now been found to exacerbate some forms of constipation, and jacket potatoes, often seen as a healthy option as they are low fat and a good source of vitamins B, B6 and C and fibre, can lead to problems because of the fillings like butter and mayonnaise which are added.

Dr Anton Emmanuel, consultant gastroenterologist at London’s University College Hospital, said: “I often see patients who are unwittingly making their tummy symptoms worse.”

Honey can also cause digestive issues because it contains a lot of fructose which is not well absorbed into the gut and while salads and sandwiches may appear healthy the fat in mayonnaise and salad cream can upset the stomach.

Other foods experts say to be aware of include mild curries, onions, coffee and chocolate.

Chocolate can lead to stomach cramps, heartburn and bloating while coffee acts like a laxative, by increasing contraction in the small and large intestinal muscles.