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Medela Centers

Stomach & Digestive Problems

The health of the digestive system influences the health of the entire body. The interaction between the food we eat and our body begins in our digestive system and ultimately influences all 37 trillion cells of our body. In order to experience vitality and achieve optimal wellness, it helps to understand how the digestive system works and how to keep it functioning properly.

The primary component of the digestive system is the gastrointestinal (“GI” or “digestive”) tract. The GI tract is a tube that extends from the entrance (mouth) to the exit (anus). The GI tract includes the mouth, esophagus (in the throat and upper chest), stomach, small and large intestines, rectum, and anus. Critical to the functioning of the GI tract are certain accessory organs, such as the salivary glands, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, and the lymphatic glands (including the appendix).

The digestive process breaks down food into nutrients, which the body uses for energy, growth, defense against disease, and cell repair. What we introduce to our digestive system is broken down, absorbed into the bloodstream, and carried to cells throughout our body. Nutrients in food must permeate the walls of the GI tract to be utilized for our benefit. If food does not enter into the body in this way, it cannot provide nutrition. Thus, it’s technically not only what we eat, but what we break down and assimilate, that determines our health. The health of our entire body depends on whether we are able to efficiently break down food and absorb the nutrients in the food through the lining of the GI tract and into our bloodstream. For example, if you swallowed a marble, it would make its way from the mouth to the anus completely unchanged. This can also happen with food if the GI tract is unable to break down and assimilate the nutritional value of the food.

Any health program, structured diet, or effort to maintain or recover optimum health can be completely undermined by a poorly functioning GI tract. Improper digestion often leads to poor absorption of nutrients, and can also cause imbalances in the intestinal organisms and irritation of the GI lining. These issues can result in nutritional deficiencies, which may or may not be expressed by outward symptoms, and are often only recognized when a significant loss of wellness occurs or when the disease process becomes quite advanced. Poor digestion and inadequate absorption of nutrients interfere with a myriad of bodily functions, and can result in health problems, such as nutrient deficiencies, hair loss, fatigue, poor immune function, intestinal bloating and gas, inflammation, pain, skin issues, hormone imbalances, and more. Poor digestion interferes with the proper functioning of the entire body!

If you have experienced (or are experiencing) significant issues with your GI tract, your Medela Centers provider will work with you to develop an individualized program to improve your digestive health.