Common Causes of Digestive Problems
Just as there are many common digestive problems, there are many common causes. When it comes to disrupting the bacterial balance in your digestive system, there are a wide variety of dietary and lifestyle factors, including:
- A diet high in sugar;
- Low consumption of soured milk products;
- Antibiotic use;
- Excessive alcohol intake;
- Fluoridated and/or chlorinated water supplies;
- Radiation therapy;
- Exposure to toxic metals, pollutants, and/or radiation; or
- Use of non-steriod anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDS (like Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, Rufin, Medipren, Midol, etc..).
Besides symptoms, another good indicator of bowel problems is the pH of your stool. Remember the pH scale measures how acidic or how alkaline something is. It runs from 0 (the most acidic reading) to 14 (the most alkaline reading). The midpoint 7 is neutral.
The pH of your stool should be slightly acidic, about 6.7 to 6.9. Generally, an alkaline pH (about 7) indicates poor bacteria flora, whereas a very acid stool pH can occur with excessive amounts of sucrose (table sugar) or lactose (milk sugar) in the diet.
This can be checked by using pH paper or with a liquid test agent called Bromthymol. The easiest to obtain is the pH paper, which is sold in many aquarium shops, pharmacies, medical supply houses, or by chemical supply companies. To determine the pH, simply touch the paper to a moist stool sample (before it hits the water in the toilet) and compare the color change to the chart that comes with the paper.
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