by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
When I started my practice in the early 1980’s, I was amazed by the number of women suffering from constipation, diarrhea, increased gas, bloating after eating, fatigue and the many other symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.
It wasn’t long before I realized this was a real women’s health issue. Research now indicates that gastrointestinal distress is more than twice as common in women as in men, that women have a greater incidence of complicating factors (like fibromyalgia, migraine and heartburn), and that for some women digestive health problems follow their menstrual cycle.
This kind of distress is considered a “functional condition” (meaning not a disease) by the conventional medical community, and as a result it is often not taken seriously. But from a holistic perspective, we know these GI symptoms indicate serious functional problems that can lead to disease.
Digestive problems often cause poor absorption of the nutrients our bodies need to maintain good health. The resulting nutritional deficiencies contribute to an increased risk of chronic disease (for more information, read our articles on health and vitamins). Resolving GI problems does not just improve your immediate quality of life by eliminating unpleasant symptoms — it also promotes long-term health.
Fortunately, there are many steps every woman can take to support healthy GI function and resolve digestive health problems. This section of our website is dedicated to helping women find relief from their gastrointestinal distress. Read our many articles that provide information about the digestive system, the symptoms and causes of common digestive conditions, and natural treatments for digestive problems.