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8 tips for healthy eating
The Eatwell Guide
Food labelling terms
Reference intakes on food labels
Starchy foods and carbohydrates
Dairy and alternatives
Meat in your diet
Fish and shellfish
The healthy way to eat eggs
Beans and pulses
Water, drinks and your health
Eating processed foods
5 A Day portion sizes
5 A Day recipes
5 A Day tips
5 A Day and your family
5 A Day on the go
5 A Day on a budget
5 A Day FAQs
School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme
Salt: the facts
Sugar: the facts
Top sources of added sugar
What does 100 calories look like?
Red meat and the risk of bowel cancer
What is a Mediterranean diet?
How to store food and leftovers
10 ways to prevent food poisoning
Why you should never wash raw chicken
How to wash fruit and vegetables
The truth about sweeteners
Sprouted seeds safety advice
Surprising 100-calorie snacks
Chilli con carne
Easy Italian chicken
Hearty vegetable soup
Mediterranean beef pasta
Tomato pasta sauce
Digestive complaints such as constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn and bloating are very common and usually treatable with lifestyle measures and medicines you can buy without a prescription from a pharmacy.
Around 4 in 10 people have at least one digestive symptom at any one time, according to Dr Anton Emmanuel, consultant gastroenterologist at University College Hospital in London.
The most common are:
"Most digestive problems are to do with lifestyle, the foods we've eaten, or stress. Which means that taking steps to change your lifestyle can help, and often prevent, many of these problems," says Dr Emmanuel.
"There's a wide choice of pharmacy medicines for heartburn, indigestion and similar problems that are very good for short-term relief of symptoms," he adds.
Medicines that can upset your tummy
Certain medicines that your doctor may have prescribed for you for other health conditions can lead to side effects that may upset your tummy and cause indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation.
Talk to your GP if you rely on these medicines and are also prone to indigestion or ulcers. Paracetamol is a useful alternative.
Certain tranquillisers, painkillers, iron tablets and cough medicines can cause constipation and some people get diarrhoea while taking antibiotics or blood pressure medicine.
Always tell your doctor if your prescribed medicines are upsetting your tummy.
When to see a doctor
Digestive symptoms are usually harmless and often settle down by themselves, but sometimes they do not go away and can be a signal of serious illness.
Dr Emmanuel advises anyone who has taken a pharmacy remedy for a digestive problem for 2 weeks with no improvement to see their GP.
He also highlights 5 symptoms, which mean you should see a doctor straight away.
These symptoms may be a warning of a serious digestive illness: