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Here's what you need to know about your gut and digestive system - the stuff you're too embarrassed to ask your doctor about.
- How often you should go to the bathroom? Basically, you're probably not backed up. According to Dr. William Chey, director of the G.I. lab at the University of Michigan, this is a healthy range for going #2: Between three times a day - and three times a week. As long as you're not in pain in between, you're fine.
- Your stress can cause heartburn. It can wreak havoc on digestion, and cause tension throughout your body. Dr. Liz Lipski wrote the book Digestive Wellness, and she says forget the Tums. The best medicine for an upset stomach may be chilling out.
- Wanna know if you really are lactose intolerant? Try this DIY test from Dr. Brian Lacy, chief of gastroenterology at Dartmouth Medical Center. Chug a quart of low-fat milk over a thirty minute period. If you can get down that amount of milk with no gas, bloating or diarrhea - you're not lactose intolerant.
- Stop complaining about bloat and just get moving. Cardio is one of the best ways to get gas moving out of your system. But you may want to run outdoors, and not on a treadmill in an enclosed space.
- Forget about getting a colonic. You don't need one. When you wash out your system, you lose the bacteria you need to absorb vitamins. Gastroenterologist Dr. Jonathan LaPook says our colons are self-cleaning - you just need more fiber to keep things moving. So eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice.
- If you're going on a date, order the chicken or fish with green beans. That's the safest vegetable in terms of not causing digestive tract distress. And chicken or fish are proteins that won't make you gassy.