What is the digestive system?
Our digestive system is the powerhouse of the body when it comes to absorbing energy and nutrients from our food. The digestive system is also referred to as our “gut” which includes the anatomy all the way from the mouth to the anus.
Our gut is also responsible for water and salt reabsorption in the body, vitamin and mineral absorption (Iron, B12, Calcium, Vitamin C plus many more!), waste storage and fermentation of undigested food (mediated by our gut bacteria or microbiota).
When should you seek help from a Health Professional?
Experiencing digestive symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and gut pain can wreak havoc on your quality of life!
There can be multiple factors that influence our digestive symptoms such as gastrointestinal diseases (Inflammatory Bowel disease, Coeliac Disease or Diverticulitis), functional bowel disorders (Irritable bowel Syndrome, functional constipation or functional Diarrhoea) as well as food, mood and our gut microbiome.
Therefore, investigating why you may be experiencing digestive symptoms can be extremely difficult and requires the knowledge and expertise of a Health Professional such as an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
If you are suffering from digestive symptoms and would like to know more, please book in a consultation here.
Lactose intolerance basically means the lactose that we eat is unable to be digested or broken down by our body. Lactose is a sugar found mainly in dairy foods but the content varies widely with some dairy foods containing little or no lactose.
Lactose is a “di-saccharide” made up of two sugar units, glucose and galactose (“mono-saccharides”). Lactase is the enzyme within your small intestine that breaks down the lactose sugar molecule into these “mono-saccharides” (glucose & galactose). Glucose and galactose are then digested and used by the body for fuel!
Lactose can be poorly digested in some people because they may not have sufficient amounts of this lactase enzyme - approximately 70% of the adult population.
Poorly digested lactose attracts water into the small intestine (causing diarrhoea) and passes into large intestine where it is fermented by gut bacteria (causing excess gas). This causes unpleasant symptoms such as: bloating, excess gas (flatulence), stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
If you feel like Lactose Intolerance may be something you suffer from, book in a consultation here.
How is our food digested?
Food is ingested through your mouth, before passing through the oesophagus, stomach and small intestine. The small intestine is where we absorb the majority of our food and consists of different sections that play different roles in digestion (duodenum, jejunum and ileum).
The small intestine is then followed by the large intestine that also has different sections (caecum, transverse colon, descending colon and sigmoid colon). The last parts of the gut include your rectum and anus.
The large bowel is where the majority of water is absorbed from our food and is also a storage space for any undigested food and fibre. Once water is drawn out of the undigested food and fibre, these harden and form faeces, which are then excreted.
If you are suffering from digestive issues and would like to know more, please book in a consultation here.