Case study: Painful stomach and bowel issues– Observing the disorder

A friend’s father is experiencing stomach pain, constipation and acidity, etc. and I’ll try to apply what I have learnt in my own research so far, and hopefully this is of use to many more who face similar issues…

Offhand, this seemed to me to be some kind of digestive issue and it could be addressed with diet or is a genetic issue (requiring other interventions, which mostly address symptoms rather than the core issue).
For now, let’s try to analyze the former and work on it till genetic tests prove otherwise.

(I started with one post but it go so long and boring that I had to break it down.)

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/ticklemonkey/

So, the next thought that came to mind was that addressing this will take time and hard work (with the ultimate reward of a self-cure) and involves a lot of changes and observations that are hard for someone to do and requires a lot of patience from the person experiencing the issues.
They have to be motivated to make all these changes and foremost understand that what they eat could cause this issue. This connection between health and the gut might seem obvious, but is not to many people.
Honestly, most people would find all this groundwork hard and overwhelming and so the next best thing would be to have a friend or a loved one check on them daily and take the notes.
Also remember that old age per se does that causes problems in many cases, but things get more evident with old age because of the continuous deterioration that was caused.

So, the first step would to understand the characteristics of the condition.
Ideally, one would take notes about what the person ate and when and what the severity of the disorder is and when it happens. If confusing, note down how the person feels every 4 hours.
See if a pattern emerges in this and if it correlates to anything that was consumed. This includes even things like tea, coffee and snacks and not just big meals.

Check if the person has a known allergy to something they eat or drink or it could be an unknown allergy. Note that we’re talking about a mild allergy to things that gets ignored, so careful observation is important.

I’ll talk more about allergies, etc. in future posts…

Also, if possible can the person stop the medication they are taking? They should consult with their doctor.
Many people might be popping antacids which are actually bad for them because of the way they line the stomach.
Some other medications have weird side-effects like indigestion, etc., so take a thorough inventory. For e.g. Metformin for Diabetes cannot be necessarily  be stopped – http://www.livestrong.com/article/76100-side-effects-diabetes-drug-metformin/ – but you could do some research and ask your doctor for alternatives.
Even, supplements like glucosamine, CoQ10, whatever should be stopped. This should not matter for a few weeks. Their effectiveness is a whole different debate that the multi- billion supplement dollar industry doesn’t want you to have.

Anyway, the first step is to define and observe what the person actually experiences…

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About Ra

Software Engineer (worked in corporations to healthcare start-ups), Geek, Musician, Artist, Fellow Human - living in the covergence space of healthcare, software, interaction design, the quantified self and genetics, music and spirituality
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