Monday, March 30, 2020
Diarrhoea

New research uses high quality data to find that the type 2 diabetes drug rosiglitazone raises the risk of adverse cardiovascular events by 33%.

Rosiglitazone is a drug originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in 1999 under the name Avandia.

Although Europe suspended the drug due to concerns about its adverse effects on heart health, and the United States restricted its use, the research on its safety has so far yielded mixed results.

Now, a new study, appearing in the journal The BMJ has used more reliable data to investigate the effects of this drug on cardiovascular health.

Joshua D. Wallach, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, CT, is the lead author of the new paper.

The need for more accurate data

The FDA approved rosiglitazone in 1999, a year ahead of Europe, note Wallach and colleagues in their paper.

Regulatory bodies warned about its potential effects on heart failure as early as 2006, and a meta-analysis of several trials pointed to a 43% higher risk of heart attack in 2007.

As a result, by 2010, the drug was pulled off European markets because it raised the risk of heart attack and stroke.

In the U.S., the drug is still available, although it features warnings on its packaging, and the FDA restricted its availability in 2010-2011.

The fact that the drug is still available is primarily due to the mixed results yielded by the investigation into the drug’s cardiovascular effects.

However, the new research suggests that these mixed results are due to the poor quality of the data that these previous studies used.

Namely, these previous papers did not have access to “individual patient data (IPD),” that is, raw data, such as the medical records of patients, instead of summary-level data, which are the final results of clinical trials, for example.

Studying rosiglitazone and heart health

To rectify this methodological problem, Wallach and colleagues set out to analyze over 130 clinical trials; the researchers had access to IPD for 33 of these trials. This totaled 48,000 adult patient data, of which researchers had IPD for 21,156.

The clinical trials were randomized, controlled, phase II-IV trials that had studied and compared the effects of rosiglitazone with any other control for at least 24 weeks.

“The control group was defined as patients who received any drug regimen other than rosiglitazone, including placebo,” explain the researchers.

The team examined the outcomes of “acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, cardiovascular-related death, and noncardiovascular-related death” in their analysis of trials for which they had IPD.

For the other trials, the researchers examined myocardial infarction and cardiovascular-related death only, using summary-level data.

A 33% higher risk of cardiovascular disease

The analysis revealed a 33% higher risk of heart attack, heart failure, cardiovascular deaths, and noncardiovascular-related deaths combined for people who were taking the drug compared with people who were taking another control substance, including placebo.

Wallach and colleagues conclude:

“The results suggest that rosiglitazone is associated with an increased cardiovascular risk, especially for heart failure events.”

The findings also serve to emphasize the importance of using raw data to accurately assess the safety of a drug, say the authors.

“Our study suggests that when evaluating drug safety and performing meta-analyses focused on safety, IPD might be necessary to accurately classify all adverse events,” they write.

“By including this data in research, patients, clinicians, and researchers would be able to make more informed decisions about the safety of interventions.”

“Our study highlights the need for independent evidence assessment to promote transparency and ensure confidence in approved therapeutics, and postmarket surveillance that tracks known and unknown risks and benefits.”

Two recent but separate studies have demonstrated how bitter melon and turmeric could be used to prevent, treat and reduce the progression of cancers.

Commonly called bitter melon, bitter gourd, African cucumber or balsam pear, Momordica charantia belongs to the plant family Cucurbitaceae. In Nigeria, bitter melon is called ndakdi in Dera; dagdaggi in Fula-Fulfulde; hashinashiap in Goemai; daddagu in Hausa; iliahia in Igala; akban ndene in Igbo (Ibuzo in Delta State); dagdagoo in Kanuri; akara aj, ejinrin nla, ejinrin weeri, ejirin-weewe or igbole aja in Yoruba.

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family, Zingaberaceae. In traditional medicine, turmeric has been used for its medicinal properties for various indications and through different routes of administration, including topically, orally, and by inhalation.

In Nigeria, it is called atale pupa in Yoruba; gangamau in Hausa; nwandumo in Ebonyi; ohu boboch in Enugu (Nkanu East); gigir in Tiv; magina in Kaduna; turi in Niger State; onjonigho in Cross River (Meo tribe).

Turmeric, also known as curcuma, produces a root that is used to produce the vibrant yellow spice used as a culinary spice so often used in curry dishes. Though native to India and parts of Asia, and is a relative of cardamom and ginger, turmeric has been domesticated in Nigeria. In Asia, turmeric is used to treat many health conditions and it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and perhaps even anticancer properties.

Meanwhile, Prof. Ratna Ray from Saint Louis University in Missouri, United States (U.S.), and her colleagues, in a recent study on bitter melon, made an intriguing find. In experiments using mouse models, bitter melon extract appeared to be effective in preventing cancer tumours from growing and spreading.

The researchers report their findings in a study paper that now appears in the journal Cell Communication and Signaling. Ray grew up in India, so she was familiar not just with the culinary qualities of bitter melon, but also with its alleged medicinal properties.

This made her curious as to whether or not the plant also harbored properties that would make it an effective aid to anticancer treatments. She and her colleagues decided to put this to the test in a preliminary study by using bitter melon extract on various types of cancer cells — including breast, prostate, and head and neck cancer cells.

Laboratory tests showed that the extract stopped those cells from replicating, suggesting that it might be effective in preventing the spread of cancer. In further experiments using mouse models, the researchers found that the plant extract was able to reduce the incidence of tongue cancer.

So, in their new study, Prof. Ray and team tried to find out what might give bitter melon compounds an edge against cancer cells. This time, they used mouse models to study the mechanism through which bitter melon extract interacted with tumors of cancer of the mouth and tongue.

They saw that the extract interacted with molecules that allow glucose (simple sugar) and fat to travel around the body, in some cases “feeding” cancer cells and allowing them to thrive.

By interfering with those pathways, the bitter melon extract essentially stopped cancer tumors from growing, and it even led to the death of some of the cancer cells. Ray said: “All animal model studies that we’ve conducted are giving us similar results, an approximately 50 per cent reduction in tumor growth.”

Ray and colleagues explained that it remains unclear whether or not bitter melon would have the same effect in humans, but Prof., going forward, this is what they are aiming to find out.

“Our next step is to conduct a pilot study in [people with cancer] to see if bitter melon has clinical benefits and is a promising additional therapy to current treatments,” she noted.

Ray seemed convinced that the plant is, if nothing else, at least a positive contributor to personal health.“Some people take an apple a day, and I’d eat a bitter melon a day. I enjoy the taste,” she said.“Natural products play a critical role in the discovery and development of numerous drugs for the treatment of various types of deadly diseases, including cancer. Therefore, the use of natural products as preventive medicine is becoming increasingly important.”

Meanwhile, a recent literature review investigated whether turmeric may be useful for treating cancer. The authors concluded that it might be but noted that there are many challenges to overcome before it makes it to the clinic. The chemical in turmeric that most interests medical researchers is a polyphenol called diferuloylmethane, which is more commonly called curcumin. Most of the research into turmeric’s potential powers has focused on this chemical.

Over the years, researchers have pitted curcumin against a number of symptoms and conditions, including inflammation, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, liver disease, obesity, and neurodegenerative diseases, with varying levels of success.
Above all, though, scientists have focused on cancer. According to the authors of the recent review, of the 12,595 papers that researchers published on curcumin between 1924 and 2018, 37 per cent focus on cancer.

In the current review, which features in the journal Nutrients, the authors mainly focused on cell signaling pathways that play a role in cancer’s growth and development and how turmeric might influence them. Treatment for cancer has improved vastly over recent decades, but there is still a long path to tread before we can beat cancer. As the authors note, “the search for innovative and more effective drugs” is still vital work.

In their review, the scientists paid particular attention to research involving breast cancer, lung cancer, cancers of the blood, and cancers of the digestive system. The authors concluded: “Curcumin represents a promising candidate as an effective anticancer drug to be used alone or in combination with other drugs.”

According to the review, curcumin can influence a wide range of molecules that play a role in cancer, including transcription factors, which are vital for Deoxy ribonucleic Acid (DNA)/genetic material replication; growth factors; cytokines, which are important for cell signaling; and apoptotic proteins, which help control cell death.

Alongside the discussions surrounding curcumin’s molecular influence over cancer pathways, the authors also addressed the possible issues with using curcumin as a drug. For instance, they explain that if a person takes curcumin orally — in a turmeric latte, for example — the body rapidly breaks it down into metabolites. As a result, any active ingredients are unlikely to reach the site of a tumour.

With this in mind, some researchers are trying to design ways of delivering curcumin into the body and protecting it from undergoing metabolisation. For instance, researchers who encapsulated the chemical within a protein nanoparticle noted promising results in the laboratory and in rats.

Although scientists have published a great many papers on curcumin and cancer, there is a need for more work. Many of the studies in the current review are in vitro studies, which means that the researchers conducted them in laboratories using cells or tissues. Although this type of research is vital for understanding which interventions may or may not influence cancer, not all in vitro studies translate to humans.

Relatively few studies have tested turmeric’s or curcumin’s anticancer properties in humans, and the human studies that have taken place have been small-scale. However, aside from the difficulties and limited data, curcumin still has potential as an anticancer treatment.

Scientists are continuing to work on the problem. For instance, the authors mention two clinical trials that are underway, both of which aim to “evaluate the therapeutic effect of curcumin on the development of primary and metastatic breast cancer, as well as to estimate the risk of adverse events.”

They also refer to other ongoing studies in humans that are evaluating curcumin as a treatment for prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and lung nodules, among other diseases. The authors believe that curcumin belongs to “the most promising group of bioactive natural compounds, especially in the treatment of several cancer types.”

However, their praise for curcumin as an anticancer hero is tempered by the realities that their review has unearthed, and they end their paper on a low note: “Curcumin is not immune from side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, headache, and yellow stool. Moreover, it showed poor bioavailability due to the fact of low absorption, rapid metabolism, and systemic elimination that limit its efficacy in diseases treatment. Further studies and clinical trials in humans are needed to validate curcumin as an effective anticancer agent.”

Meanwhile, an earlier study published in journal Current Pharmacology Reports established that besides diabetes, bitter melon is effective in treating other chronic diseases such as cancer and Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

The study is titled “Bitter Melon as a Therapy for Diabetes, Inflammation, and Cancer: a Panacea?” The researchers noted: “Over the last few decades, multiple well-structured scientific studies have been performed to study the effects of bitter melon in various diseases. Some of the properties for which bitter melon has been studied include: antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-HIV, anthelmintic, hypotensive, anti-obesity, immuno-modulatory, anti-hyperlipidemic, hepato-protective, and neuro-protective activities. This review attempts to summarize the various literature findings regarding medicinal properties of bitter melon. With such strong scientific support on so many medicinal claims, bitter melon comes close to being considered a panacea.”

According to Food as Medicine: Functional Food Plants of Africa published 2017 by CRC Press, “…Dietary use of bitter melon or its juice decreases blood glucose levels, increases High Density Lipo-protein (HDL)/good cholesterol, and decreases triglyceride levels, thus exhibiting antiatherogenic qualities. Extract of bitter melon in supplement form has been widely used as a traditional medicine for diabetic patients.

When administered alone, it has a modest hypoglycemic effect at doses of at least 2000 mg/day. This botanical supplement enhances the cellular uptake of glucose and promotes insulin release, potentiating its effect, and in animal studies has been shown to increase the number of insulin-producing beta cells in diabetic animals. Bitter melon has also been found to reduce adiposity and oxidative stress in addition to reducing blood triglycerides and Low Density Lipo-proteins (LDL)/bad cholesterol.”

Tap water may be the cause of one in 20 cases of bladder cancer in Europe each year, a major study suggests. Researchers have linked drinking, showering and bathing in the water to more than 6,500 cases of the disease in 26 countries across the continent.

They estimate 1,356 bladder cancer diagnoses in Britain since 2005 were caused by contaminated water, making up a fifth of all cases in the European Union (EU).

Long-term exposure to a group of chemicals called trihalomethanes (THMs) is thought to be the cause. The chemicals, shown to be carcinogenic in animal studies, are formed as an unintended byproduct when water is disinfected with chlorine at supply plants.

As well as being drunk, steam given off in the shower can allow tap water to seep into people’s pores, and so too can prolonged periods in the bath. Earlier research has found an association between THMs and bladder cancer, but this is the first to estimate the scale of the problem. Some 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year in the United Kingdom (UK), making it the tenth most common form of the disease.

The latest study estimates nine per cent of them are caused by exposure to water contaminated with THMs.The findings are published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Scientists from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) set out to analyse the presence of the chemicals in drinking water in all 28 EU states between 2005 and 2018.

They did this by sending questionnaires to bodies responsible for the national water quality. Data was obtained for 26 countries – all except Bulgaria and Romania. The scientists probed levels of THMs in water at the tap, in the distribution network and at water treatment plants.

To make estimates as accurate as possible, the researchers also used other sources including open data online, reports and scientific literature. The findings revealed considerable differences between countries. Average THM levels were above legal levels in nine countries – Britain (24.2ug/l) , Spain, Portugal, Poland, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland and Italy.

The European Union has said the maximum limit is 11.7 micrograms per litre (ug/L). The European Union has said the maximum limit of THMs in water should be 11.7 micrograms per litre (ug/L). Researchers estimated the number of attributable bladder cancer cases using incidence rates and levels of THMs.

Analysis suggested Cyprus had highest percentage, with a quarter of diagnoses linked to the chemicals. Joint second-wort were Ireland and Malta, where one in six bladder cancer patients (17 per cent) are thought to have developed it from exposure to tap water.

Spain (11 per cent) and Greece (10 per cent) were not much better. At the opposite extreme was Denmark, where less than 0.1 per cent of cases were caused by THM water contamination. In Holland it was just 0.1 per cent of cases and Germany 0.2 per cent. THMs could be blamed for 0.4 per cent of cases in Austria and Lithuania. In total, the researchers estimated that 6,561 bladder cancer cases per year are attributable to THM exposure in the European Union.

The study authors say if the 13 countries with the highest averages were to reduce their THM levels to the EU average, 2,868 annual bladder cancer cases could be avoided.

Chloroform is the most infamous type of THM, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) describes as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’.Co-study author Manolis Kogevinas, a researcher from ISGlobal, said: “Over the past 20 years, major efforts have been made to reduce trihalomethanes levels in several countries of the European Union, including Spain.

“However, the current levels in certain countries could still lead to considerable bladder cancer burden, which could be prevented by optimising water treatment, disinfection and distribution practices and other measures.”

A spokesperson for Britain’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “This Government takes the safety of our drinking water extremely seriously, and have a robust monitoring regime in place which tests for a wide range of chemicals, including trihalomethanes, to ensure the public can have absolute faith in the water coming from their taps.

“The latest figures from 2018 found only four samples out of 11,900 exceeded the legal limits, and firm action was taken in each of these four cases.”

A study in September last year discovered 22 carcinogenic substances in water across the United States (U.S.).Despite the fact that most of the water systems they tested were within federal limits on each of these toxins, the scientists estimated that their cumulative effects could be dire over the course of Americans’ lifetimes.

Exposure to arsenic, products of disinfectant chemicals and traces of radioactive chemicals like uranium and radium had the most substantial effects on cancer risks. Over 1.7 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed in the US each year. In the same time period, over 600,000 people die of the disease.

Better prevention strategies, earlier detection and better treatments – like the immunotherapies that are revolutionizing the disease’s future – have driven cancer mortality down dramatically. Yet the disease’s elimination is no where in sight. In part, this is because its roots are many, and difficult to control.

Rather than being triggered by any one thing, genetics, what you eat, where you live, how you eat and, of course, the water you drink all play roles in raising or lowering cancer risks.

Some chemicals, like arsenic are nearly impossible to keep out of water in certain places. For example, in some areas of Illinois, the soil is rich in arsenic, a toxic, carcinogenic heavy metal, linked to liver and bladder cancers.

Arsenic seeps into the ground water, and winds up in our bodies. It also leaks into the water supply from many types of manufacturing plants.US water systems treat drinking water with chlorine – a non-carcinogenic cleaning chemical – in an attempt to reduce or eliminate the metal.

A new form of viral pneumonia is spreading in China and has already been detected in neighbouring countries. In response to the outbreak of new strand of coronavirus, the World Health Organisation has urged countries to “strengthen their preparedness for health emergencies”.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government is keen to avoid a repeat of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or severe acute respiratory syndrome, another coronavirus that started in 2002 and killed nearly 800 people. But what is this new strand and what effect does it have on people?
Here is what you need to know.

What is the virus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses causing illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).It is called a novel coronavirus (nCoV) when a new strain has been identified in humans.

Public Health England (PHE) is currently using the name Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV) for the new strand – named after where it was discovered – until there is an internationally accepted name for the virus and the disease or syndrome it causes. You may also see it referred to as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) elsewhere.

Where did the virus come from?
On December 31, last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

On January 12 this year the novel coronavirus had been identified in samples obtained from cases. Initial analysis suggested that this was the cause of the outbreak. Many, but not all, of the cases identified in Wuhan had been to or worked in a seafood and live animal market in the city (Huanan South China Seafood Market).
This market was closed on January 1, 2020, and sanitised. As of January 14, no additional cases had been detected in Wuhan since January 3.

What are the symptoms?
A vendor gives out copies of newspaper with a headline of ‘Wuhan break out a new type of coronavirus, Hong Kong prevent SARS repeat’ at a street in Hong Kong.

Fever, fatigue and dry cough are the main symptoms in the early stage of illness and some patients may not progress to more severe illness, according to PHE.

Dyspnoea – a condition that causes difficulty with breathing – is said to be common in hospitalised patients, while vital signs were reported to be generally stable at the time of admission. Older patients with an underlying disease were more likely to progress to severe disease.

As of January 12, six of the 41 patients had recovered and been discharged, six have severe illness, and one patient died – though at least two more have died since. One individual who died was 61 and had pre-existing significant medical conditions and required intensive care.

How is the virus passed on?
Some coronaviruses are passed on easily from person to person, while others are not. Little is known about WN-CoV at this stage and investigations are ongoing but it is “reasonable to assume” the strand could be passed on between animals and humans, according to government advice.

That is because many cases were associated with a market containing a range of dead and live animals. According to Public Health England (PHE), authorities in China reported on January 14 that an infected man had worked in the Huanan seafood market, but his wife, who is also a confirmed case, denied having been to the same market. This means it is possible that there is limited human-to-human transmission within a family setting, but investigations are ongoing. Other coronaviruses are airborne and can be passed on between humans.

Should tourists avoid any countries?
The WHO is not currently recommending any trade or travel restrictions, based on information available.

Is there a vaccine?
When a disease is new, there is no vaccine until one is developed. It can take a number of years for a new vaccine to be developed, according to WHO.

Anxiety commonly causes a change in appetite. Some people with anxiety tend to overeat or consume a lot of unhealthful foods. Others, however, lose their desire to eat when they feel stressed and anxious.

Anxiety is a mental health condition that affects 40 million adults in the United States each year. Changes in appetite are one of many possible symptoms.

Keep reading to learn more about the link between anxiety and a loss of appetite, some potential remedies and treatments for the problem, and some other common causes of appetite loss.

Anxiety and appetite loss

When someone starts to feel stressed or anxious, their body begins to release stress hormones. These hormones activate the sympathetic nervous system and trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response.

The fight-or-flight response is an instinctive reaction that attempts to keep people safe from potential threats. It physically prepares the body to either stay and fight a threat or run away to safety.

This sudden surge of stress hormones has several physical effects. For example, research suggests that one of the hormones — corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) — affects the digestive system and may lead to the suppression of appetite.

Another hormone, cortisol, increases gastric acid secretion to speed the digestion of food so that the person can fight or flee more efficiently.

Other digestive effects of the fight-or-flight response can include:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • indigestion
  • nausea

This response can cause additional physical symptoms, such as an increase in breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure. It also causes muscle tension, pale or flushed skin, and shakiness.

Some of these physical symptoms can be so uncomfortable that people have no desire to eat. Feeling constipated, for example, can make the thought of eating seem very unappetizing.

Overeating vs. appetite loss

People who have persistent anxiety or an anxiety disorder are more likely to have long-term heightened levels of CRF hormones in their system. As a result, these individuals may be more likely to experience a prolonged loss of appetite.

On the other hand, people who experience anxiety less frequently may be more likely to seek comfort from food and overeat. However, everyone reacts differently to anxiety and stress, whether it is chronic or short-term.

In fact, the same person may react differently to mild anxiety and high anxiety. Mild stress may, for example, cause a person to overeat. If that person experiences severe anxiety, however, they may lose their appetite. Another person may respond in the opposite way.

Men and women may also react differently to anxiety in terms of their food choices and consumption.

One study indicates that women may eat more calories when anxious. The study also links higher anxiety with a higher body mass index (BMI) in women but not in men.

Remedies and treatment

Individuals who experience a loss of appetite due to anxiety should take steps to address the issue. Long-term appetite loss can lead to health problems. Potential remedies and treatments include:

1. Understanding anxiety

Simply realizing that sources of stress can trigger physical sensations can go some way toward reducing anxiety and its symptoms.

2. Addressing sources of anxiety

Identifying and dealing with anxiety triggers can sometimes help people regain their appetite. Where possible, individuals should work to eliminate or reduce stressors.

If this proves challenging, a person may wish to consider working with a therapist who can help them manage anxiety triggers.

3. Practicing stress management

Several techniques can effectively reduce or control anxiety symptoms, including appetite loss. Examples include:

  • deep breathing exercises
  • guided imagery practice
  • meditation
  • mindfulness
  • progressive muscle relaxation

4. Choosing nutritious, easily digestible foods

If people cannot eat much, they should ensure that what they do eat is nutrient-rich. Some good choices include:

  • soups containing a protein source and a variety of vegetables
  • meal-replacement shakes
  • smoothies containing fruits, green leafy vegetables, fat, and protein

It is also a good idea to opt for easily digestible foods that will not further upset the digestive system. Examples include rice, white potato, steamed vegetables, and lean proteins.

People with symptoms of anxiety may also find it beneficial to avoid foods that are high in fat, salt, or sugar, as well as high-fiber foods, which can be difficult to digest.

It can also help to limit the consumption of drinks containing caffeine and alcohol, as these often cause digestive problems.

5. Eating regularly

Getting into a regular eating pattern can help the body and brain regulate hunger cues.

Even if someone can only manage a few bites at each mealtime, this will be better than nothing. Over time, they can increase the amount that they eat at each sitting.

6. Making other healthful lifestyle choices

When a person is anxious, they may find it difficult to exercise or sleep. However, both sleep and physical activity can reduce anxiety and increase appetite.

Individuals should try to get enough sleep each night by setting a regular sleep schedule.

They should also aim to exercise most days. Even short bursts of gentle exercise can be helpful. People who are new to exercise can start small and increase the duration and intensity of activities over time.

When to see a doctor

People should see a doctor if their appetite loss persists for 2 weeks or more, or if they lose weight rapidly. A doctor can check for an underlying physical condition that may be causing symptoms.

If the loss of appetite is purely a result of stress, a doctor can suggest ways to manage the anxiety, including therapy and lifestyle changes.

They may also prescribe medication to those with chronic or severe anxiety.

Other causes of appetite loss

Anxiety is not the only cause of appetite loss. Other possible causes include:

  • Depression: As with anxiety, feeling depressed can cause a loss of appetite in some people but lead others to overeat.
  • Gastroenteritis: Also known as a stomach bug, gastroenteritis can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
  • Medication: Some medications, including antibiotics and certain pain relievers, can reduce appetite. They can also cause side effects that include diarrhea or constipation.
  • Intense exercise: Some people, especially endurance athletes, experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and intestinal cramping after periods of intense activity, which may result in a loss of appetite.
  • Pregnancy: Some pregnant women may lose their appetite due to morning sickness or because of pressure on the stomach.
  • Illness: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or cancer, can lead to a reduction in appetite.
  • Aging: Appetite loss is common among older adults, possibly due to a loss of taste and smell or because of illness or medication use.

Summary

Anxiety can cause a loss of appetite or an increase in appetite. These effects are primarily due to hormonal changes in the body, but some people may also avoid eating as a result of the physical sensations of anxiety.

Individuals who experience chronic or severe anxiety should see their doctor.

Sometimes, there may be other reasons for appetite loss that also require treatment.

Once a person addresses the anxiety, their appetite will typically return. Without treatment, long-term appetite loss and chronic anxiety can have serious health consequences.

Lower abdominal pain is pain that occurs below a person’s belly button. Bloating refers to a feeling of pressure or fullness in the abdomen, or a visibly distended abdomen. Sometimes, these symptoms occur together.

Though occasional lower abdominal pain and bloating are common, a person should speak to their doctor if it becomes a regular occurrence. In some cases, this combination of symptoms may indicate an underlying issue that requires medical treatment.

Keep reading for more information on some of the more common causes of abdominal pain and bloating. We also outline various treatment options for this combination of symptoms.

Causes of both abdominal pain and bloating

There are several causes of combined lower abdominal pain (LAP) and bloating. Some relatively harmless, or benign, causes include:

  • consumption of high fat foods
  • swallowing too much air
  • stress

In some cases, LAP and bloating can occur as a result of an underlying medical condition, such as:

  • constipation
  • food intolerances, such as lactose or gluten intolerance
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), although this more commonly causes upper abdominal pain-gastroenteritis, which is inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that causes vomiting and diarrhoea
  • diverticulitis, which is inflammation or infection of part of the large intestine
  • ileus, which is a condition that slows the function of the small and large intestine
  • delayed stomach emptying, or gastroparesis, which is a complication of diabetes mellitus
  • intestinal obstruction
  • inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)

Other conditions that can cause LAP and bloating are specific to females. These include:

  • menstrual pain
  • endometriosis
  • ovarian cysts
  • pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • pregnancy
  • ectopic pregnancy

LAP and bloating can also be due to conditions that do not necessarily affect the stomach, intestines, or reproductive organs. These conditions include;

  • drug allergies
  • side effects of certain medications
  • hernia
  • cystitis, or infection of the urinary tract infection
  • appendicitis, or inflammation of the appendix
  • kidney stones

When to see a doctor

If the cause of LAP and bloating is relatively benign, symptoms should go away within a few hours to days.

A person should see a doctor if:

  • their symptoms last longer than a few days
  • their symptoms begin to interfere with their daily life
  • they are pregnant and are unsure of the cause of LAP and bloating

People should seek immediate medical attention if vomiting or the inability to pass gas occur alongside LAP and bloating.

People who experience LAP and bloating along with one or more of the following symptoms should seek emergency medical attention:

  • sudden worsening of pain
  • fever
  • unusual vaginal discharge
  • bloody stool
  • unexplained weight loss
  • severe nausea and vomiting

Diagnosis

To make a diagnosis, a doctor will begin by carrying out a physical examination. An initial examination will involve applying pressure to the abdomen. This will help the doctor to check the location of pain and to feel for any abnormalities.

A doctor will also make a note of the person’s medical history, and any other symptoms they experience. They may also ask whether there is anything that triggers the pain or makes it worse.

Diagnostic tests, such as urine, blood, or stool tests, may also be necessary. These can help to identify signs of infection or other underlying conditions.

In some cases, a doctor may order one of the following imaging tests to check for abnormalities in the abdomen:

  • ultrasound
  • X-ray
  • CT or MRI

If the imaging tests come back normal, a doctor may perform a colonoscopy for a closer look inside the intestines.

Treatment

The following are some general home treatment options that may help to alleviate symptoms of LAP and bloating:

  • increasing fluid intake
  • exercising to help alleviate gas and bloating
  • taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications
  • taking OTC antacids

If home treatments do not work, a person should speak to their doctor about other treatment options. These will vary, depending on the cause of LAP and bloating. However, some examples include:

  • prescription medications to treat pain and bloating
  • antibiotics to help treat a bacterial infection
  • emergency surgery to remove a ruptured appendix

Prevention

There are some steps a person can take to help alleviate LAP and bloating. Two key steps include quitting smoking and avoiding trigger foods.

The following are examples of foods that may cause or contribute to LAP and bloating:

  • high fat foods
  • certain plant-based foods, such as cabbage, lentils, and beans
  • dairy products if a person is lactose intolerant
  • carbonated drinks
  • beer
  • chewing gum
  • hard candy

Also, people may benefit from increasing their intake of high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This will help to prevent constipation and associated bloating.

If an underlying condition is the cause of LAP and bloating, then treating the condition should help to alleviate these symptoms.

Outlook

There are many potential causes of lower abdominal pain and bloating. Some causes are relatively benign and easy to treat, while others may be more serious.

Occasional lower abdominal pain and bloating are usually not a cause for concern. However, people should see a doctor if their symptoms worsen, last more than a few days, or disrupt their daily activities.

People who experience additional symptoms, such as vomiting, fever, or blood in the stool, should seek emergency medical attention.

In some cases, people can prevent lower abdominal pain and bloating by avoiding foods that may trigger these symptoms.

The kidneys are small organs in the lower abdomen that play a significant role in the overall health of the body. Some foods may boost the performance of the kidneys, while others may place stress on them and cause damage.

The kidneys filter waste products from the blood and send them out of the body in the urine. They are also responsible for balancing fluid and electrolyte levels.

The kidneys perform these tasks with no outside help. Several conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, may affect their ability to function.

Ultimately, damage to the kidneys may lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD). As the authors of a 2016 article noteTrusted Source, diet is the most significant risk factor for CKD-related death and disability, making dietary changes a key part of treatment.

Following a kidney-healthy diet plan may help the kidneys function properly and prevent damage to these organs. However, although some foods generally help support a healthy kidney, not all of them are suitable for people who have kidney disease.

Water

Water is the most important drink for the body. The cells use water to transport toxins into the bloodstream.

The kidneys then use water to filter these toxins out and to create the urine that transports them out of the body.

A person can support these functions by drinking whenever they feel thirsty.

Fatty fish

Salmon, tuna, and other cold-water, fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids can make a beneficial addition to any diet.

The body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, which means that they have to come from the diet. Fatty fish are a great natural source of these healthful fats.

As the National Kidney Foundation note, omega-3 fats may reduce fat levels in the blood and also slightly lower blood pressure. As high blood pressure is a risk factor for kidney disease, finding natural ways to lower it may help protect the kidneys.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are similar to white potatoes, but their excess fiber may cause them to break down more slowly, resulting in less of a spike in insulin levels. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, that may help balance the levels of sodium in the body and reduce its effect on the kidneys.

However, as sweet potato is a high-potassium food, anyone who has CKD or is on dialysis may wish to limit their intake of this vegetable.

Dark leafy greens

Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and chard, are dietary staples that contain a wide variety of vitamins, fibers, and minerals. Many also contain protective compounds, such as antioxidants.

However, these foods also tend to be high in potassium, so they may not be suitable for people on a restricted diet or those on dialysis.

Berries

Dark berries, which include strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are a great source of many helpful nutrients and antioxidant compounds. These may help protect the cells in the body from damage.

Berries are likely to be a better option than other sugary foods for satisfying a sweet craving.

Apples

An apple is a healthful snack that contains an important fiber called pectin. Pectin may help reduce some risk factors for kidney damage, such as high blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Apples can also often satisfy a sweet tooth.

Foods to avoid

There are several foods that people should avoid if they want to improve their kidney health or prevent damage to these organs.

These include the following:

Phosphorous-rich foods

Too much phosphorus can put stress on the kidneys. ResearchTrusted Source has shown that there is a correlation between high phosphorous intake and an increased risk of long-term damage to the kidneys.

However, there is not enough evidence to prove that phosphorous causes this damage, so more research into this topic is necessary.

For people looking to reduce their phosphorous intake, foods high in phosphorous include:

  • meat
  • dairy products
  • most grains
  • legumes
  • nuts
  • fish

Red meat

Some types of protein may be harder for the kidneys, or the body in general, to process. These include red meat.

Initial research has shown that people who eat a lot of red meat have a higher risk of end-stage kidney disease than those who eat less red meat. However, there is a need for more studies to investigate this risk.

Foods for people with CKD

Sliced cabbage on a board
Cabbage may be beneficial for people with CKD.

While the above foods may support a healthy kidney in general, they are not usually the best choices for people with CKD.

Doctors will put most people with CKD on a specific diet to avoid minerals that the kidneys process, such as sodium, potassium, and phosphorous.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommend that people with CKD eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day.

As CKD progresses, people may also need to limit their phosphorous intake, as this mineral can build up in the blood of people with this disease.

Choosing the right amount of potassium is also important for people with CKD, as problems may occur when potassium levels get too high or low.

People with CKD should aim to eat healthful foods that are low in these minerals but still provide the body with other nutrients.

It may also be important for people with CKD to reduce their protein intake and only include small amounts of protein in their meals. When the body uses protein, it turns into waste, which the kidneys must then filter out.

As a 2017 studyTrusted Source notes, eating a diet lower in protein may protect against complications of CKD, such as metabolic acidosis, which occurs as kidney function deteriorates. The researchers indicated that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in protein might help reduce these risks.

People with CKD can work directly with a dietitian to create a suitable diet plan that meets their needs.

Cabbage

Cabbage is a leafy vegetable that may be beneficial for people with CKD. It is relatively low in potassium and very low in sodium, yet it also contains many helpful compounds and vitamins.

Red bell peppers

In addition to being very low in minerals such as sodium and potassium, red bell peppers contain helpful antioxidant compounds, which may protect the cells from damage.

Garlic

Garlic is an excellent seasoning choice for people with CKD. It can give other foods a more satisfying, full flavor, which may reduce the need for extra salt. Garlic also offers a range of health benefits.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable for people with CKD. With the right preparation, it makes a good replacement for foods such as rice, mashed potatoes, and even pizza crust.

Cauliflower also contains a range of nutrients without providing too much sodium, potassium, or phosphorous.

Arugula

People with CKD may have to avoid many greens, but arugula can be a great replacement. Arugula is generally lower in potassium than other greens, but it still contains fiber and other beneficial nutrients.

Berries

bowl of blueberries
Blueberries are a healthful snack for people with CKD.

The fruits below can be a healthful sweet snack for people with CKD:

  • cranberries
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • red grapes
  • cherries

Olive oil

Olive oil may be the best cooking oil because of the type of fat that it contains. Olive oil is high in oleic acid, which is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that may help reduce inflammation in the body.

Egg whites

Eggs are a simple protein, but the yolks are very high in phosphorous. People with CKD can make omelets or scrambled eggs using just the egg whites.

Foods for people with CKD to avoid

For people with CKD, some foods may be difficult for the body to process and might place more stress on the kidney. These include:

  • white potatoes
  • red meat
  • dairy products
  • sugary beverages
  • avocado
  • bananas
  • canned foods
  • pickled foods
  • alcohol
  • egg yolks

People looking to protect their kidneys from future damage may also want to consider eating these foods in moderation.

Summary

The kidneys play an important role in filtering the blood and eliminating waste products in the urine. Many foods may help support an already healthy kidney and prevent damage to this organ.

However, people with chronic kidney disease will need to follow a different set of dietary rules to protect their kidneys from further damage.

It is always best to talk to a licensed dietitian before moving forward with any dietary changes.

There are many reasons why drinking papaya juice has become more popular in recent years, although it has been a cultural staple in many areas of the world for centuries.

What is Papaya Juice?

Papaya juice is made from the fruit of the papaya tree, which is native to the tropical areas of the Americas, particularly Mesoamerica and the Caribbean. The fruit is actually a large berry and is roughly the same size as a large potato. The outside of the ripe fruit is an amber or orange color and you can tell when the fruit is ripe when the outer skin is slightly soft to the touch. The inside of the fruit has a cavity filled with dozens of black seeds in a clear pulp, but the orange flesh is the part of the fruit that is eaten, and also turned into juice.

Papaya juice benefits from a rich supply of vitamin and nutrients including vitamin C and folate in large quantities, followed by vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin K, various B-family vitamins, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, and a number of phytochemicals, carotenoids and other antioxidant compounds. While many people choose to eat papaya fruit raw, you can get an even more concentrated boost of these nutrients if you choose to drink papaya juice. It is not the most widely available juice on the market, but it is also quite easy to make at home so you can enjoy its many health benefits.

Benefits of Papaya Juice

Some of the best benefits papaya juice offers are its ability to clear up skin inflammation, lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, prevent chronic disease and cancer, improve nerve function, build strong bones, boost cardiovascular health, aid vision, and reduce inflammation.

Prevents Cancer

This exotic fruit has a wealth of beta-carotene, lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin and isothiocyanates, all of which seek out and neutralize free radicals in the body that can cause mutation and cancer. Some of these active ingredients also promote the production of tumor-suppressing proteins, making this juice both a preventative measure and a supplementary treatment.

Strengthens Nervous System

High levels of copper are required for our nervous system to effectively communicate with other parts of the body. Although copper is often overlooked, it is found in significant levels in papaya juice.

Promotes Strong Bones

Papaya juice contains nearly a dozen different minerals, and while some of them are in trace amounts, many of them contribute to the strength and durability of your bones. By increasing bone mineral density with a glass of this juice each morning, you can prevent or delay osteoporosis as you age.

Soothes Inflammation

Papain is a critical digestive enzyme found in this tropical fruit but it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can affect the rest of the body. Combined with vitamin C and other antioxidants in this fruit, it can soothe symptoms of arthritis, headache, gout, irritable bowel syndrome and high blood pressure, among others.

Reduces Blood Pressure

A more specific blood pressure-lowering compound in papaya juice is potassium. This legendary vasodilator will relieve stress and strain on your cardiovascular system by easing the tension in blood vessels and promoting better circulation.

Improves Heart Health

Not only is papaya juice rich in antioxidants, which can lower the oxidative stress in blood vessels and arteries, but it is also a rich source of folate, which can suppress homocysteine levels and keep your cholesterol levels down. In addition to vitamin C and other key minerals, this can protect the integrity of your arteries and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Boosts Immunity

A single papaya has more than 300% of the daily required vitamin C intake for an adult male, and while some of that vitamin C will be lost in the blending process, it still gives you an incredible immune system boost, particularly when supported by arange of antioxidants that prevent mutation and chronic disease. 

Improves Vision

Boasting high levels of beta-carotene, papaya is well known as a vision booster, capable of preventing the oxidative stress in the retina that causes macular degeneration, while also slowing down the development of cataracts.

How to Make Papaya Juice?

Papaya juice can be purchased at some grocery stores but papaya nectar is also a popular product, which offers more added sugar and less overall nutrients. So be careful about what variety you are purchasing. Making your own juice at home also guarantees that you know precisely what is being added to this healthy drink. Papaya has a very strong sweet flavor, so most recipes include other fruits or spices to make the drink more palatable.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh papaya, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 cup of water, filtered

Step 1 – Remove the skin from the papaya, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds.

Step 2 – Chop the papaya into chunks that can fit in your blender.

Step 3 – Add the papaya, pineapple, honey and water to the blender.

Step 4 – Blend thoroughly for 2-3 minutes until the beverage has a smooth consistency.

Step 5 – You can add more water or pineapple juice if the mixture is still too thick.

Step 6 – Add more honey for sweetness, if desired and blend for another 5-10 seconds.

Step 7 – Serve chilled and enjoy!

Note: Unlike many other fruit juices, papaya is not high in fibrous material when blended, so there is no need to use a sieve or filter to remove the pulp.

How Long Can You Store Papaya Juice?

Preparing this juice should always be done with ripe fruit, and the juice should be consumed relatively soon after preparing. Most experts recommend drinking any prepared juice or smoothie within 24-36 hours. Once fruit becomes exposed to oxygen, many varieties will begin to oxidize, causing a change in the color and the quality of the nutrients. A great way to slow down the oxidation of the juice is to add a few drops of lemon juice.

Papaya juice has a number of powerful enzymes that will actually begin to break down the components of other juice, if you blend them, so it is best not to store this juice for very long. Refrigerating your papaya juice for 12-24 hours in an airtight container should help it retain most of its nutrients and flavor.

Side Effects of Papaya Juice

While many people praise the benefits of papaya juice, there are some potential side effects that should be taken into consideration, such as skin discoloration, stomach problems, an increased risk of kidney stones and possible allergic reactions. In most cases, these side effects can be avoided by consuming this juice in moderation but for those with sensitive stomachs or allergies, consume this juice with caution.

  • Stomach Upset – One of the active ingredients in papaya, called papain, is excellent for gastrointestinal issues when consumed in normal amounts. However, if too much of this enzyme enters the system, it can cause bloating, cramping, diarrhea and other stomach problems.
  • Skin Discoloration – Papayas are packed with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps the body in many different ways, but if you go overboard with drinking papaya juice, it can turn your skin into an orange hue. This is harmless, and will normally go away within a day or so.
  • Kidney Problems – This tropical fruit is overflowing with vitamin C, which is excellent news for your immune system, but having too much vitamin C in your system can cause a rise in oxalate levels in the body, which can contribute to the development of kidney stones. If you already suffer from kidney issues, speak with a doctor before adding this juice to your daily diet.
  • Allergic Reactions – The digestive enzyme in papayas can also act as an allergen for certain people, causing shortness of breath, runny nose or itchy eyes but generally, the symptoms are mild. 1-2 glasses of papaya juice per day is more than enough to enjoy the benefits without suffering from the side effects.

Gas trapped in the intestines can be incredibly uncomfortable. It may cause sharp pain, cramping, swelling, tightness, and even bloating.

Most people pass gas between 13 and 21 times a day. When gas is blocked from escaping, diarrhoea constipation may be responsible.

Gas pain can be so intense that doctors mistake the root cause for appendicitis, gallstones, or even heart disease.

20 ways to get rid of gas pain fast

Luckily, many home remedies can help to release trapped gas or prevent it from building up. Twenty effective methods are listed below.

1. Let it out

Holding in gas can cause bloating, discomfort, and pain. The easiest way to avoid these symptoms is to simply let out the gas.

2. Pass stool

A bowel movement can relieve gas. Passing stool will usually release any gas trapped in the intestines.

3. Eat slowly

Eating too quickly or while moving can cause a person to take in air as well as food, leading to gas-related pain.

Quick eaters can slow down by chewing each bite of food 30 times. Breaking down food in such a way aids digestion and can prevent a number of related complaints, including bloating and indigestion.

4. Avoid chewing gum

As a person chews gum they tend to swallow air, which increases the likelihood of trapped wind and gas pains.

Sugarless gum also contains artificial sweeteners, which may cause bloating and gas.

5. Say no to straws

Often, drinking through a straw causes a person to swallow air. Drinking directly from a bottle can have the same effect, depending on the bottle’s size and shape.

To avoid gas pain and bloating, it is best to sip from a glass.

6. Quit smoking

Whether using traditional or electronic cigarettes, smoking causes air to enter the digestive tract. Because of the range of health issues linked to smoking, quitting is wise for many reasons.

7. Choose non-carbonated drinks

Carbonated drinks, such as sparkling water and sodas, send a lot of gas to the stomach. This can cause bloating and pain.

8. Eliminate problematic foods

Eating certain foods can cause trapped gas. Individuals find different foods problematic.

However, the foods below frequently cause gas to build up:

  • artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sorbitol, and maltitol
  • cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
  • dairy products
  • fibre drinks and supplements
  • fried foods
  • garlic and onions
  • high-fat foods
  • legumes, a group that includes beans and lentils
  • prunes and prune juice
  • spicy foods

Keeping a food diary can help a person to identify trigger foods. Some, like artificial sweeteners, may be easy to cut out of the diet.

Others, like cruciferous vegetables and legumes, provide a range of health benefits. Rather than avoiding them entirely, a person may try reducing their intake or preparing the foods differently.

9. Drink tea

Some herbal teas may aid digestion and reduce gas pain fast. The most effective include teas made from:

  • anise
  • chamomile
  • ginger
  • peppermint

Anise acts as a mild laxative and should be avoided if diarrhoea accompanies gas. However, it can be helpful if constipation is responsible for trapped gas.

10. Snack on fennel seeds

Fennel is an age-old solution for trapped wind. Chewing on a teaspoon of the seeds is a popular natural remedy.

However, anyone pregnant or breastfeeding should probably avoid doing so, due to conflicting reports concerning safety.

11. Take peppermint supplements

Peppermint oil capsules have long been taken to resolve issues like bloating, constipation, and trapped gas. Some research supports the use of peppermint for these symptoms.

Always choose enteric-coated capsules. Uncoated capsules may dissolve too quickly in the digestive tract, which can lead to heartburn.

Peppermint inhibits the absorption of iron, so these capsules should not be taken with iron supplements or by people who have anaemia.

12. Clove oil

Clove oil has traditionally been used to treat digestive complaints, including bloating, gas, and indigestion. It may also have ulcer-fighting properties.

Consuming clove oil after meals can increase digestive enzymes and reduce the amount of gas in the intestines.

13. Apply heat

When gas pains strike, place a hot water bottle or heating pad on the stomach. The warmth relaxes the muscles in the gut, helping gas to move through the intestines. Heat can also reduce the sensation of pain.

14. Address digestive issues

People with certain digestive difficulties are more likely to experience trapped gas. Those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease, for example, often experience bloating and gas pain.

Addressing these issues through lifestyle changes and medication can improve the quality of life.

People with lactose intolerance who frequently experience gas pain should take greater steps to avoid lactose or take lactase supplements.

15. Add apple cider vinegar to water

Apple cider vinegar aids the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes. It may also help to alleviate gas pain quickly.

Add a tablespoon of the vinegar to a glass of water and drink it before meals to prevent gas pain and bloating. It is important to then rinse the mouth with water, as vinegar can erode tooth enamel.

16. Use activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is a natural product that can be bought in health food stores or pharmacies without a prescription. Supplement tablets taken before and after meals can prevent trapped gas.

It is best to build up the intake of activated charcoal gradually. This will prevent unwanted symptoms, such as constipation and nausea.

One alarming side effect of activated charcoal is that it can turn the stool black. This discoloration is harmless and should go away if a person stops taking charcoal supplements.

17. Take probiotics

Probiotic supplements add beneficial bacteria to the gut. They are used to treat several digestive complaints, including infectious diarrhea.

Some research suggests that certain strains of probiotics can alleviate bloating, intestinal gas, abdominal pain, and other symptoms of IBS.

Strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are generally considered to be most effective.

18. Exercise

Gentle exercises can relax the muscles in the gut, helping to move gas through the digestive system. Walking or doing yoga poses after meals may be especially beneficial.

19. Breathe deeply

Deep breathing may not work for everyone. Taking in too much air can increase the amount of gas in the intestines.

However, some people find that deep breathing techniques can relieve the pain and discomfort associated with trapped gas.

20. Take an over-the-counter remedy

Several products can get rid of gas pain fast. One popular medication, simethicone, is marketed under the following brand names:

  • Gas-X
  • Mylanta Gas
  • Phazyme

Several of these products are available for purchase online.

Anyone who is pregnant or taking other medications should discuss the use of simethicone with a doctor or pharmacist.

Takeaway

Trapped gas can be painful and distressing, but many easy remedies can alleviate symptoms quickly.

People with ongoing or severe gas pain should see a doctor right away, especially if the pain is accompanied by:

  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • fever
  • rectal bleeding
  • unexplained weight loss

While everyone experiences trapped gas once in a while, experiencing regular pain, bloating, and other gastrointestinal symptoms can indicate the presence of a medical condition or food sensitivity.

Many people wonder how often they should pee. While no set number is considered normal, people on average urinate six or seven times a day.

Several factors can influence how often an individual pees throughout the day. Medications, supplements, foods, and beverages can all play a role, as can certain medical conditions. Age and bladder size also matter.

The medical community uses the term urinary frequency to describe how often a person pees.

In this article, we discuss healthy and unhealthy frequencies, and how to manage associated symptoms.

Healthy urinary frequency 

Urinary frequency depends on the following factors:

  • age
  • bladder size
  • fluid intake
  • the presence of medical conditions, such as diabetes and UTIs.
  • the types of fluids consumed, as alcohol and caffeine can increase the production of urine
  • the use of medications, such as those for blood pressure, and supplements

On average, a person who drinks 64 ounces of fluid in 24 hours will pee approximately seven times during that period.

Urination during pregnancy

The hormonal changes and pressure on the bladder involved in pregnancy can also increase urinary output. This high urinary frequency may continue for up to 8 weeks after giving birth.

Symptoms of peeing too often or not enough

Peeing too rarely or frequently may indicate an underlying condition, especially when accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • back pain
  • blood in the urine
  • cloudy or discolored urine
  • difficulty passing urine
  • fever
  • leaking between toilet visits
  • pain when urinating
  • strong-smelling urine

Treatment can resolve symptoms and prevent complications, so it is important to see a doctor.

Anyone who notices a dramatic change in urinary frequency or output, even if it still falls within the normal range, should seek medical advice.

What factors affect urinary frequency?

However, dramatic changes in urinary frequency can indicate a serious underlying condition.

The Cleveland Clinic has reported that 80 percent of bladder problems are caused by factors beyond the bladder.

Underlying medical conditions

The following conditions may be responsible for changes in urinary frequency:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI): This can cause frequent urination, urinary urgency, a burning sensation or pain while peeing, and back pain. UTIs are very common, especially among women. Antibiotic treatment is usually necessary.
  • Overactive bladder: This describes frequent urination and is linked to several issues, including infections, obesity, hormonal imbalances, and nerve damage. Most cases are easily treatable.
  • Interstitial cystitis: This long-term condition is also known as painful bladder syndrome. Though no infection is involved, it causes symptoms similar to a UTI. The exact cause is unknown, but it is often linked to bladder inflammation.
  • Diabetes: Undiagnosed or poorly controlled diabetes may lead to high blood sugar levels, which can cause frequent urination.
  • Hypocalcemia or hypercalcemia: High calcium levels (hypercalcemia) or low calcium levels (hypocalcemia) affect kidney function and may impact urinary output.
  • Sickle cell anemia: This inherited form of anemia, or low red blood cell count, can affect the kidneys and the concentration of urine. This causes some people to pee more often.
  • Prostate problems: An enlarged prostate causes a person to urinate less. They may also experience difficulty as the prostate gets larger and blocks the flow of urine.
  • Pelvic floor weakness: As the pelvic muscles lose strength, a person may pee more frequently. This is often the result of giving birth.

Medications

Drugs called diuretics will cause most people to pee more often. Diuretics take fluid out of the bloodstream and send it to the kidneys.

These medications are often prescribed for people with high blood pressure, kidney problems, or heart conditions.

Examples of diuretics include:

  • bumetanide (Bumex)
  • chlorothiazide (Diuril)
  • furosemide (Lasix)
  • metolazone (Zytanix)
  • spironolactone (Aldactone)

Fluids

Consuming a lot of fluid can increase urinary output, while not consuming enough can cause dehydration and diminished output.

Alcohol and caffeine have diuretic effects and increase urinary frequency. A person with no underlying condition may pee more frequently during or shortly after drinking alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.

Caffeine can be found in:

  • coffee
  • colas
  • energy drinks
  • hot chocolate
  • tea

Advancing age

Many people urinate more frequently, especially at night, as they get older.

Most people over the age of 60 do not urinate more than twice nightly, however. If a person wakes up to pee more than twice, they should consult a doctor.

Treatment

Frequent urination does not require treatment if there is no underlying condition and the frequency is not affecting happiness or quality of life.

Pregnant women also do not require treatment, as the symptom should disappear a few weeks after giving birth.

Any treatment required will depend on the cause. If a condition such as diabetes or a UTI is responsible for frequent urination, treatment will resolve this symptom. It can also increase urinary flow and reduce the size of the prostate.

If treatment is causing a person to pee too often, a doctor can adjust the dosage or prescribe a different medication.

It may be helpful to record fluid intake, urinary frequency, urgency, and other symptoms for 3 or more days before an appointment. This can help a doctor when they are diagnosing and determining the best treatment.

Tips for managing urinary frequency

  • Limit the amount of soda, caffeine, and alcohol consumed, or avoid them completely.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water daily.
  • Pee before and after sexual intercourse, and wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
  • Try probiotic supplements or probiotic-rich foods, including yoghurt, kefir, and kimchi. Probiotics can support genital and urinary health.
  • Avoid using fragranced products around the genital area.
  • Wear loose cotton underwear and loose clothing to prevent infection and irritation.
  • Practice Kegel exercises to strengthen weak pelvic floor muscles.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to avoid placing added pressure on the pelvic muscles and bladder.

Some people also find it helpful to stick to a bathroom schedule. This involves going to the bathroom at scheduled times and gradually increasing the time between visits until there is a regular 3-hour gap.

Takeaway

The outlook for peeing too often or not often enough depends on the underlying cause. Most causes of frequent urination can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes.

Anyone concerned about their urinary output should see a doctor as soon as possible, to reduce the risk of complications. Seeking treatment at an early stage may also improve the outlook.