It’s nearly that time of year again: to eat, drink and be merry, but Christmas and New Year festivities are not always friendly to our gut!

For the one in five of us that suffer from regular gastro-oesophageal reflux (GORD) or the bloating and cramps of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) the festive season can represent an endurance test.

Some of our experts at the Aberdeen Clinic give tips on how to have a good time and not be ruled by your stomach over the next couple of months.

Bama Kumar, specialist dietitian says, ‘Many patients manage to control their IBS by avoiding the foods known to trigger their symptoms, however this can be difficult when you’re out at a friend’s house or going to parties. Buffets are particularly problematic as pastries, fried foods, chocolates and mince pies are all notorious causes of IBS symptoms; try to stick to healthier options such as salmon, lean meats , chicken and

fresh prawns’. Bama also gives many of us an excuse to avoid sprouts on Christmas Day. ‘For IBS sufferers foods such as pulses and beans can lead to bloating, and of course I would include sprouts along with these.’

Malcolm Valentine, General Practitioner says, ‘IBS can be worsened if you change your eating pattern, and I would particularly avoid eating too late. Don’t become a complete couch potato over the holidays, as exercise is good for your gut as well as the rest of you. Finally, enjoy yourself, if you spend the holiday stressing about whether everyone else is having a good time it’s a surefire way of ensuring your IBS takes control.’

Many of the foods that cause IBS also worsen GORD symptoms and much of the same advice about IBS is very pertinent to controlling reflux.

Ken Park, Consultant Surgeon, heads up our GORD team and explains, ‘GORD is caused when

the stomach contents backtrack out of the stomach into the lower oesophagus or gullet. Many of the things we do over the Christmas holidays are almost a prescription to cause reflux. I don’t want to be a humbug and suggest you don’t have a drink or enjoy going out to parties with friends, but I would say that going to bed on a full stomach is probably the worst thing you can do for reflux. Fizz is not your friend if you suffer from reflux, so nice as it may be, the ubiquitous champagne or prosecco at this time of year will dilate your stomach quickly and cause reflux, better to pick something still.

If you do suffer from GORD, ensure you have a stock of omeprazole, nexium or the equivalent at home as this is certainly the time of year you are going to need them’.

What about the New Year? With all the resolutions to lose weight, take more exercise and live a healthier life style why not think about trying to get on top of your IBS or reflux for good. To diagnose and treat the distressing symptoms of IBS and GORD call 0333 0143 488 or email for more information.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year from all at the Aberdeen Clinic

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