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Digestive troubles post-COVID: A gastroenterologist explains

Digestive issues have been commonly seen in patients who have recovered from Covid-19, which need to be addressed on time to avoid further complications. Count on these tips from an expert

Written by Dr Roy Patankar

Many people who have recovered from COVID-19 are still worried about the long-term implications of this disease. However, it is not surprising as many such patients have been facing multiple health problems including Gullian Barre Syndrome (GBS), lung fibrosis, heart or kidney problems, clots in the blood vessels, pneumonia, and even weakness. But there is another problem that they are experiencing — that of the gastrointestinal tract.

Such digestive issues need to be addressed on time to avoid any further complications. It is the need of the hour to avoid eating spicy, oily, and processed foods and take appropriate medication and treatment to get relief.

Digestive problems to watch out for:

*Even after recovering from COVID, many patients are experiencing loss of appetite or increased appetite, upper abdominal pain, acidity, diarrhea and vomiting, and these issues can become more serious if not treated at the right time. Complete evaluation, monitoring and healing are required for recovery.

*The digestive system involves the gastrointestinal tract (GI) along with the liver, pancreas, and gall bladder which should be taken care of as COVID, apart from interrupting other body parts, affects the GI tract too. It disrupts its functioning and renders it unable to perform its duties of absorbing electrolytes and fluids from the body. Patients can even end up with bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.

ALSO READ | Covid-19 patients may have prolonged gut infection, study finds

Precautions one should take:

Eat immunity-boosting foods

Stick to a well-balanced diet loaded with fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Eating junk, spicy, processed, salty and sugary food is not recommended. Avoid eating foods that invite acidity and abdominal bloating like carbonated beverages and cruciferous vegetables. Opt for foods rich in fibre and healthy fats. Eat probiotics for maintaining good gut health. Do not forget to drink water and stay hydrated. Say no to alcohol and smoking. Also, avoid over-consuming herbal drinks.

Chew your food properly

Not chewing the food properly can lead to acidity. So, eat slowly and focus on what goes inside your mouth. Chewing the food slowly also aids proper production of saliva that kickstarts the digestive process in your mouth.

Exercise and stay stress-free

Staying physically active by jogging, running and walking can reduce heartburn, acidity and constipation symptoms. Further, relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can elevate the stress on the digestive system.

The author is a gastroenterologist and director of Zen Multispecialty Hospital, Chembur, Mumbai

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