Bulimia may have long-term effects

Rana Sabbagh, M.D.

Q: When I was a teenager I was bulimic. Now that I am middle-aged, I am starting to experience nausea, bloating and some other digestive problems. Could my former condition be affecting me now? Kathleen N., Taylor

A: Yes, your former condition could have altered the contraction complex within your gastrointestinal tract or as I like to call it, “the stomach nervous system.” Also, it is possible that the organ itself became used to the stimulus and action of vomiting and purging, so after dropping the erratic habit of distention, the stomach no longer knows what to do. However, with symptoms, you should always seek evaluation and possibly upper GI endoscopy to make sure no damages have emerged secondary to your behavior history.

Q: Do colonoscopy patients have a choice in which bowel preparation they drink before their procedure. I’ve heard some taste better than others. Ziad A., Dearborn

A: Patients do have a choice, but your insurance coverage may create a bottleneck. There are many good preps out there that not only taste better, are lower in volume and easier to drink. It is all dependent on what the patient is willing to pay and what their insurance covers.

Q: I have a lot of … wind, to put it politely, and my doctor says I have a problem with swallowing too much air. How does one learn to change this habit? Are there medications or treatments that can help reduce these symptoms? Joyce C., Southgate

A: Practice breathing and chewing with your mouth closed. If you snore while you sleep, get evaluated for sleep apnea. You should also make sure there are no problems in the nasal passage preventing you from breathing through your nose — this can be evaluated by an ear, nose and throat specialist. Also avoid foods that cause bloating, such as raw or cruciferous vegetables and dairy products. Over-the-counter simethicone, such as GasX and Phazyme usually help symptoms too.

Rana Sabbagh, M.D., is board-certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and nutrition. She is the founder of GastroCenter of Michigan and Experior Weight Loss Clinic, 23500 Park St., Suite 2B in Dearborn. Do you have a health question for Dr. Sabbagh? Submit it by email to: askthedoctor@cscmi.net.

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