During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first and foremost message that one ought to pay heed to is to never let your guard down, it is essential in ensuring that you are safeguarded. However, that doesnt seem to be the case as most patients seeking online doctor consultation seem to be showcasing a host concerns that need surgical intervention. Rapid increase in the number of gastrointestinal infections has been noted in patients over the past 3-4 months, says Dr. Jignesh Gandhi, Consultant Laparoscopic & Gastrointestinal Surgeon, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi.
These gastrointestinal issues are related to digestion, as there has been a decrease in physical activity or exercise, change in food habits, and binge eating is a common household fad; these lifestyle factors have contributed to complaints from people facing increasing number of gastrointestinal problems, he informs.
“A number of patients have also been noted to have had problems with hyper-acidity and gastro reflux disease. Another health concern that is common amongst many is “Gall Stones”, which are associated with severe pain in the abdomen, leading to Gall Bladder Disease. If not treated in time, it can lead to severe life threatening complications,” Dr Gandhi says.
“Moving downward into the intestinal tract, a number of patients have had complaints of pain in the right lower abdomen as a result of constipation, while others have faced problems with Acute Appendicitis. A majority of these patients have also been operated upon after their Appendix ruptured. A significant number of people are noted to have been faced with great difficulty when passing of stool/ motions, due to lesser fluid intake, odd sleeping hours, leading to break in the Circadian Rhythm. All of this is being attributed to adoption sedentary lifestyle as most of us were homebound and will remain so with intervals of lockdown.
Dr Gandhi reveals that a significant number of patients have been operated on for Hemorrhoids and Fissures over the two months, their complications arising out of all lifestyle changes. It is crucial for one to refrain from panicking; medical aid is available through non-COVID OPD’s or tele-consultation, which is a good viable option. However, the expert suggests that following certain self-help tips will help ease your health burden.
Avoid fermented foods, due to lack of physical activity during the lockdown, consuming fermented food may lead to a lot of reflux issues, and you may not want to end up facing the consequences of for hyper-acidity or acid reflux.
If you are facing gastrointestinal issues on regular basis, it is best cook and consume all your meals at home.
Consume healthy foods and eat small meals every two hours (time required for digestion), keep alternating between liquid diet and regular soft diet to ensure smooth digestion.
If possible, within your physical constraints/ residential premises, go for a mandatory walk daily. Maintaining a low fat diet is key; lower your intake of Carbohydrates and add in more Protein.
Sufficient intake of fluids is crucial, hydrating yourself well is the key to good digestion.
Avoid eating the food fast as it leads to Aerophagia (swallowing of air with food) which adds to reflux disease, and a simply enjoy your meal, rather than finishing it like a task, which has a huge impact on digestion.
Social and stress-related habits such as alcohol consumption and smoking can be detrimental to compromised digestive system.