Disregarding digestive problems may lead to anaemia and osteoporosis
2nd November 2012
Are you one of the 12 million Brits who are suffering with the common traits of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? Bloating, trapped wind and diarrhoea are a few of the digestive complaints associated with IBS. However, if you do not believe you have IBS or have not been formally diagnosed with the gut condition, you should still not ignore these digestive problems that could be occurring on a regular basis as they may be a warning sign that something more serious is wrong. The concern has emanated as a result of a study carried out by a2 Milk UK, a company who have released a specialised kind of milk across supermarkets such as Morrison’s and major Tesco stores in the UK. Normal cow’s milk contains various types of proteins and one of these is called ‘caseins’. The main types of the beta-casein fraction are a2 and a1, and the a1 protein has been linked to various symptoms similar to what a person would suffer with IBS. The a2 Milk however is extracted from certain British dairy cows, unique in the fact that they simply produce milk comprising of just the a2 protein. The a2 Milk UK survey found that an incredible 84% of women will experience some degree of digestive pain or discomfort after they consume a particular food. Of this total, 46% claimed they simply self-medicated for short term relief from symptoms and 35% said they do nothing at all about their problems. Amongst the reasons for deciding to take no action about gut complaints, women said they felt embarrassment about going to visit their doctor to discuss the issues they were experiencing, and others said that they felt the symptoms were not severe enough to seek help and treatment from a GP. Unfortunately, choosing to neglect these symptoms over a period of time could prove damaging for someone’s health in the long term and result in the digestive system becoming inflamed.  The inflammation means that there could be difficulty for the digestive system to successfully take in nutrients from other foods, not just the problematic ones. GMTV’s ‘Health Editor’ Dr Hilary Jones, reflected on the findings of the survey and he said: “When people’s bodies are not digesting crucial nutrients found in many foods – as is the case with symptoms such as diarrhoea and bloating - the risk of certain illnesses dramatically increases. While it may be tempting to self-medicate or hope the problem will go away, sufferers are not getting to the root of the problem.” Dr Jones was interested in the fact that 28% of the women who were polled said that discomfort occurred after eating dairy. He added: “This issue is particularly key with dairy and milk intolerance as there are a range of reactions that people can have to milk. It's not as simple as lactose intolerant or not. All too often people soldier on or cut milk out entirely when there are alternative options available. If in any doubt, talk to your GP – we aren't scary I promise!” Melanie Bibby, a2 Milk UK’s Nutrition Manager, added her opinions on the tricky subject of digestive discomfort. She said: “You really shouldn’t be getting any digestive discomfort after eating. But people think that it’s just the norm, especially if it’s been not quite right for a long time - they forget that it’s not how it should be. She advises that sufferers should monitor their problems from the use of a food diary, and also use a process of ‘trial and error’ with suspect foods. She continues: “But it’s very difficult to work out what you’re intolerant to. Many people have a problem with dairy but it’s hard to tell if you’re reacting to the lactose or to the milk proteins. Most people are intolerant to a particular protein found in milk called a1. Or you can react to the lactose. If it’s the lactose, switching to soya milk can help but if it’s the a1 protein, it won’t make any difference as soya contains similar proteins. A2 milk is normal milk, but it comes from dairy cows that naturally don’t produce the a1 protein; instead their milk contains a2, which is much better tolerated. I want people to know that there might be an alternative to cutting out dairy for them, because of course that can mean you miss out on very important nutrients too.” Stomach troubles are a common complaint amongst Brits, including former Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon who recently spoke out on her own struggles. If you do have IBS, why not browse around the ‘stomach and bowel’ area of the Medical Specialists website.  We offer an ever-growing range of effective medications such as Mebeverine and Buscopan IBS relief. In addition, the medication Lansoprazole can help with acid reflux problems that cause heartburn and complications with swallowing. All of these medicines are available right now at low prices, in addition to the new wonder treatment for IBS – Symprove. If you have not heard about the miracle that is Symprove then you need to get clued up about it immediately! We have even ran two separate features on this highly effective probiotic drink and now offer the 500ml mango and passion fruit flavour of Symprove, which can be purchased today from the Medical Specialists chemist shop, priced just £19.93.