Teenage Tummy Troubles

Find help for teenage tummy troubles from Judith G. Cobb, MH, CI, NCP.

Note: More information about the products mentioned can be found at the end of the article.

As we get to the teen years gut issues can become a very serious problem. As parents we need to take digestive symptoms very seriously.

Heartburn can be an indication that your teen is drinking coffee (too much) or highly acidic cola beverages. The very best way to deal with this is to engage your teen in an experiment. Try to get them to cut out all coffee and fizzy drinks. Encourage him to replace them with herbal tea, water, or spa water. If coffee and soda are the problems the heartburn will pretty much disappear within a few days. If it persists the first two things to check for next are hiatal hernia and ulcers in the gastro-intestinal tract.

You can do a screening for hiatal hernia quite easily. (insert video). Checking for ulcers requires medical assistance.

Another clue that your teen has a hiatal hernia is if he is not hungry in the morning. If it takes him a couple of hours after getting up for the day to have any kind of an appetite, or if he can ‘do fine’ on one meal and a snack every day it is a strong indication that his stomach is not emptying well over night – and that is an indication of hiatal hernia. Some chiropractors are trained in releasing a hiatal hernia, also known as releasing a locked diaphragm.

Stomach bloating (with the attendant burping, belching, bloating, and pain) can stem from eating too quickly, drinking too much of any kind of fluid when eating, or a lack of digestive enzymes. How to get teens to slow down, chew their food well, and drink less fluid with meals is a mystery to me, however, if they won’t slow down you can give them digestive enzymes supplements. How can you determine which one to use? If your teen is passes more than a ‘normal’ amount of gas and it has a putrid, rotten meat odor, he needs help digesting protein. If the gas has an odor but it’s not putrid, just strong, then he probably has problems digesting carbohydrates.

Excessive intestinal gas can come from poor food choices and low probiotic levels in the intestines. Again, educating and modeling better food choice habits may have an impact – if not now, then later when your teen has moved out and is on his own (yes, it really can happen like this!). Probiotics are easy enough to supplement.

Intestinal pain, when it’s not the result of gas build-up can be the result of poor food choices, dehydration, or constipation. Getting teens to make better food choices when they are at school or with their friends is a challenge. Even getting them to drink enough water between meals can be a bit of a push. All you can do is educate and encourage. It is highly likely that if the food choices improve to include lots of veggies, both raw and cooked) and ample water the resulting constipation will also resolve.

Stress can also create digestive problems – stomach ache, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting. Depending on your teen, you may be able to help him manage stress a little better with something as simple as liquid B vitamins.

Stress and poor food choices increase the likelihood of allergies and sensitivities cropping up. Because many teens don’t pay close attention to what they eat figuring out which food or foods cause problems for them can be a almost impossible.

Ultimately, the challenge with teens is getting them to make dietary corrections. Most won’t until they are desperately uncomfortable. The second half of the solution is getting them to take supplements. Most won’t unless they are desperately uncomfortable and you stand over them when you want them to do it.

In addition to all the things we’ve already talked about, the teen years are typically when we see disordered eating. Body image, bullying, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse are just a few causes of disordered eating which is also commonly known as anorexia and bulimia. In 2011 CNN reported the average age of onset of anorexia as being between 9 and 12 years old(1). It’s also fairly common to see substance abuse and cutting happening at the same time as disordered eating. If you suspect any type of disordered eating going on, please get your child and your family to professional help. You may complement whatever work you do with a well-trained councilor with flower essences, aromatherapy, herbs, vitamins and other natural supports. You need to know that herbs and supplements will not be enough on their own to help your child overcome an eating disorder.

Your teen may have tummy troubles. Most are easily corrected IF the teen decides to do what it takes.

Products referred to in above article:

Supplement TypeNature's Sunshine Products CanadaNature's Sunshine Products USA
Protein DigestionProtein Digestive AidPDA
Carbohydrate DigestionGarden Essence EnzymesProactazyme
ProbioticsProbiotic 11 (CN)Probiotic Eleven
Liquid B-vitaminsMethyl B-12 PlusMethyl B-12 Complete, Liquid

1. www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/08/08/tweens.anorexia.parenting/

If you have concerns about your child’s health, or just don’t know where to begin making improvements, please contact me, Judith Cobb, to book an appointment. Skype, phone, webinar, and face-to-face appointments are available.

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Copyright © 2015 by Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health Ltd. All rights reserved. Please respect the time it takes to write and publish articles. If you will link to this article and give proper attribution, you are encouraged to quote sections (though not the entire article).

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