How is it possible that these very common gastrointestinal problems are related?
After all one of them – constipation involves the lower GI and the other heartburn involves the upper GI-the esophagus.
Never heard of such a thing? Well you are not alone. It is unlikely that your gastroenterologist knows either. This can seem odd also because one of these is acquired-heartburn and one is genetic-constipation.
What’s the connection? Here it is and you will see how simple it is and like most all GI problems it is plain common sense.
When you swallow food your stomach releases digestive acids. These are very powerful being able to digest any food – even the garbage non food we like so much. We take this for granted. By way of digesting the food it attaches itself to it and goes for the ride down to the bowel and right on the way out into the toilet. Some of you don’t do this very well and the waste becomes stagnant-you are constipated. While the waste sits there in traffic it begins to ferment and you become bloated and gassy. Makes sense? But-this does not explain the heartburn.
Here’s the answer you have been waiting for and it also explains the gas and bloating that comes along with the constipation.
As I said-the acid is sitting there along with the food / waste. Now you eat another meal-lunch and then dinner and you still have not had a bowel movement. You keep secreting acid with each meal and the body knows that it HAS to get rid of this acid so it turns around and tries to get it out through another orifice—your mouth and it starts to sit perhaps 1/2 way up your esophagus.
Remember how I told you that stomach acid could digest any kind of food?
Well – what is the flesh of your esophagus made of? Just like every part of your body—your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you don’t find a way to move those bowels it will eat a hole right through your esophagus. Now you will have a bigger problem. See my next blog on Acid Reflux and GERD.