Everything You Need to Know About Digestion and Irritable Bowel Syndrome for All Ages

Did you know that chiropractic care can help with digestion and irritable bowel syndrome? Many people don’t realize that the spine and nervous system are closely linked to digestive health. Chiropractors are experts in spinal health and can help improve your digestion if you struggle with irritable bowel syndrome. Learn about irritable bowel syndrome and digestion for all ages and how chiropractic care can help.

Normal Digestion for Infants

Regular digestion is different for infants than it is for children. For example, newborns do not have the same digestive tract as older infants. A newborn’s stomach can only hold about a teaspoon of breast milk or formula at one time. They can also not digest proteins such as lactose in this early stage of life. By the time a baby is about six months old, they will have developed a more mature digestive system to handle solid foods.

Irregular Digestion for Infants

While most infants have regular digestion, some may experience irregularity. This can be due to various factors such as food allergies, infections, or health conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. Your infant’s body is still learning the complex digestion process, and they may need a little extra help to further digestion. If your infant is experiencing irregular digestion, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare professional like a pediatrician or chiropractor.

Normal Digestion for Children

The digestive process changes as children grow older. The small intestine doubles in size by age two and triples in size by age five. Children also start to produce stomach acid and enzymes that help their bodies digest food. The entire digestive process becomes more efficient, and children can absorb nutrients better than they could as infants.

Irregular Digestion for Children

Just as some infants experience irregular digestion, some children do too. This can be due to several factors such as diet, stress, or health conditions. Your child may voice that they are experiencing abdominal pain every time they have a bowel movement. They could be constipated, and there are some ways you can combat it. Here is some additional information on how to help your child with constipation.

If your child is experiencing severe pain or is having difficulty digesting certain foods, it’s essential to speak to their pediatrician as there could be something more serious going on, such as bowel disorders.

Normal Digestion for Adolescents

The digestive system matures during adolescence. There are significant hormonal changes in both boys and girls that increase the production of stomach acid, including gastric juice and pancreatic juice.

Irregular Digestion for Adolescents

About this time, children start to eat more meals outside of the home, leading to poor nutrition choices. Sometimes poor food choices can lead to abdominal pain or issues passing food particles.

Normal Digestion for Adults

As an adult, your digestive system is fully developed. You should have a bowel movement regularly and feel satisfied after eating food. The mechanical digestion process called peristalsis is more efficient and can break food down easier. Chemical digestion, which contains digestive juices to help break food down, is also more efficient at breaking down food to leave the stomach and enter the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.

Irregular Digestion for Adults

Irregular digestion, including difficulty having bowel movements, pain in the abdomen, unexplained weight loss, and changes in your bowel movements such as diarrhea or constipation, can all be signs of something more serious going on like irritable bowel syndrome.

The three most common reasons adults experience irritable bowel syndrome are stress, travel, and diet. Stress can affect digestion by causing some muscles to contract abnormally. This can lead to problems with the digestive tract. When traveling, changes in diet and irregular eating patterns can lead to irritable bowel syndrome.
IBS can also be caused by diet. While irritable bowel syndrome is not considered a food allergy, some foods have been known to irritate the digestive tract if consumed in large amounts. Some irritable bowel syndrome symptoms are constipation or diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and nausea.

How does the digestive system work?

Digestion is a complicated process, and it starts the moment food enters your mouth. Your teeth begin to break down your food, and saliva is secreted into your mouth, which starts to moisten the food. The tongue pushes the food toward the back of the mouth, where an opening called the pharynx is located.

From here, there are two options for what happens next. The first option is if you swallow everything in one gulp, your body will continue with digestive processes through the contraction of muscles in various parts of your gastrointestinal tract. This includes muscles found in both peristalsis and segmentation, which mix up solid foods with fluids allowing them to move throughout different sections of your intestine more smoothly.
If you chew up all solids first and swish them around in your mouth to mix with saliva, this triggers the salivary glands to release even more juice. The food is then moved into another tube called the esophagus, which will go down into your stomach. Once it gets there, the second primary process of chemical digestion takes place, which breaks down starches into sugar. Once this process is done, the food moves into your small intestine, where nutrients break down even further.
All nutrients are now separated from the food particles, which are absorbed through small intestine walls. These nutrients travel through your blood vessels and end up in different parts of your body, depending on what they’re needed for. These nutrient-filled blood vessels pass right by your kidneys and liver so they can be filtered.
Next, the waste and water products move to your large intestine. The large intestine absorbs water, and then the waste moves to the final segment of your digestive system. Waste products from the digestive process are carried out of your body through a large tube called the anus.
For the latest health news or additional information regarding the digestive system, check out the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website.

Why is digestion important?

The digestive system is a critical organ system in the human body. It helps break down food through mechanical digestion, then those nutrients, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are broken down even further through chemical digestion with digestive juices. They are broken down small enough for our body’s digestive system to absorb them. These nutrients are broken down into amino acids, fatty acids, glycerol, and simple sugars. These nutrients are absorbed and full the body.

IBS Facts

  • Approximately one in five people have irritable bowel syndrome at some point during their lives.
  • IBS is more common in women and often begins between the ages of 20-30.
  • IBS can last for years or continue to come back throughout your life.
  • About 12% of the population in the United States has IBS.
  • There are three different types of IBS, including IBS with diarrhea, IBS with constipation, and IBS with alternating diarrhea and constipation.
  • The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can be triggered by stress, diet choices, or hormones.
  • While IBS is not related to inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, it’s crucial to get help from a healthcare professional if you are experiencing the symptoms to rule out other conditions and get an accurate diagnosis.
  • You’re more likely to have IBS if you have a family history of it, have a history of stressful life events, or have an infection in your digestive tract. It’s essential to be aware of your family’s medical history.
  • Common IBS symptoms include abdominal pain, changes in your bowel movements, bloating, feeling like you haven’t finished a bowel movement or white-colored mucous in the stool.

Can a chiropractor help my digestive system and IBS symptoms?

Chiropractors are experts in nervous system function and can help improve digestion for irritable bowel syndrome. Often, chiropractors will find interference within the nervous system caused by spinal misalignments. This interference can cause pain or irritations within the body.

Once a chiropractor identifies where the nervous system is being affected by spinal misalignments, they will perform gentle adjustments to realign the spine. These manual adjustments will help improve nerve function and eliminate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms resulting from spinal misalignment.

Contact Dr. Eric at ADIO Chiropractic for Digestive System Help

At ADIO Chiropractic, our goal is to align the body to function at its best. When your body is working at its best, you can have a higher quality of life. Our team wants you to live your best life, and we are ready to help. The whole family can benefit from chiropractic treatment. Check us out and see what we can do for you. Give our team a call at (608) 824-0950 and talk to our chiropractor today!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Request an appointment online or contact us by phone at (608) 824-0950

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