Six steps to take if you have digestive issues

Diarrhoea and other digestive issues can be a potentially embarrassing daily challenge for some people. Such problems can be the result of a bad diet, infection, stress, or other chronic medical conditions like Chron’s disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Here are some useful steps to make day to day life a little more comfortable.

1. Know your triggers

Many things can trigger digestive upsets, and these vary from person to person. These can be things like coffee, alcohol, dairy products, gluten, medications or even stressful events(1). Pinpointing your own triggers can help you reduce or prevent digestive issues.

2. Eat a balanced diet

What you eat will depend partly on the specific cause of your digestive issues as well as the foods you are sensitive to(1). However gradually adding more fibre-rich foods like fruits and vegetables to your diet will help regulate your digestion(2).

3. Stay hydrated

Water is essential to good health and normal bowel function. Furthermore, when diarrhoea strikes it is important to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. However, beverages like coffee and alcohol can worsen dehydration and aggravate the gut(3).

4. Wash your hands

Washing your hands both before and after you use the bathroom as well as when preparing food can help prevent the spread of potentially dangerous bacteria to your food. This is particularly common when travelling to exotic locations and contracting ‘travellers’ diarrhoea’(4).

5. Manage stress

If stress seems to be the trigger of your flare ups, managing stress through relaxing exercise, meditation or a hobby may help ease your symptoms.

6. Take live culture supplements

For many people an imbalance of bacteria in the gut can lead to digestive issues(5). Investing in a friendly bacteria supplement may help harmonise your gut flora, leaving you feeling more comfortable.


  1. Understanding digestive problems- /digestion-problems

  2. Dietry fiber essential for a health diet-

  3. Nishitsuii K. Effect of coffee or coffee components on gut microbiome and short-chain fatty acids in a mouse model of metabolic syndrome. Sci Rep. 2018 Nov 1;8(1):16173

  4. Traveller’s Diarrhoea-

  5. Exploring the role of gut bacteria in digestion. (2010).