Can Hot Weather Cause Digestive Problems?
As spring and summer approach, warmer temperatures motivate families and individuals to spend time outdoors.
But heat can affect the body adversely in many ways. One potential concern is its impact on your digestive system.
Brief Digestive Tract Overview
Your digestive tract (also known as the gastrointestinal system) is a large and complex network of organs responsible for many bodily functions. This network is so expansive it is separated into the upper and lower portions.
The upper region, including your mouth, esophagus, stomach, and top portion of the small intestine, breaks down the foods you eat. The lower region contains the small intestine, colon, pancreas, gall bladder, liver, rectum, and anus. This section absorbs the nutrients in foods, helps transport them to the rest of the body, then creates and excretes waste.
The Ways Hot Weather Can Interfere with Proper Digestion
The gastrointestinal network must run smoothly for proper digestion. Researchers have found that hot weather can potentially influence digestion in several ways, such as:
- Creating Dietary Alterations – We crave and consume more cold and raw foods during the warm summer season. These products can be more challenging for your gastrointestinal system to process. They can slow digestion and cause cramping, gas, and bloating.
- Limiting Restful Sleep – The weather can impact your sleep cycle by disrupting your slumber or preventing you from falling asleep. Since sleep directly correlates to digestion, you may feel aches and stomach pains if you have not slept well.
- Dehydration – When exposed to rising temperatures, your body’s natural cooling method is perspiration. Excessive sweating causes you to gradually lose your body’s water content, leading to dehydration. This condition can impede the digestive system’s ability to supply fluids and transport food.
- Restricting Movement – During hot weather, you are less likely to exercise. Unfortunately, a lack of movement can hurt your gastrointestinal network. Remaining idle for prolonged periods slows digestion and may lead to uncomfortable problems like constipation.
Tips For Maintaining Optimal Digestion During Hot Weather
You can avoid hot weather-related digestive problems by following preventative suggestions such as:
- Choosing The Right Beverages – Hydration plays a vital role in digestive health. As a result, doctors encourage drinking certain beverages over others. You might enjoy a soda or glass of milk during the summertime, but unfortunately, excess sugar or dairy can aggravate your stomach and lead to unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Always Remaining Hydrated – The best and most digestion-friendly beverage you should drink during the summer is water. Water replenishes the fluids you lose when sweating. Choose options like freshly prepared juices or coconut water if you do not like the taste of water or need a little extra flavor in your drink.
- Limiting Junk Foods – Consuming spicy, greasy, fried, acidic, or salty foods should be minimized or stopped altogether. These foods are known culprits of inflammation along the digestive tract and can lead to unwanted symptoms.
- Avoiding Or Significantly Limiting Your Alcohol Intake – Many adults enjoy a cold beer or cocktail while sitting by the pool or participating in other summer activities. It’s important to remember that alcohol dehydrates you and can irritate the digestive tract.
- Eating Foods with Probiotic Nutrients – Probiotics contain good bacteria that help balance the flora inside your gastrointestinal system. Excessive numbers of harmful bacteria can result in many digestive problems. One common and easy-to-digest probiotic-rich food is yogurt.
- Exercising When Possible – The excess heat and humidity during summer may discourage you from getting exercise. Mild to moderate activities like yoga or walking can stimulate your digestive network and relieve stress.
Reaching Out to Us
Our practice began more than 15 years ago and has emerged as one of the leading gastroenterology practices in central Florida. We perform several diagnostic procedures using state-of-the-art equipment in a friendly, comfortable, and inviting atmosphere. Patient care is always our top priority. Contact us today!