Tuesday, 21 June 2016

DAY 21 ‪SclerodermaAwarenessMonth‬: ‪‎Upper Gastro-Intestinal Tract, Raynaud's, Scleroderma, Rare Disease

DAY 21  Scleroderma Awareness Month: UPPER Gastro-Intestinal Tract 

Scleroderma can affect the entire gastro-intestinal system starting from the mouth all the way down to the anus. See Day 11 SclerodermaAwarenessMonth for a general discussion of these symptoms.

Dry mouth, along with difficulty in swallowing and mouth opening can be a challenge. I focussed on the mouth and dental issues, Day 18 SclerodermaAwarenessMonth, highlighting the difficulty with chewing and gum recession and all that this entails. 

Heartburn and acid at the back of the throat is a frequent, most unpleasant symptom, with no adequate treatment or cure available. The proton pump inhibitor (PPI) class of drugs provide some relief, however, more recent studies have shown that long term use brings along further problems. 

Scleroderma can affect the gut lining and gut muscle compromising food absorption and digestion. This is often accompanied with a bloating, ‘full’ feeling after a couple of mouthfuls of food. This can eventually lead to malnutrition due to the body not having access to the relevant nutrition. 

A watermelon stomach can be seen in some patients due to a change in the blood vessels, as can be seen in the image. 

In the most severe of cases, a feeding tube is necessary. 

Medications can also exacerbate GI symptoms. 

Over the years, I have learnt to identify my trigger acid inducing foods, and make sure that I avoid them, in the hope to prevent any acid excess. I have daily fruit and vegetable juices, which have most definitely, improved my symptoms and improved my energy. To read more about this, click 2017 diet update  and 2015  update  

My fellow scleroderma patient American friend Kelli started the facebook page ‘Healing Loving Scleroderma with Real Food’ which I also contribute on click  here 

Since changing her diet and including daily fresh juices, Kelli has experienced similar results to me, with improving her symptoms and their management, which she shares, on the facebook page. 
Slow mobility of food and digestion can lead the micro flora of bacteria in the gut to become overgrown, adding to the GI symptom list. Excessive antibiotic use can lead to internal candida and the complications which this then brings. 

As I explained in the post for Day 11 SclerodermaAwarenessMonth, I have learnt that prevention is better than cure, when it comes to GI symptoms and best management. I avoid my trigger foods, and ensure daily juices for optimum nutrition, and hope for the best! 

To see the UK Scleroderma Study Group guidelines for best practice in GI management click here  

This article was originally published here  in my Column with Scleroderma News.
Interestingly, a recent paper ‘Systemic sclerosis is associated with specific alterations in gastrointestinal microbiota in two independent cohorts’ has been published in the BMJ Open Gastroenterology Journal, online 10th April 2017. The conclusions of which, suggested that gastro-intestinal bacteria flora ‘may be a pathological feature of the SSc disease state.’
To read the full article click here  
To read my articles:
The importance of an early diagnosis click here 
the role of medical research click here
the importance of expert specialist centres click here
diet and nutrition click here
taking part in research trials click here
the UK guidelines for management and treatment of Scleroderma click here
my skin is cured from scleroderma click here  
BSR and BHPR guideline for the prescription and monitoring of non-biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, Raynaud's, Scleroderma, Rare Disease click here  

EULAR guidelines for treatment of systemic sclerosis scleroderma, click here  

Please DONATE to help fund medical research at the Scleroderma Unit at The Royal Free hospital where 100% of your donation will be used to fund vital medical research. Thank You. 
Living the dream, scleroderma style, hoping for a cure
#SclerodermaFreeWorld #RaynaudsFreeWorld
29th June World Scleroderma Day. Read more here
Scleroderma Awareness flashback 2016. Read more here  
Scleroderma Awareness 2016 Campaign Index Click here  
Follow Raynauds Scleroderma Awareness Global Patients Facebook Page for latest updates 

To view the Facebook page Scleroderma Awareness Month 2016 campaign images Click  here

To view Facebook page Photo Album ‘Wellbeing Side to living with Raynaud’s and Scleroderma’ Click  here    
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