Too much tinkering with my gut?

Posted by raykemble @ray666, Jan 21, 2022

I fear I've turned my gut into a Super Fund site. I'll confess from the get-go that I've been shopping and trying a variety of OTC gastro medications for a long, long time, trying to get my regularity back to that of a 20-year-old. (I'm 76.) As you might guess, I've had only intermittent success.

Rather than choking this post with the whole sad history (if anyone has a question about things I used to try, I'm happy to answer), I'll tell you only what my OTC med regimen has been in recent weeks: Metamucil, one generous tspn, 3x daily; one heaping tspn of ground flax (with my morning shredded wheat); one Magnesium pill, 500 mg, 1x daily; Miralax (although not recently). I have been known to resort to various laxatives, such as Ex-Lax and Phillip's Milk of Magnesia (once again, not lately). What I had been doing until just the other days was munching antiacid tablets (Tums) like candy. I stopped when I thought, Hey, fistfuls of Tums can't be good for me!

As of yesterday (when I decided to clean up my act), I've taken only one Magnesium pill and the spoonful of ground flax. What I'm experiencing, though, are bouts of what I'll call (for lack of the proper term) heartburn. Bloating, too. I still have an appetite, but a tiny one. In fact, eating even a little seems to make the heartburn go away. Oh, before I forget: I've been a voracious coffee-drinker (I'd be ashamed to tell you how many cups each day). As of yesterday, too, I'm allowing myself only a few small cups of coffee first thing in the morning. (As I type, this, at 11 am, I'm drinking decaf).

Does any of this sound familiar? Has anyone struggled, as I seem to be, with years of gut mismanagement? I'd love to hear from you! And to learn a few things about how I might better manage my gut.

Ray (@ray666)

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Digestive Health Support Group.

Increase water
Yoga daily
Walk daily
Bike riding
Natural vitamins from fruits & veggies
Try gavascon for heart burn
No fast food
More color on your plate 😀


Try low acid coffee (healthwise brand). No soda or booze.


Tums can cause constipation. It's possible you've reduced the acid in your stomach too with Tums. Acid from coffee is not going to replace that. What has your diet been like during this time?


I’ve had gut issues most of my 75 yrs. also. About a year ago I was diagnosed with gastroparesis & that in itself has been difficult. I cannot eat fresh veggies or fruits. They must be cooked, mashed or blended. High protein Smoothies are good, no fiber or steaks. Miralax, magnesium citrate capsules helps when needed, and I walk a lot & drink a lot! I had to do a gastric emptying test to determine the gastroparesis diagnosis. There are many good teas for the tummy issues also. Best Regards…


Hello @ray666

I read your post and many of the replies from other members. I think that you have begun some good habits by cutting down on your caffeine and cutting down on your use of antacids. As you probably know, caffeine takes water out of your system so it is better to keep caffeine at a minimum and hydrate with water.

As I've had three surgeries of the upper digestive tract, there has been a lot of tinkering with my gut as well, so I have a lot of gut issues. I've found that putting Miralax in a large water bottle and drinking it through the day is a good plan. It offers a lot of hydration as well as the stool softening effects of the Miralax.

I'm wondering if you have a GI specialist and if you have had an upper endoscopy as well as a colonoscopy? If not, this might be a good place to start. A lot of ideas presented by @peggyjean and @johnbluffside were good. Especially the added fluids, use of probiotics (like yogurt), exercise (like walking or bike riding), and relaxation activities like yoga or Tai Chi (my favorite is Tai Chi as it also helps with balance). There are many good videos on Youtube with yoga and Tai Chi.

Probably the most important thing to remember is that as we age, our body does slow down. Therefore, we have to be more diligent to keep active and keep hydrated.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Will you post again?


Teresa | @hopeful33250 |, John | @johnbluffside |, riflemanz64 | @riflemanz64 |, debkl | @debkl |, peggyjean | @peggyjean |,

First, thank you all for your wonderful suggestions! I've been away from the Internet all weekend; it does wonders for the spirit to return home and find that I'm not alone in my tummy woes. AS I need to get my workday underway soon, I'll do what I can to reply to questions you've asked, as many as I possibly can.

I have what I consider to be a pretty good diet (lots of fish, very little red meat, plenty of veggies, etc.). Since my belly has been complaining, I've switched to decaf coffee (almost! I still have 2-3 cups of regular every morning, after drinking a glass of water). I don't smoke or drink (maybe a bottle or two of nonalcoholic beer non & then). My primary has me taking an Omeprazole capsule each morning, too: first thing in my tummy. So, my diet is pretty good (in my humble opinion): 1 Omeprazole + 8 oz water, 2-3 cups reg. coffee, shredded wheat or steel-cut oats (breakfast varies) with fruit, almond sliced, lo-fat milk; after that, only decaf coffee; lots of filtered water throughout my working day; for lunch (also varies, but … ) peanut butter (no salt or sugar) on whole wheat, low-fat yogurt, apple or some other fruit; dinner: my partner is a fantastic cook and cooks 90% organic from scratch. I mention all this to say I'm hard-pressed to think of ways I could make a significant improvement in my diet.

I get as much exercise as I can. Not as much as I'd like, unfortunately. I'm also dealing with cervical myelopathy; poor balance has made many of my favorite exercises (e.g., long-distance walking, trail hiking) less-than-fun. (I am in cervical PT for this problem.) I also have one artificial knee (which actually is doing quite nicely) but the other knee is ailing with arthritis (probably will soon need replacing); likewise, a bum hip (again: arthritis). So, you see, lots of locomotion problems, relegating my to PT and all the indoor stretching I can do.

Whoops! It’s getting late. I'd better get to work. Again, thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas and trying to help me! I appreciate it more than you can possibly know.

Ray (@ray666)


Have you spoken with any medical professional about scar tissue from your surgeries or any abdominal injuries you may have suffered?


I was on an omeprazole/famitidine/simethicone merry-go-round and found they all triggered constipation. And omeprazole can trigger a kind of discomfort that can feel like heart issues according to my cardiologist. And it and some of the antacids affect calcium absorption, thereby not good for healthy bones. It seemed as if every drug required yet another to offset issues it was causing. My gastroenterologist insists that omeprazole and antacids aren't constipating but I'm positive that they were for me.

I tossed all the stuff and, for five nights, took the old baking soda-and-water nostrum my grandmother swore by, for stomach acid issues. [1 tsp per 8 oz. of water.] I don't have high blood pressure so figured it was safe to try.

And stomach upsets that I'd been dealing with for years are mostly good or can be quieted by drinking a glass of water with a few drops of Ricqles peppermint or bitters. I don't have 'heartburn' any more or the duodenal erosion that led to the omeprazole. Sometimes way less is more.


Lose the carbonated beverages and switch to unsweetened almond milk instead of low fat milk. It's alkaline.

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