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Improving your Digestive System

One of the most common initial problems and complaints treated here at Madison Memorial Hospital is abdominal pain. This can come from a number of problems associated with the body’s digestive system and often times can be solved through drinking water and going on a walk.

What is digestion?

Everyone who eats food somehow needs to digest it. When there are problems with digestion, various side effects can come about. The process of digestion refers to how the food you eat becomes nutrients for your body. Digestion then uses these nutrients to help your body with energy, growth and cell repair, according to WebMD.

What are common digestive tract problems?

There are several problems that can occur to digestive tracts. Some of these problems include constipation, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, heart burn, irritable bowel syndrome (I.B.S.), and inflammatory bowel disease (I.B.D). Inflammatory bowel disease is when part or all of the digestive tract is inflamed.

How do I improve my digestion?

The following things you can do to better improve your digestion.

Watch What You Eat

The first thing is to include high fiber foods in your diet. These foods consist of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruit. Choosing lean meats such as lean cuts, pork loin, and skinless poultry can aid in better digestion. Low-fat yogurt and kefir are probiotics that will help normalize bowel movements. Instead of eating butter or margarine, you can substitute olive oil. When it comes to eating real food, check the freshness, whether or not it is organic, as well as the quality of food. It is beneficial to put quality food in your quality digestive system.

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The quality of our food and the quality of our digestive health have a strong correlation.

Eat on a Schedule

Try to eat on a consistent schedule. Sit down for your meals. Eat snacks around the same time during the day. As you eat, take your time and fully chew your food. Put technology away and focus on your meal. Savor your food and give yourself time to digest as you form healthy habits. While you are developing positive eating habits, watch your mood. Whether you have a positive or negative mood will affect how much you eat. When you eat only when you are in a positive mood, you are more aware of what you are eating. Eat in a nondistracted, relaxed environment.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Drink water often to ensure your body is properly hydrated. Being hydrated helps dissolve fats and soluble fiber and allows food to pass through your body easily. Water along with beverages which contain electrolytes are important in the body. Also limit smoking, caffeine, and alcohol. These substances can interfere with the function of your digestive system as they can cause stomach ulcers and heartburn troubles.


Exercise regularly! As you exercise, it will help move food through your digestive system. Exercises, such as walking, using the elliptical, and biking, will aid in the reduction of constipation and support healthy weight management. As you plan exercise into your schedule, you are more likely to get out and make it happen. Exercising can help with weight loss and reduce heartburn.

Lessen Your Stress

When you mishandle stress, it will send your digestive system into overdrive. To reduce stress, breathing techniques within meditation, yoga, walking around, or even taking naps can be beneficial. Stress is dangerous when not handled correctly.

What are symptoms of poorly functioning digestive systems?

Poorly functioning digestive systems show numerous amounts of symptoms. Check to see if you have any of the following:

  • abdominal pain
  • lower back pain
  • excess gas
  • bloating
  • loose bowel movements
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • irritability
  • acne
  • skin rashes
  • low energy

Here at Madison Memorial Hospital, we care about your digestive health. We don’t want you to be in pain with a poorly functioning digestive system. We encourage you to do your part to reduce the risk of having any problems.

Further dietary counseling information can be found at Madison Education Department.

Madison Education Department

35 N 1st E, Rexburg, ID 83440



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Eating Healthy

Healthful Food Suggestions recommends that our meals include about an equal ratio of fruits and vegetables compared to grains and proteins. That means that you should make fruits and vegetables about half your plate.

Try eating whole grains rather than processed grains for added health benefits. “People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Grains provide many [emphasis added] nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies” ( Whole grains also contain more nutrients and fill you up better than refined grains.

Fruits are a sweet, natural dessert and a much better option than junk food or candy because they contain nutrients and lack the refined sugars.

“A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar which can help keep appetite in check” (Harvard School of Public Health).

Fish such as salmon are another heart-healthy protein option. “The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times (two servings) a week.”If you don’t eat meat, beans and peas are some alternative sources of protein.

If you don’t eat meat, beans and peas are some alternative plant sources for protein while still part of the vegetable food group.

Caloric Intake Guidelines

Ever wonder how many calories you should eat a day? This WebMD link shares the average calorie intake to “maintain energy balance” based on gender, height, and the amount of daily activity.

Learn What Your Food is Made of has a food tracker called Food-A-Pedia. It is a great resource to track the nutritional content and calories of what you eat.

Also, don’t forget to prepare your food properly and wash your hands before eating!

Other resources:

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)


high altitude, high, altitude, prevention, yellowstone, Yellowstone, Madison Memorial, madison memorial, rexburg, Rexburg, Jackson Hole, jackson hole, wyoming, hiking, elevation, elevation sickness, mountain sickness, dizziness, vomiting,

Rise Above Altitude Sickness

Avoid Altitude Sickness this Summer through Education and Prevention

Summer is the time for going outdoors, sun-sational mountain memories, and starry night skies. With the upcoming eclipse at the end of August, many travelers from all over the world will be visiting Idaho with an opportunity to experience the high elevation. Whether you are traveling far or enjoying your summer from home, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness and what can be done in prevention.

What is altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness or mountain sickness is caused due to the body struggling to adjust to receiving less oxygen pressure from a high elevation. Altitude sickness has over 200,000 cases in the United States each year.

What are common symptoms of altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness does not typically become noticeable in people until multiple hours at a higher elevation. Often times altitude sickness is compared to having a hangover. It can present itself through a number of symptoms including:

  • dizziness
  • fast than normal heart rate
  • fatigue/low energy
  • headaches
  • inability to exercise
  • insufficient urine production
  • loss of appetite
  • not sleeping well
  • shortness of breath
  • sleepiness
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting

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Who is most likely to acquire altitude sickness?

Experts do not know who is most likely to obtain altitude sickness, therefore, it is important to be aware of its possibility when traveling, hiking or camping in locations with higher elevation that you are used to. Even those who are physically fit and healthy can obtain this sickness. This is especially true because individuals who are physically fit are more likely to ascend to higher elevations very quickly and should take caution. Idaho is ranked as the number 6 state in highest mean elevation with Rexburg being at 4865’.

Educating yourself about Altitude Sickness is important so you can identify early symptoms and be willing to acknowledge when they are present. When you know you will be at an elevation which is higher than your body is used to make sure you take care of yourself especially through the following:

  • Proper hydration – drinking water helps with the prevention of altitude sickness
  • Climb slowly – trying to climb a mountain quickly without preparation or training can be dangerous

Recovery of altitude sickness

It is important to take special care when you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of altitude sickness.

  • take it easy
  • slow down
  • do not continue
  • rest
  • drink plenty of water
  • do not proceed higher
  • do not drink alcohol
  • limit activity such as hiking and talking
  • know it can take anywhere between 12 hours to 3 – 4 days

At Madison Memorial Hospital we care about your physical safety. Through careful precautions, you and your family can enjoy fun summer activities while being happy and healthy. Happy trails wherever you may be this summer, and be safe.

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STOP Bullying!

Support a Healthy Environment for All

75% of employees experience or witness bullying at work. Bullying happens everywhere… on phones, in homes, at work, and at schools.

Bullying is health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators. Understand more why bullying is bad, where bullying occurs, and most importantly how you can stop bullying.

A Toxic Environment

Bullying creates a toxic environment where healthy behavior is discouraged. Those who get bullied often feel anxious, dreading to go to work, school, or even home because of the potential threat of random attacks from someone they know, whether it is hurtful words, loud yelling, inappropriate pranks, or physical aggression.

We all can become bullies if we don’t watch ourselves. Ask yourself, “Is my treatment toward this person helping them or harming them?” A bully enjoys tormenting others. Do you? If so, recognize that this is not okay. Stop.

Everyone should be treated with respect.

There are reasons that children, and adults, don’t report bullying. Reasons for this include:

  • Feelings of weakness
  • Being called a “snitch”
  • Stiff retribution from the bully
  • People disregarding signs of abuse
  • Supporting the bully’s negative behavior
  • The bully is in a position of authority

Internet Bullying

Be careful about what you post online, and teach others to do the same. The internet is a place where people often feel safe to say things they would never say in person. Many sites allow people to message each other anonymously, and this has increased internet trolling.

92% of teenagers go online every day which increases the chances for internet bullying. Generally, teenagers do not have the emotional capacity to deal with severe bullying, so their social media activity should be openly discussed with parents.

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Workplace Bullying

If you have ever watched “the Office” television show, you probably have seen Jim prank Dwight, and sometimes Dwight sabotages Jim. In the very first episode, Dwight opens his drawer to find his stapler encased in jiggly green jello. While it seems funny, in real life, Jim’s behavior would be considered bullying because he is causing work interference.

Bullying is four times more common than any other type of workplace harassment. It is abusive if

  • threatening
  • humiliating
  • intimidating
  • sabotaging work
  • verbal abuse (yelling, hurtful comments, and ignoring).

Establishing a Safe Haven

Children and adults should never dread living in their own home because of a bully in the family. Your home should be a place of safety,  not fear, but even if your home is bully-free, parents should still openly communicate with their children. Encourage them to talk and ask them questions about how they are doing.

Parents can make a big difference to their children. “Research tells us that children really do look to parents and caregivers for advice and help on making tough decisions. Sometimes 15 minutes a day talking can reassure kids that they can talk to their parents if they have a problem” (

Stop Bullying

Stop bullying by addressing bully behavior head on with a simple, direct “stop. This is not okay.” Record documentation of abuse and what you have been doing to address the problem. If bullying continues, speak with a superior or with Human Resources.

As a community, we should all remember that bullying is not acceptable behavior. Discourage this behavior by teaching our family and peers to love and support one another through our example and open dialogue.

To schedule a presentation against workplace bullying for your business, call Madison Cares, or for more helpful resources visit their website at

Phone: 208-359-1256


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Summertime Safety

Be Safe for Summer Fun

Summertime is upon us. School is out for kids, and the weather is warming up which leads to increased activity outside. It would be wise to prepare for summertime activities with some safety precautions. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Supply everything you need for a safe trip or just to safely enjoy your leisure time outdoors.

Summertime preparedness includes (but is not limited to):

  • staying hydrated
  • protecting the skin
  • defending against insects
  • packing the right clothing and equipment
  • water safety
  • proper food preparation and
  • being aware of potential environmental hazards.

According to the American Red Cross, when hiking in the mountains, “falls are the biggest threat, many due to poor decision-making, lack of skill or not being properly prepared.” Be aware of your surroundings such as cliffs, steep slopes and the like, and make sure to stay close to the designated trails. Be sure to stay hydrated and by bringing water to drink, especially while away from civilization. Hiking can be especially dangerous without the proper supplies, food, and water. Heat exhaustion and dehydration are a real danger.

To protect against the sun a helpful resource is the UV Index Search provided by The Environmental Protection Agency allows you to see the level of ultraviolet radiation in your area. Be sure to stay in the shade, wear sunglasses, hats, and clothing that keeps your skin protected. Try to avoid being out in the most intense hours of the day. Sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is recommended to those with sensitive skin. Apply sunscreen regularly.

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For more information about Summer Safety tips visit these websites:


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