Taking after my mother, I have always had a cast iron stomach. I could eat just about anything and if something didn't agree with me, had a 24-hour window before my stomach acted up. I never had problems skipping meals, and could only drink water for days. I was also one of those people who was never tethered to a bathroom because I didn't have to go every day, making me an ideal candidate for extended trips.
But age appears to have caught up with me and I find that I cannot get through the day without eating either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Skip one meal, and my stomach acts up within the hour. Gas is the primary problem, followed by pains, then the need to empty my bowels being the worst case scenario.
Accepting my limitations, I make it a point to eat three meals a day. They don't necessarily have to be full meals; I just need to have something in my stomach to keep it from rebelling. Sadly, my days of going on extended trips without a toilet are over as I need to relieve my bowels on a daily basis. Miss one and I end up becoming a killjoy.
Stress has a way of wreaking havoc on the most balanced system. And this is a problem I faced with my previous job. I used to get acid attacks that would sometimes result in acid reflux, which can be described as stomach acids rising to my throat.
One doctor I consulted prescribed an anti-acid whenever I felt an attack. However, it got to the point when the medicine's effect began to diminish. At this stage, I began to worry that I would continually ever-stronger medicine just to keep up. The problem is that it may cause long-term damage to my system.
Looking for a second opinion, and an alternate solution, I consulted another doctor. My daily diet of anti-acid was set aside in exchange for Yakult.
To be honest, I didn't take my second doctor advice seriously. My point was that if the medicine didn't help me, I didn't see how something made out of milk would make a difference. So I continued with my anti-acids.
Yakult and my Wife
By comparison, my wife's system isn't as good as good as mine. Due to her being prescribed a lot of antibiotics as a child, her stomach ended up being quite delicate. Anything from tasting slightly bad food to sitting on a warm bench triggered stomach problems for her. And more often than not, we would need to find a restroom or cut a trip short in order for her to recover.
To get her stomach under control, her doctor prescribed Yakult and her stomach problems were put under control. Yes, she is still sensitive to bad food, but she is much more tolerant of it today. So much so, that she is able to try out some of the more exotic dishes she missed as a child.
Yakult and Me
After I just couldn’t stand the taste and feeling of my anti-acid anymore, I decided to heed my doctor and take a bottle of Yakult from my wife's weekly stash. After drinking one tiny bottle after dinner, my gas disappeared the next morning. Thinking it was a fluke, I repeated my experiment for a week and got the same results at varying degrees.
On some days it would be completely gone, while on high-stress days it would be minimal. Overall, I would say that the results were great. Sure, I still needed to eat on time, but I felt more like my younger self.
Yakult and my Mother
You may recall my mentioning that I inherited my cast iron stomach from my mother. Well, just like me, age has caught up with her stomach too. But compared to mine, her acid reflux is much worse because it is serious enough to affect her throat.
It turns out that her stomach acid would rise to her throat at night and end up dissolving a portion of her throat. Doctors have been giving her anti-acids and other medicines to control it but, just like me, appears to have built up some form of resistance.
Being just as hard-headed as me, and preferred to put her trust on expensive medicines, she never listened to my other doctor. Then on a recent trip abroad, she could not replenish her acid reflux medicine because she forgot her prescription. Faced with the choice of paying through the nose for a foreign doctor, she bought a few bottles of Yakult at the grocery and her problem was solved after a few days.
Now that she is back home, she doesn't even need to take reflux medicine anymore. Drinking Yakult every night, her throat is fine.
Today's generation may not recognize it, but Yakult has been in the Philippines for quite a while. During my younger days, the company's sales staff would wheel around an ice chest of them around the neighborhood.
I remember seeing them but never gave them much thought because I was as healthy as a horse back then. I rarely got sick and almost never took any medicine when I was down. All I needed was sleep and a lot of food to fuel my antibodies' battle against bacteria.
But after being quite frustrated with my stomach, I must admit to being pleasantly surprised. At just PhP 40 for four tiny bottles, it has replaced hundreds of Pesos worth of medicines, not to mention the lousy taste and feeling that comes with them.
However, just because it works for me doesn’t mean it is ideal for you. Each person has a different system and will have varied results. To find out, I advise checking with your doctor before doing anything drastic.
In my and my mother's cases, we consulted a different doctor and were cleared to stop taking anti-acid medicines. Even my wife was advised by her own doctor years ago to try out Yakult for her own stomach problems. So I strongly advise that you do the same thing
However, it shouldn't hurt to drink a bottle after meals, so long as you don't change your medical intake. Each Yakult bottle has 80 milliliters of milk loaded with beneficial Lactobacilli Shirota Strain, so it should be no worse than drinking regular milk. For those of you who are lactose intolerant, just like me, I suggest consuming it right after a full meal.