Millions of People suffer from digestive disorders every year. These conditions affect the digestive tract, also known as the gastrointestinal tract (GI). The GI tract comprises the esophagus and liver, small and large intestinales, gallbladder, pancreas, and stomach.There are many diseases that can cause digestive disorders, from mild to very severe.
Digestive disorders that are common include cancer, gastroesophageal reflux, hiatal hernia, lactose intolerance, and irritable bowel syndrome.Most common signs of digestive disorders are constipation, bleeding, diarrhea, heartburn and nausea. To accurately diagnose digestive disorders, it is important to collect a complete medical history and conduct a physical exam. Sometimes, patients suffering from digestive disorders will need additional diagnostic testing, such as imaging and lab tests.
Gastroesophageal reflux Disease (GERD).
You may feel burning in your chest when stomach acid builds up in your esophagus (acid reflux). This can happen after meals and at night, according to Neville Bamji MD, a clinical instructor of medical at the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai, and a gastroenterologist at New York Gastroenterology Associates. It’s not uncommon for people to have acid reflux and stomach pain occasionally. However, GERD is a chronic disease that can affect 20 percent of Americans.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, GERD is a chronic condition that affects 20% of Americans. You should consult your doctor if you have persistent heartburn, bad breathe, tooth erosion or nausea. Many people find relief by quitting smoking and/or avoiding foods and drinks that cause symptoms. Lifestyle changes such as elevating your head, not laying down after eating, and avoiding tight-fitting clothes can help. Some cases of GERD may require more treatment such as surgery or medication.
Gallstones form in your Gallbladder, a small sac that stores and secretes digestive bile. According to the American Gastroenterological Association, nearly one million Americans have gallstones each year. Gallstones can develop when your gallbladder isn’t emptying properly, too much cholesterol or other waste in your bile. Gallstones can block the ducts that connect your gallbladder and your intestines. This can lead to sharp pain up your upper-right abdomen. Sometimes, medication can dissolve gallstones. If that fails, surgery is the next step to remove the gallbladder.
According to Beyond Celiac , about 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disorder, or the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (formerly the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness), this is a small percentage of the total population. According to the group, more than 80 percent with celiac disorder are not aware they have it. Celiac disease refers to a severe sensitivity to Gluten, a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten can cause a serious immune system attack. It can damage your villi (fingerlike protrusions in the small intestines that aid you in absorbing nutrients from foods you eat), and it can also affect your ability to ingest gluten.
Children may experience abdominal pain or bloating. They also might experience diarrhea, constipation and vomiting. Adult symptoms include fatigue, depression, weight loss, nausea, and anemia . Some people may not experience any symptoms. You can treat Celiac disease by completely avoiding gluten. You can also try brown rice, quinoa and lentils as alternatives to gluten.
Digestive Disorders: Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease belongs to a group called IBD. Crohn’s disease can affect any part or the GI tract, but it is most common in the terminal ileum. This connects the end and beginning of the small bowel to the colon. According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, up to 780,000 Americans could be affected. Although doctors aren’t certain what causes Crohn’s disease, they believe that genetics and family history could play a role. The most common Crohn’s symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea , rectal bleeding and weight loss. Dr. Bamji states that treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms. It can include surgery, topical pain relief, immunosuppressants and/or surgery. By avoiding trigger food such as dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, red meat, raw fruits and vegetables, and foods that have a high calorie content you can prevent flares.
Ulcerative Colitis may be another inflammatory bowel disorder that can affect up to 907,000 Americans according to the CCFA. Although the symptoms are similar to those in Crohn’s the affected part of the digestive system is the large intestine also known as the colon. Sores or ulcers can develop in the colon’s interior if your immune system mistakenly identifies food or other substances as invaders. Visit your doctor if you have frequent and severe bowel movements, diarrhea, cramps or bloody stool. You can control inflammation with the proper medication, and avoiding foods that cause discomfort might help. In extreme cases, treatment for ulcerative colitis might involve surgery to remove part of the colon.
Digestive Disorders: Hemorrhoids
A sign of hemorrhoids is bright red blood in your toilet bowl when your bowels move. This condition is very common and according to the NIDDK, hemorhoids affect 75 percent of Americans older than 45. Itchy and painful hemorhoids can result from inflammation of blood vessels near the end of your digestive system. Chronic constipation or diarrhea, straining during bowel movements, or a low intake of fiber can also cause hemorrhoids .
Try to treat hemorrhoids by increasing fiber intake, drinking more water and getting more exercise. Temporary relief from hemorhoids may be possible with over-the-counter creams or suppositories. If these home remedies fail to work, consult your doctor. Sometimes, a hemorhoidectomy may be necessary in order to remove hemorhoids surgically.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Is your digestive tract irritable? Are you experiencing stomach pains or discomfort three times per month, for several months? It could be Irritatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or another common digestive condition. According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, between 10 and 15 percent of IBS sufferers worldwide. Up to 45 million Irritatory Bowel Syndrome patients live in the United States. It’s symptoms can range from hard, dry stool one day to loose, watery stool the next. IBS can also cause bloating. Although we don’t know what causes IBS, treatment for symptoms focuses largely on diet. This includes avoiding trigger foods like dairy products, alcohol and caffeine as well as foods that cause gas.
It has been proven that IBS symptoms can be reduced by following the low FODMAP diet. This involves avoiding certain carbs called FODMAPs (fermentable organicoligosaccharides and disaccharides as well as monosaccharides and polyols). Friendly bacteria such as the live yogurt probiotics may also help to improve your mood. IBS symptoms can be triggered by stress. Some people find cognitive behavioral therapy and low-dose antidepressants useful.
We can describe anal fissures as tiny, oval-shaped tears found in the lining at the end of your digestive system called your anus. These symptoms can be similar to hemorhoids. They include bleeding and pain when your bowels move. Fissures can be caused by tight bowel movements and straining, as well as diarrhea and soft stool. It is best to treat this common condition with a high fiber diet. A stool that is well-formed and bulky will often be the best. Pain relief can be achieved with medication to relax the anal and sphincter muscles. However, chronic fissures may need surgery.
Digestive Disorders: Diverticulitis
Diverticula are small pouches that can form wherever there are weak points in your digestive system. They are most common in the colon. Diverticula can be accompanied by symptoms. This condition is common in older adults and rarely causes any problems. According to the American Gastroenterological Association, approximately half of all people with diverticulosis are over 50 years old.
About 5 percent of people have diverticulosis, which is when the pouches become inflamed, or infected. The symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, nausea, chills and nausea. Diverticulitis is most commonly caused by obesity. To heal your colon, you can treat mild diverticulitis using antibiotics and a clear liquid diet. Diverticulitis could also be caused by a low-fiber diet. Your doctor may recommend that you eat a high-fiber diet — whole grains, legumes and vegetables — as part your treatment. You may need surgery if you suffer from severe colon problems that recur often.