Your digestive system helps to break down your food, convert it to absorbable forms, absorb it into the bloodstream, and eliminate unwanted wastes. It contains structures through which food passes through during digestion and organs that produce juices used for the digestion process.
Your digestive system is critical to your wellbeing as it affects your sustenance and any disease that attacks the digestive system will impede your nourishment and affect your growth and development. Below you will find common digestive disorders that you may face.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
This disorder causes constant heartburn or acid reflux. Usually, the esophagus carries swallowed food to your stomach. And the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a ring of muscles, links the stomach and esophagus. When the LES becomes weak, the stomach acid can leak back into your esophagus and lead to heartburn. Over time, it leads to serious damage to the esophagus.
Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD) and Gastritis
PUD refers to an open sore in the stomach lining or upper part of the small intestine. On the other hand, gastritis refers to inflammation of the stomach lining. The two disorders have similar symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea among others.
Stomach flu or gastroenteritis is an infection that affects the stomach and upper part of the small intestine. Some of the common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and stomach pain.
Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease
Gluten sensitivity refers to an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. With time, the immune reaction to eating gluten creates inflammation that damages the small intestine’s lining, leading to medical complications. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are similar. They include diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to long-lasting inflammation in the digestive tract. Two common inflammatory bowel diseases are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. They are autoimmune diseases, which means there is an abnormal immune system reaction. IBD leads to irritation and swelling, resulting in diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, and weight loss.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Usually, people confuse IBS with IBD. IBS is an intestinal disorder causing pain in the stomach, wind, diarrhea, and constipation. The cause of irritable bowel syndrome isn’t well understood.
Constipation occurs when bowel movements become less frequent and stools become difficult to pass. It can be caused by not getting enough fiber in your diet.
Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum and anus that cause discomfort and bleeding. Symptoms are itching, pain, and red blood after a bowel movement.
Diverticular disease includes diverticulosis—small pouches that form in the wall of your colon and diverticulitis and become inflamed. About 50% of people aged 60 to 80 have the condition.
Gallstones refer to hardened deposits within the fluid in the gallbladder, a small organ under the liver.
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