When you think of digestion, it would probably surprise you to know that there are lots of different digestive disorders. It is important to take them all very seriously, as prolonged problems can cause more serious repercussions to your health. Here are some of the more common digestive disorders:
Reflux / Heartburn is the most common problem. It can sometimes be painful and may even hurt your esophagus if it continues for a long period. If left untreated, it may lead to esophageal cancer. It usually causes a burning feeling coming up from your abdomen into the chest beneath the sternum. You may get a sour taste and sometimes remnants of food or liquid in your mouth. It is easily treated with medication.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a very common problem and over 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with this disease. It happens when the lower esophageal sphincter (a one-way valve) won’t shut properly. This allows stomach contents and digestive juices to come up the esophagus. One major symptom is heartburn. Doctors usually have to carry out an endoscopy to correctly diagnose the problem.
The best way to treat GERD is by changing your diet, taking prescription medications, reflux drugs or over-the-counter antacids. People of any age (including infants) can contract this disease.
A Peptic Ulcer starts as a pain in your stomach. Don’t take aspirin or other non-steroidal medications as they only make it worse. You must see your doctor and get antibiotics. If it continues, you may need tests and possibly surgery. Scarring from such an ulcer can block the digestive tract, cause you to bleed internally and could eat a hole in the wall of the stomach or small intestine which may cause infection. If the ulcer gets perforated, it should be repaired laporoscopically.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) hits 20% of women and 10% of men between the ages of 35-50. It is not considered to be very dangerous, but it does cause cramps and pain, as well as diarrhea and constipation. It can also cause a build-up of gas and mucus and make you feel over-full after eating. Its cause is unknown, so it is not so easy to treat. Most doctors recommend eating extra fiber, reducing stress and taking medication to avoid cramps.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is different to IBS; it is a term for a few different diseases, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The cause is unknown yet, but it is believed that problems with your immune system, the environment and genes are involved. Crohn’s disease occurs within the digestive tract, while ulcerative colitis occurs in the colon and must be removed.
Symptoms of both ailments include cramping and abdominal pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding. Treatment includes medication, changes in your diet to decrease the symptoms and surgery.
This is only a small selection of digestive disorders. It is vital to see your doctor if you believe that you have any of these problems, so action can be taken to treat the digestive disorder or at least ease its symptoms.