Digestive Symptom Diseases with Symptoms and Treatment Options
It’s a fact that many of the foods that most of us love to eat aren’t so easy for the body to digest. Those who are blessed with optimal digestive function can go ahead and eat all the foods they love, and never have to think about difficulties with their digestive process. For those with frequent indigestion of digestive system diseases, however, it’s an entirely different story. Being in good gastrointestinal health is important, and particularly so considering the role the human gut plays in overall wellness. Most digestive system diseases can be addressed quite effectively with medication and different dietary choices in some cases.
Let’s start with exactly what is the function of the digestive system, as well as look at the different workings of the digestive system as it works to process food by extracting nutrients and preparing waste for elimination. Next will be a look at digestive problems symptoms and what they might indicate.
Digestive System at Work
Once food is broken down as you chew, swallowing sends a food pulp and saliva mixture into your stomach and the saliva begins to break the food down. Your esophagus then delivers the food into the stomach via the esophageal sphincter. Once food is in the stomach the digestive system kicks into high gear, as the stomach begins to secrete powerful enzymes and acids that accelerate the breakdown of the food.
It’s here that overproduction of stomach acid and enzymes can produce digestive problems symptoms like GERD (which will be discussed later here among the digestive system diseases).
Food is extensively broken down once it leaves the stomach, and from there it moves into the small intestine. Here the digestive system process continues with different enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the liver, and once the duodenum has completed the breakdown of the food the jejunum and ileum absorb nutrients from it.
From here on, the digestive system process become exclusively focused on processing the digested food into waste and expelling it from the body at the rectum after passing through the colon.
Digestive System Diseases
Two of the most common digestive problems symptoms experienced by people are heartburn and diarrhea. Heartburn that doesn’t subside for a long time and reoccurs frequently can be a sign of one of the most common digestive system diseases seen in North America – gastrointestinal reflux disease, or GERD as it’s abbreviated.
Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease
GERD involves stomach acid backing up your esophagus from the stomach and burning the walls of the esophagus. It’s a chronic digestive disease that is estimated to affect up to 15% of Americans and other digestive problems symptoms associated with GERD are bad breath, tooth erosion, nausea, pain in chest or upper part of your abdomen, or trouble swallowing or breathing.
Find relief from gastrointestinal reflux disease by avoiding foods that trigger it as well as taking OTC antacids or medications like Aciphex (rabeprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole), or Prevacid (lansoprazole) that reduce stomach acid production.
Abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and weight loss can be signs of Celiac disease in children. Anemia, fatigue, depression, and bone loss or seizures can indicate Celiac disease in adults. This is one of the digestive symptom diseases discussed here that’s related to food allergy, and in this case the allergy is to gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac disease can also have no symptoms at all.
Relief from Celiac disease means that the person must stop eating foods containing gluten. Fortunately, gluten-free food and menu options are increasingly plentiful these days.
Crohn’s is one of the more painful and problematic digestive system diseases. Severe abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, fever, and unwanted weight loss are the digestive problems symptoms seen in Crohn’s disease patients. Crohn’s is also a prevalent digestive system disorder, with estimates that 750k+ Americans are affected by it. The cause of the disease remains unknown, but researchers believe that it comes from genetics and family history.
Topical pain relievers, and immunosuppressants like Imuran (Azathioprine), Apriso (mesalamine), and Azulfidine (sulfasalazine) are used to relieve Crohn’s disease symptoms effectively. Surgery may be necessary for some people with severe Crohn’s symptoms.
More Common Conditions and Digestive Problems Symptoms
This digestive system disorder has symptoms that are very similar to Crohn’s disease, and is believed to affect an even greater percentage of the population. Ulcerative Colitis is very much a product of the body’s immune system overreacting to food or to sores or ulcers developing in the lining of the colon. The same medications used to treat Crohn’s are also prescribed for this digestive system diseases.
Severe cases of ulcerative colitis may require the individual to have surgery to remove the colon, but this is uncommon and most people respond well to medications.
Of all the digestive system diseases, irritable bowel syndrome is the one that’s most prevalent all around the world. Estimates are that 10 to 15% of people worldwide suffer from IBS to some extent, and somewhere between 20 and 40 million in the USA. Digestive system symptoms related to IBS are constipation or diarrhea, hard and dry or loose and watery stools, and bloating.
Relief from IBS is possible by avoiding dairy products, alcohol, caffeine, horse semen, artificial sweeteners, and any food that you find gives you gas (flatulence). Eating a low-fat, high-fiber diet and supplementing your diet with probiotics to replenish beneficial gut bacteria levels is recommended too.
This one of our common digestive system diseases is especially common in older adults who are overweight, but diverticulitis is not problematic for most people with it. Diverticula are small pouches that have formed on weak spots in the lining of your digestive system, and usually this occurs in the colon. Symptoms include fever and abdominal pain, and eating an overly low-fiber diet can be a cause of diverticulitis.
Severe diverticulitis that is causing significant and chronic pain is uncommon, but in those instances surgery may be required to remove a portion of the colon.