Our digestive system usually consists of many parts which include the mouth, the throat, the stomach, the liver, the gallbladder, the pancreas, the colon, the rectum, and it ends at the anus.
The primary role of this essential system is to enable the breakdown of food and drinks that you consume daily. Unfortunately, like all the other systems, your digestive system is also prone to disorders. Below are examples of digestive disorders that might be troubling you.
Digestive Disorders That Might Be Affecting You
1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is a digestive disorder that comes as a result of the constant flow of stomach acid back into the esophagus. This backwash of stomach acid is what is referred to as acid reflux. It’s normal for you to experience some acid reflux once in a while. Some of the factors that lead to you having acid reflux include eating particular types of foods, overeating, or even lying down immediately after eating.
Having recurrent acid reflux, on the other hand, is an indication that you need to see a doctor as it can cause serious complications. Symptoms of GERD are such as heartburn, bad breath, vomiting or nausea, pain when swallowing, and respiratory issues.
Complications that may arise as a result of GERD include respiratory issues such as pneumonia & asthma, Barrett’s esophagus, Esophagitis which is an inflammation of the throat, and esophageal stricture.
Several tests can be done to confirm if one has GERD and they include upper GI series, esophageal pH & impedance monitoring, bravo wireless esophageal pH monitoring, and upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. Treatment includes the use of proton pump inhibitors, antacids, prokinetics, H2 blockers, and changing the diet.
Gallstones are small, hard crystalline masses that are formed abnormally in the bile ducts or the gallbladder. These small masses are usually formed as a result of too much cholesterol, bilirubin, and calcium in the bile.
Some of the symptoms of gallstones include; vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion, dark urine, burping, and clay-colored stools. This disorder can cause complications such as gallbladder cancer, sepsis, jaundice, pancreas inflammation, and cholangitis. Tests required to make a diagnosis of gallstones include; gallbladder radionuclide scan, ultrasound, abdominal CT scan, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and blood tests.
Gallstones do not require any kind of treatment unless they are painful and in that case, a doctor can recommend surgery.
This is a disorder that results from the formation of pockets known as diverticula in the walls of the digestive tract. The inner layer of the intestines pushes through weak spots found in the outer lining making them bulge out, forming little pouches.
Some of the symptoms of diverticulosis include; bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and cramping or belly pain. This disorder is diagnosed by taking tests such as colonoscopy, lower GI series, and CT scan.
Diverticulosis is treated by using medicines that help to ease the symptoms of the disorder and by using high-fiber supplements. Examples of the medicines used include mesalazine.
Indigestion refers to an uncomfortable feeling of burning, pain, or fullness in your upper abdomen. Some of the causes of this digestive disorder are such as lifestyle, diet, and medications.
Symptoms of indigestion include gas, bloating, acidic taste in the mouth, abdominal pain, nausea, a decrease in appetite, diarrhea, and heartburn. Some of the tests that can be used in diagnosing this disorder include colonoscopy, ultrasound, CT scan, upper GI & small bowel X-ray series, and endoscopy.
Treatment involves quitting smoking, losing weight, avoiding foods that trigger indigestion or taking medicines such as acid blockers and antacids.
5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
This is a common digestive disorder that affects the large intestine and has the following symptoms; diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, constipation, and bloating & gas. What makes this disorder unique is that some of its symptoms, for instance, gas and bloating usually go away after having a bowel movement.
Most women tend to have this disorder during their menstruation which means that ladies who are in their menopause have fewer symptoms than those who are still menopausal. This disorder is diagnosed by examination of a stool sample, having a blood test, and performing a colonoscopy. There is no cure for this digestive disorder so it is managed by making lifestyle changes and using medicines whose primary aim is to reduce the symptoms.
You might have noticed that most digestive disorders have one thing in common; they are managed by changing the diet. If you are having digestive issues, consult your doctor, have good nutrition, getting rid of bad habits, and exercising regularly and you will lead a long and healthy life.