Do you remember the famous book, Everyone Poops? It teaches children that all creatures in the animal world, including humans, deal with the products of digestion. Most people don’t want to discuss this topic, or the topic of digestive problems. This is interesting when you consider that digestive disease continues to rise among American adults. In fact, a 2021 report found that 62 million Americans are diagnosed with a digestive disorder each year.
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract consists of the mouth, stomach, and intestines. Along with the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas, these organs work in unison to absorb nutrients and expel waste. If these natural processes are disturbed, it’s possible to experience a range of symptoms. Many symptoms pass and pose little risk to your health, but common digestive issues can often indicate several common digestive disorders. Read on to learn about the most common digestive disorders. If you suspect that you have one of these problems, consult with your doctor to take action.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). It is characterized by symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. The exact cause of IBS is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a combination of factors, including abnormalities in the muscles of the intestine, changes in the balance of bacteria in the gut, and sensitivity to certain foods. There is a growing body of research on IBS, including studies on its causes, risk factors, and treatment options. Some potential treatment options for IBS include dietary changes, medications, and stress management techniques. If you are experiencing symptoms of IBS, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the digestive tract. The condition is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, which can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss. Health experts are still unsure of the exact cause of Crohn’s disease, but it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune factors. A growing body of research on Crohn’s disease includes studies on its causes, risk factors, and treatment options. Some people choose conventional treatment options, while others prefer to use natural remedies to manage symptoms. Should you think you have Crohn’s disease, speak with your healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis and discuss treatment options.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum and anus that can affect digestion in several ways. One of the primary symptoms of hemorrhoids is painless bleeding during bowel movements. In rare cases, heavy or prolonged bleeding can lead to anemia. Hemorrhoids can also cause itching, swelling, and irritation around the anus, which can be uncomfortable and interfere with the normal process of defecation. In some cases, the presence of hemorrhoids can make it difficult to have a bowel movement, leading to constipation. Lastly, it’s possible that hemorrhoids may be associated with other digestive disorders like IBD.
There are small bulging pouches that can form in the lining of the digestive system, most often in the colon or large intestine, and these are called diverticula. The formation of these sacs is referred to as diverticulosis, but having diverticula does not indicate diverticulitis. If the diverticula become inflamed, then this is considered diverticulitis. People with diverticulitis will most commonly experience severe abdominal pain or a change in bowel habits. Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, nausea, irregular bowel movements, fever, vomiting, or constipation. Similar to other digestive disorders, there is no singular or specific cause; however, the formation of diverticula can be attributed to a low-fiber diet, which can lead to constipation. This increased pressure in the colon may lead to the development of diverticula.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus. It can sometimes get to the point when stomach acid rises into the throat and disturbs the tissues. The primary reason for this occurrence is if the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) isn’t functioning properly. Rapid weight gain, medication, lifestyle, diet, and pregnancy (occasionally) can also lead to the development of GERD. There are many natural remedies to help minimize symptoms, and you can learn about them by clicking here.
Ulcerative colitis is a common IBD that causes ulcers or long-lasting inflammation in the digestive tract. This condition affects the inner lining to the rectum and large intestine and is closely related to Crohn’s Disease. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition and while there isn’t a known cure, there are several options to help reduce symptoms and achieve long-term remission. Maintaining a healthy diet is often the first order of business to help reduce symptoms of ulcerative colitis. It is also wise to avoid sugar, exercise regularly to reduce inflammation, and consider supplementing with herbs like slippery elm, as it may help calm inflamed bowels.