The digestive system is a complex and important system in the human body. It is responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste. Unfortunately, digestive diseases and disorders are common, affecting millions of people around the world.
There are many different types of digestive problems, ranging from mild to severe. Some common digestive disorders include:
1. Lactose Intolerance
This condition is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which is responsible for breaking down lactose. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain. Though its symptoms can be distressing, luckily, this condition isn't dangerous.
2. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system. People with celiac disease cannot eat gluten, a type of protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of the small intestine. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies, as well as a host of other symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and fatigue.
Celiac disease can be managed by making dietary changes that, over the past several years, have become easier to make. Many different kinds of food now have gluten-free alternatives, even in restaurants.
3. Diverticular Disease
Diverticulosis and diverticulitis are both conditions that occur in the large intestine, or colon. Together, they're known as diverticular disease.
These conditions involve diverticula, which are small, bulging pouches that form along the colon wall. Diverticulosis is simply the presence of these pouches, and it's very common, especially as we get older. In fact, .
Diverticulitis, on the other hand, is the inflammation and infection of one or more diverticula. This condition is less common, but it can be very serious. Symptoms of diverticulitis include abdominal pain, constipation, nausea, fever, cramps, and diarrhea.
Your medical provider might recommend antibiotics and a clear liquid diet. A clear liquid diet consists of clear liquids like water, broth, and juices that are easy to digest. This diet gives your digestive system a rest while it heals, and luckily, is only a temporary change.
4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS, is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine. Functional gastrointestinal disorders are common, persistent, and recurring, but not caused by structural abnormalities like a tumor or mass. IBS is also a chronic condition, meaning it lasts for a long time, and while it can be managed, it can't be cured.
IBS symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, changes in bowel movements, and feeling as if a bowel movement is incomplete. These symptoms can vary in intensity and frequency, and may come and go.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing IBS, as different people will respond to different treatments. However, some common management strategies include making dietary changes, taking medications, and practicing stress-relieving methods like yoga or meditation.
5. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Despite having a similar name, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) isn't the same as irritable bowel syndrome. IBD is a group of chronic inflammatory disorders that affect the digestive system. People with a family history of IBD are more likely to be affected by it, but the exact cause is unknown.
The two most common types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn's disease can affect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, only affects the large intestine and rectum.
Both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract lining. This inflammation can lead to a variety of symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition.
There is no cure for IBD, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms and prevent flares. These treatments include medications, surgery, and lifestyle changes.
6. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD and chronic acid reflux, occurs when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach, and it's lined with a muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is supposed to keep stomach contents in the stomach, but in people with GERD, it doesn't work properly, allowing acid and other stomach contents to reflux back up into the esophagus.
On top of acid reflux, a person with GERD may experience symptoms like heartburn, chest pain, and trouble swallowing. Though GERD is a chronic condition, and it can be managed with lifestyle changes and medications. Some people may also need surgery.
Visit the Gastroenterology Experts at Prima CARE
At , we're proud to provide our patients with high-quality, compassionate care. We have a team of expert , a kind of medical professional who is specially trained to diagnose and treat disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This includes conditions like IBS, GERD, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis, and we offer a full range of services to meet your needs.
If you're experiencing any symptoms of a digestive disorder, or if you have any questions about your digestive health, we encourage you to make an appointment with your Prima CARE medical provider. Accurately diagnosing most digestive disorders requires a combination of a physical exam, medical history, and testing. Once we have a diagnosis, we can develop a treatment plan that's tailored to your individual needs.
Don't let digestive problems keep you from living your best life. Schedule an appointment with the experts at today. We'll work together to get to the bottom of your symptoms and develop a plan to help you feel your best.