Digestive disorders occur when the human body is unable to transform food to components it needs to be healthy. With this comes many unfavourable symptoms such as constipation or diarrhea, heartburn, abdominal pain, and nausea. Below are 5 examples of digestive disorders and what you can do to address the symptoms that can occur.
Also called dyspepsia, indigestion is arguably the most minor of all digestive disorders but can be painful and indicative of a bigger issue. Occurring when the human body has difficulties digesting food consumed, indigestion is characterized by heartburn, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and vomiting.
To alleviate the symptoms of indigestion, it is recommended that a person consumes yogurt as it helps in the production of healthy bacteria that aids in the digestive process. Apples are filled with antioxidants that can address any inflammation in the digestive tract. Reductions in smoking and alcohol are also advisable as the acid and smoke can cause damage to the digestive tract.
2. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
GERD is a condition where the lower part of the esophagus where it meets the stomach is ineffective in keeping stomach acid down. Consequently, acid comes back up and can cause symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, and bloating.
GERD sufferers often take antacids that counteract the acid in the stomach and some types can be bought over-the-counter. Doctors can also prescribe medications to reduce acid production in the body altogether and these have historically been effective in helping people with GERD. Alcohol, fatty and spicy foods, caffeine, and anything with citrus in it should be avoided as these can increase the acid in the body and either cause or aggravate GERD.
3. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS occurs when the digestive tract, specifically the large intestine, is aggravated. Symptoms of IBS vary greatly but can include abdominal pain,cramping, bloating, and either diarrhea or constipation. The cause of IBS is still unknown but 10 to 15 percent of people worldwide suffer from it.
To help reduce symptoms of IBS, most people follow a strict diet and avoid things such as alcohol, caffeine, raw fruit, and anything with gluten in it. IBS sufferers are often prescribed dicyclomine to address bowel spasms and pain medications to ease abdominal pain or bloating.
4. Celiac disease
Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that occurs when the sufferer ingests gluten, a protein found in wheat and rye products. When those with celiac disease do come into contact with gluten, their immune systems attack the small intestine and is unable to absorb nutrients needed. Symptoms of celiac disease include bloating, diarrhea, and vomiting. In extreme cases it can result in seizures, dermatitis, and anemia.
At present, the only treatment for celiac disease is cutting out gluten from a diet altogether. This entails avoiding foods that have flour, barley, rye, and wheat in them such as bread, cake, cereal pasta, and pastries.
Colitis occurs when the colon is inflamed. Causes include infection, allergies, and an existing condition such as Crohn’s disease. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, and weakness.
To treat colitis, fluids are recommended since the diarrhea can cause serious dehydration. Greasy and high-fibre foods as well as dairy are often avoided. Medications such as Mesalamine is often prescribed to treat symptoms that are occuring as well as prevent any flare ups from happening in the future. If an infection is the cause of the colutis, a course of antibiotics is usually effective in addressing the inflammation of the colon and will prevent any future problems.