Most Common Diseases of the Digestive System
Precaution is better than cure. Precaution is possible only when you have knowledge of a disease, its causes and symptoms. Diseases of the digestive system, if not prevented, may harm the gastrointestinal tract. Even common digestive disorders like constipation and diarrhea may affect our daily activities. Problems of the digestive system vary in severity, symptoms and effects. Some common digestive problems cause minor annoyance, while serious digestive disorders may lead to a surgery. Knowing what most common of the digestive system are will help you act accordingly for your digestive health in day-to-day life.
Constipation is one of the most common problems of the digestive system. It is the physical condition of having fewer than four bowel movements a week. It causes hard stools which the body finds difficult to pass. It also causes the abdomen to swell or bloat, which is relieved once stools are released.
Insufficient intake of dietary fiber and drinking water is the most common cause of constipation. Moreover, certain medications, improper eating habits, sleep deficiency, unhealthy changes in daily routine (for example, during travel) and excessive smoking cause constipation. This digestive disorder is common during pregnancy due to increased secretion of certain hormones.
Most of the times, a laxative is prescribed to cure constipation. Drinking of water and intake of fiber in plenty are suggested to prevent constipation. Stimulating laxatives help to smooth the movement of stools through intestines for comfortable bowel activity.
Diarrhea is another digestive disorder which occurs when bowel movement is more than three times a day. It also causes cramping in the stomach. Bacterial or viral infection in the digestive system resulting from consumption of dirty water or contaminated food causes diarrhea. Excessive intake of dairy products causes diarrhea to those who are lactose intolerant. Immoderate consumption of caffeine or tea with sweeteners is another cause of this problem of the digestive system. It may be caused by antibiotic medications too.
As diarrhea dehydrates the body, drinking plenty of water is recommended. Make sure to eat liquid foods with salt instead of dairy products and juices which worsens the ailment. If blood comes out during diarrhea, it is a symptom of some serious bacterial infection in the digestive system. If diarrheal condition lasts for more than two days, if you catch fever, if you suffer from acute abdominal pain, if you urinate lesser than usual times or you feel severely fatigued, do visit a doctor.
Acid reflux is one of the most common digestive disorders. It occurs when the muscle in the esophagus ceases to work properly. Contraction and expansion of this muscle help to swallow food. When the food is improperly swallowed, acid content of the food remains in the esophagus. It causes irritation in the throat and inflammation in the chest. This physical condition resulting from acid reflux is called heartburn.
Keep your head at an elevated level while lying on bed and have frequent meals in small quantities to get relieved of acid reflux. Avoid taking the food and fluids which may aggravate the condition. Make sure not to lie on your back right after a meal when acid reflux occurs.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Women are more prone to irritable bowel syndrome than men. It mostly occurs to women in the age group of 30 to 50. Gas, cramping in the abdomen and bloating of the stomach are common symptoms of this digestive disorder. During irritable bowel syndrome, bowel movement may have unusual changes or stools may come out with mucus. It is incurable in most cases. However, the symptoms can be improved by revising the diet, adding fiber to the diet and reducing the quantity of food in meals. Medications prescribed by a specialist may relieve the symptoms, too.
Diverticulitis is a disease of the digestive system. When it occurs, severe abdominal pain is caused. Infection and inflammation of pouches in the large intestine causes diverticulitis. Diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and nausea are other symptoms of diverticulitis in serious cases. In more serious cases of diverticulitis, a tear in the pouch of the large intestine may lead to a blister. A low-fiber diet aggravates the condition further.
Among the most common diseases of the digestive system, ulcer affects those in the habit of eating rich and spicy food. Ulcers are blisters in the stomach. The condition is aggravated by stress and antacids. If left untreated, ulcers develop into a bacterial infection causing internal bleeding. It may tear the stomach wall or eat into the small intestine. Frequent occurrence of ulcers may harm the digestive tract. Immoderate intake of alcohol is another cause of ulcers. A long-term antibiotic treatment can heal ulcers.