5 Common Digestive Conditions
- Posted on: Jun 26 2015
Having gastrointestinal problems is a very common thread among individuals, even if most people don’t like to talk about it. There are many digestive conditions out there, and while many know about the common diseases such as GERD, celiac, Crohn’s, as well as ulcerative colitis, there are also other digestive conditions that are also prevalent among individuals:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
According to the International foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, ten to fifteen percent of the general population in the United States suffers from IBS. Signs and symptoms can vary widely between individuals and can also vary by day. For instance, one day you can be constipated, while on other days you can suffer from diarrhea; one day you can have loose, watery stools and have hard, dry stools on another. In addition, sufferers can experience bloating, suffer from an irritable digestive tract, and experience stomach pain and discomfort. The cause of IBS is currently unknown, but treatment for this disease centers largely on the diet; by avoiding trigger foods, eating friendly bacteria (probiotics), and by following a low-fat, high fiber diet; as well as managing stress levels.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), twenty million Americans are affected by gallstones, a hard deposit that forms in your gallbladder; a small sack that stores and secretes bile for digestion. These painful stones can form when your gallbladder doesn’t empty properly, or when there is too much waste or cholesterol in your bile. These stones cause an intense, sharp pain in your upper-right abdomen when they block the ducts that lead from your gallbladder to your intestines. Sometimes medications are administered in order to dissolve the gallstones; but more commonly, surgery is necessary in order to remove the diseased gallbladder.
According to the NIDDK, seventy-five percent of Americans over the age of 45 suffer from hemorrhoids. A common condition that often leaves bright red blood in the toilet during bowel movements, hemorrhoids are inflamed blood vessels that are located at the end of your digestive tract; these inflamed blood vessels can also be itchy and painful. Common causes of hemorrhoids include having a lack of fiber in your diet, straining during bowel movements, having chronic constipation, and diarrhea. Typical treatments include exercising, eating more fiber, drinking more water; while suppositories and over-the-counter creams can provide relief. When typical treatment options are not effective, hemorrhoids may be removed surgically.
Anal fissures typically cause symptoms similar to hemorrhoids, as they too cause pain and bleeding after a bowel movement, due to these tiny, oval-shaped tears that can occur in the lining of your anus. Fissures can occur from not only having soft stools and diarrhea, but from straining and having hard bowel movements as well. Typically having a high-fiber diet is often the best treatment, but medications can also provide relief; however, in chronic cases surgery of the anal sphincter muscle may be required.
Most commonly found in the colon, diverticula are pouches that can form anywhere there are weak spots in the lining of your digestive system. When these pouches cause no symptoms, it is called diverticulosis; which is quite common and rarely causes problems. However, when these pouches become infected by bacteria, it is then called diverticulitis. Common symptoms of diverticulitis include abdominal pain, and fever. Episodes are often treated with antibiotics and by following a liquid diet. However, if you find that you are having frequently occurring severe attacks, you might need surgery in order to remove the diseased part of your colon.
Remember, diseases that affect the digestive system often have similar symptoms to each other, so it is best to speak with a doctor if you suspect you could have one of these issues. If you live in the NYC metro area and suspect you could be suffering from one of these diseases, it may be time to see a doctor.
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