Digestive diseases are caused by a number of factors that range from emotional distress to malfunctioning of other body parts. The digestive system is one of the most important and sensitive systems in the body. Scientists also now believe that the digestive system plays a crucial role in the immunity of a human being.

The digestive system comprises a number of organs that work in sync to help in the assimilation of food and generate the energy required by the body to accomplish day-to-day tasks. When certain conditions disturb the working of these organs, they lead to disorders. In scientific terms, digestive system diseases affect the digestive tract. This system includes the esophagus (food pipe), stomach, small and large intestines, liver, pancreas, and the gallbladder.

The Importance of Digestive Health

According to health experts and nutritionists, 70 percent of our immunity depends on the proper functioning of the digestive system. The food we eat is a source of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins. All these elements act as sources of energy and also work as a repair mechanism for our body to fight against various agents.

When a person suffers from digestive diseases, it disrupts the normal flow of these activities, which could lead to multiple health issues. If prolonged, these diseases could cause drastic harm to the immune system, making the patient prone to falling victim to a plethora of diseases.

Common Symptoms of Digestive Diseases

The human body has a mechanism to indicate when something inside the body is not functioning properly. We must recognize these symptoms and take measures to prevent or curb the problem before it develops into something serious.

Here is a list of the common problems that indicate that you might be prone to a digestive disease:

Abdominal pain

The most common symptom related to most digestive diseases is abdominal pain. Pain experienced in the region from beneath the chest to the groin can be categorized as abdominal pain. The pain may occur in varying intensities and regions of the body. However, the intensity of the pain and the region where it occurs is not conclusive of how serious the problem can be. In case the patient experiences severe and prolonged pain, he or she should be taken to a doctor for further examination.

Swallowing problems

Swallowing problems — also known as dysphagia — originate in the esophagus. In this situation, the movement of food and liquid from the esophagus to the stomach is blocked. This can happen due to various reasons. The most common among them are ulcers in the food pipe, acid reflux, or constriction of the esophagus by neighboring organs. Health care providers advise that the patient see the doctor without any delay in such instances.

Bloating

Bloating is the condition where the stomach feels swollen and full. The condition arises in the small intestine. This happens when there is a build-up of gas, fluid, or ingestion of small food particles. Bloating can be a result of a larger digestive problem or can occur in isolation.

Diarrhea and constipation

Both diarrhea and constipation are symptoms that the patient might be suffering from a digestive disease. In constipation, the patient passes three or fewer bowel movements in a week. Moreover, the bowel movements are dry, hard, and small. In case of diarrhea, the bowel movements are frequent and watery. Generally, both these symptoms do not indicate a serious condition, but their prolonged existence warrants the attention of a medical practitioner.

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are quite common symptoms of a multitude of diseases. Most of us recognize the signs of nausea — the feeling of discomfort experienced in the stomach before vomiting. Meanwhile, vomiting is defined as the process of undigested food being forced up the esophagus and out of the mouth. Both the conditions warrant medical attention if they persist for a long time.

Weight loss or gain

Weight gain due to no conclusive reason points to indigestion or a metabolism disorder. Moreover, the anomalous weight gain can also be a result of certain medications. Weight loss for no apparent reason can point to serious conditions such as diabetes or cancer.

Incontinence

The loss of bowel control that leads to leaking of feces is known as incontinence. The consumption of certain antibiotics can lead to the temporary development of the condition. Moreover, serious diseases such as the celiac disease can also cause incontinence.

Common Digestive Diseases

Acid reflux

image of GERD - digestive diseases.

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Acid reflux is one of the most common digestive disorders experienced among adults. This is a common condition where the digestive acid flows back up to the food pipe causing a searing pain in the chest area. This movement of acid into the food pipe causes heartburn. Heartburn is nothing but the characteristic pain experienced in the chest area due to acid reflux.

When acid reflux occurs more than two times in a week, it is termed as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). The causes of acid reflux include obesity, smoking, low levels of physical activity, and consumption of medications that include drugs for asthma and anti-depressants.

Celiac disease

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Celiac disease is a disorder that occurs due to a genetic defect. The disease affects one in 100 people and makes the patient prone to long-term health complications. In this condition, the patient is unable to consume and process gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye). The patient’s body produces an immune response on consumption of the protein, which is why it is termed as an autoimmune disease.

The immune response involves attacking the lining of the small intestine. The attack damages the nutrient absorption ability of the intestine and leads to long-term health complications. The long-term health issues that can develop due to celiac disease are diabetes, anemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, lactose intolerance, nervous system disorders, pancreatic insufficiency, intestinal lymphomas, cancer, epilepsy, myopathy, gallbladder malfunction, and many such adverse health complications.

The only treatment for the disease is ensuring a gluten-free diet devoid of food such as beer, bread, and everything that contains wheat, rye, or barley. Failing to do so could severely harm the intestine, and even small amounts of gluten are enough to create a harmful impact.

Crohn’s disease

Crohns Disease diagram

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Crohn’s disease falls into the category of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The condition results in inflammation of the patient’s digestive tract leading to abdominal pain, fatigue, severe diarrhea, malnutrition, and weight loss. The disorder causes inflammation of the lower intestine to the large intestine. The inflammation region can vary in different patients. Other signs that indicate the patient is suffering from Crohn’s disease are fever, mouth ulcers, and blood in the stool.

The conclusive causes of the disease are yet unknown. But according to recent researches, the disease can be due to heredity or an autoimmune response that causes the system to attack the digestive tract. The long-term complications include bowel obstruction, ulcers, cancer, fistulas, malnutrition, and many other health problems. There is no solid cure discovered for the disease. However, with certain medications and therapy, the symptoms can be suppressed. The treatment can further lead to long-term remission from the disease.

Home Remedies to Counter and Prevent Digestive Diseases

By following simple home remedies using easily available ingredients you can keep the digestive diseases at bay. Here are some of the popular remedies:

Ginger

Ginger is used to counter symptoms and effects of digestive diseases

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Ginger aids in digestion by stimulating the flow of digestive juices and enzymes. It proves as an effective measure to counter nausea, vomiting, indigestion, bloating, and diarrhea. Apart from including ginger in the diet, patients can also consume two to three cups of ginger tea a day.

Peppermint

Peppermint used to counter digestive diseases and upset digestive system

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The herb’s carminative and anti-inflammatory nature helps in treating bloating, nausea, and intestinal cramps. Moreover, it accelerates healing of an upset stomach. The affected person can chew on fresh peppermint leaves or mix them with tea. In addition, the patient can opt for peppermint-coated capsules.

Probiotic foods

This category of foods contains good bacteria that aid digestion by restoring the balance of the system naturally. Probiotic foods include Greek yogurt, buttermilk, kimchi, sour pickles, kefir, miso, and sauerkraut.

Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds is used to counter digestive diseases.

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These seeds help counter bloating, heartburn, indigestion, and intestinal spasms. The patient can consume the seeds orally or have its powdered form mixed in hot water. The consumption of these seeds speeds up digestion and prevents complications.

Seeking Care from Digestive Disease Associates

Digestive disease associates around parts of America are organizations that offer the services required for the treatment and diagnosis of digestive diseases and other gastrointestinal problems. These specialists provide the highest level of medical care for digestive disorders. The organizations also offer treatment related to hepatology (liver-related) disorders.

 

Featured Image: CC by CC0, via Pixabay

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