Many people are embarrassed by their digestive problem and continue to suffer in silence; however, the CDC reports that more than 32 million visits each year are due to digestive issues. In addition to this, over 8 million emergency room visits are caused by digestive problems. This article will address the eight most common digestive problems and what you can do to relieve your symptoms and heal the digestive tract.
1. Reflux –Reflux is one of the most common digestive complaints. The symptoms of reflux include burping, bloating, nausea, sore throat, heartburn and acid rising up your throat. This digestive disturbance occurs when your lower esophageal sphincter does not completely close or opens too soon and allows stomach acid to travel up the esophagus, resulting in heartburn. If reflux is not addressed, the stomach acid can erode the esophagus and increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
2. Ulcers – If you suffer from unexplained stomach pain, it could be a peptic ulcer. WebMD reports that one in ten Americans will experience a peptic ulcer during their lives. Ulcers occur when holes form in the lining of the stomach or upper section of the small intestine due to excess or long-term use of anti-inflammatory pain medications or a H. pylori infection. This break in the lining allows enzymes and stomach acid to come in contact with the stomach, causing stomach pain, nausea, heartburn, bloating, fullness and intolerance to fatty foods. If an ulcer is not properly treated, excess bleeding, anemia and stomach cancer can occur.
3. Gallstones – Gallstones are either made up of cholesterol or bilirubin. The stones can cause pain if they block a bile duct. The risk of developing a gallstone increases if you are obese, take certain medications like hormone replacement therapy, cholesterol reducing medications or birth control pills, are pregnant, have diabetes, lose weight too quickly or have a family member who suffers from gallstones. Gallstones can cause a number of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, indigestion, heartburn and pain in the upper back and abdomen that lasts for hours.
4. IBS – Irritable bowel syndrome affects your large intestine and can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and cramping. Although this condition can be painful and embarrassing, IBS does not increase the risk of cancer or cause changes in your bowel tissues. Medical researchers have not determined the exact cause of this disease; however, they believe that inflammation in the intestines, changes in the gut microbiome, severe infections or abnormalities within the nervous system, resulting in stronger or weaker intestinal contractions can cause IBS.
5. Diverticulitis – Diverticulitis causes pouches to form on the walls of the colon. When these pouches become infected or inflamed, you may experience stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, fever and chills. It is believed that low-fiber diets may increase the likelihood of developing diverticulitis. When you do not consume enough fiber, stools become harder to pass, which can cause the formation of weak spot in the colon. Once a weak spot forms, bacteria can begin to multiply, leading to an infection or inflammation.
6. Inflammatory bowel disease – occurs when the immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract. This can lead to a number of painful symptoms, including abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, anemia, weight loss and diarrhea. The two most common types of inflammatory bowel disease are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease can affect any area in the GI tract, while ulcerative colitis is typically restrained to the rectum and colon.
7. Pancreatitis – The pancreas releases digestive enzymes to help digest food and insulin to regulate glucose levels in the body. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas is inflamed. One of the common causes of pancreatitis is the activation of digestive enzymes in the pancreas rather than the small intestine. Sufferers often experience upper abdominal pain when eating fatty foods, fever, abdominal swelling, nausea, fever, vomiting and weight loss due to malabsorption of foods.
8. Food intolerances – Food intolerances occur when you become hypersensitive to foods. They are different from food allergies. When you have a food allergy, your immune system activates, resulting in hives, swelling, dizziness, breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness and even death. Food intolerances, on the other hand, affect the digestive system. When you suffer from intolerances, you are unable to break down foods, resulting in stomach ache, migraine, cough, bloating, hives and malaise.
Digestive issues abound throughout America. One of the best ways to relieve digestive issues is to address the GI tract to help support digestion and elimination by balancing the microbiome. By detoxifying the body and reducing inflammation in the digestive tract, you can improve and prevent digestive problems.