The digestive system consists of organs which work together to produce enzymes. These organs are salivary glands, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, large intestines, and rectum. Accessory digestive organs are liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Each organ has its own function to follow for example ingestion and secretion. The enzymes break down protein, fats and carbohydrates into basic nutrients to provide energy and food in the entire body. The rest of the substances evacuate from the body through the process of defecation.
There are many factors which cause digestion problems such as viral infection, bacterial infection, inflammation, stress, muscle dysfunction. Sometimes digestion problems occur when digestive system cannot tolerate certain foods that we eat in daily life like eating too much junk-food, eating the food of which you are allergic to, overeating of fatty foods or eating food which has less fiber in it. These factors can lead to long-lasting and serious damages if left untreated. Below are some of the prevalent digestive disorders, their cause, and symptoms.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal concerns with stomach and esophagus whereas reflux means to flow back or return. All together gastro-esophageal reflux refers to the return of the stomach’s contents back up into the esophagus. This occurs when lower esophageal sphincter (the ring of the muscle) weakens or relaxes inappropriately which then allows the stomach’s contents to flow up into the esophagus. Heartburns in the middle of your chest and acidity in the stomach are the main symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
- Peptic Ulcer Disease
Ulcers are painful sores on the inside of stomach lining or the first part of small intestines which is called duodenum. Stomach ulcers usually occur when the thick layer of mucus which protects the stomach is reduced by digestive juices and acids by damaging the tissues that line the stomach, causing an ulcer. Things that can lead to ulcers are smoking, stress, spicy foods, long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs or other medical problems such as kidneys, liver and lung diseases. Symptoms may include burning or pain in the stomach during meals, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite and sometimes bloating.
Gallstones are the formation of solid material inside the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small sack that stores and produces bile for digestion. Gallstones are further divided into two kinds, cholesterol stones and pigment stones. Cholesterol stones are undissolved cholesterol with other components often appears yellow in color. On the other hand, pigment stones form when the bile contains an excessive amount of bilirubin in it. Gallstones formation occur when bile contains too much cholesterol and bilirubin or when the gallbladder doesn’t empty properly. According to doctors, the symptoms include pain in the back between shoulder blades or in the right shoulder, pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen.
- Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a digestive disorder which activates by gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains wheat, barley, and rye. There are some people who have problems with food that contain gluten. If a person has this disease and still consumes food containing gluten, the immune system of that person goes on the attack. It damages the villi, tiny finger-like structures in small intestines that helps in absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. Doctors are trying to find the cause of this disease. Symptoms of celiac disease include gas, diarrhea or constipation, changes in the bowel movement, fatigue, vomiting, abdominal pain and depression.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS is a common digestive disorder that affects the large intestines. It is a belly discomfort like gas or pain which causes either diarrhea or constipation for twice a month or for several months. This disease is not life threatening like colon cancers and ulcerative colitis but it can be a long lasting problem depending on diet and routine of a person. Patients with IBS have a different kind of stools depending on what they eat. Their stools can be sometimes hard, thin, soft or liquid. Doctors have divided IBS disease into four categories, IBS with constipation (IBS-C), IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D), IBS with mixed conditions (IBS-M) and IBS-U. Symptoms of IBS can vary widely comprising stress, depression, cramps or pain in belly, constipation, flatulence, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and a belly that sticks out.
The swollen veins in the lowest part of our body’s rectum and anus are known as hemorrhoids. The walls of rectum and anus, these blood vessels stretch so thin that the vein swell-out and gets irritated. Sometimes the most common causes of rectal bleeding are hemorrhoids. Swollen hemorrhoids are also called piles. They can either be internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids can be less painful as they are far enough inside where sensing nerves are less and the only thing it can cause is bleeding through which you can indicate it. External hemorrhoids can be the most painful and irritating ones. They bulge out under the skin around the anus causing severe pain and bleeding. Causes of hemorrhoids include diarrhea, severe constipation, less fiber in diet and straining during a bowel movement. Symptoms are irritation, itching around the anus, fecal leakage and blood in the stool.
Diverticula are small pouches that can form in the lining of digestive system but especially in the wall of the colon. If a person has diverticula with no symptoms then this condition is called diverticulosis which is quite a common disease but if the pouches become infected or inflamed then it is called diverticulitis. Doctors think the main cause of this is less fiber in the diet because if there is no fiber in fluids. Ultimately, the colon has to work harder than normal which creates pressure to push the stool forward. This pressure results in forming pouches in weak spots along the colon. Diverticulitis symptoms can last from hours to a week. This may include fever and chills, gas and bloating, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and the most common symptom is belly pain usually on the lower left side which gets worse when you move.