Both wrong diet and emotional stress affect the digestive health of an individual. This article provides some information on the problems related to the digestive system, as well as a chart with the causes and symptoms of the common digestion problems.
The digestive system extracts the required nutrients from the food we eat. It thus plays an important role in providing energy to the body. Various organs of this system help break down the complex food particles and help release the energy required for the proper functioning of every living cell and tissue. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are referred to as digestive system disorders. Bacterial infections, bad eating habits, wrong diet, lack of exercise, and emotional stress are some of the important causes of these disorders. Increasing incidences of stomach cancer, colon cancer, mouth cancer, etc., are warning signs and highlight the importance of the food one consumes and the life that they lead. Colorectal cancer or cancers of colon, stomach, etc. are not considered as rare diseases of the digestive system anymore. Lifestyle changes are mainly responsible for this. In fact, digestion problems are very common today. The list of some common infectious diseases includes cholera, staphylococcal food poisoning, bacillary dysentery, salmonellosis, etc. Gastritis, rectal prolapse, stomach ulcers, anal fissures, gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying), lactose intolerance, indigestion, dehydration, and hemorrhoids are some other common disorders.
|Acid Reflux Disease (GERD)||Stomach abnormalities like hiatal hernia, pregnancy, excessive smoking, alcohol abuse, being overweight, eating heavy meals, spicy food, excessive consumption of carbonated drinks, caffeine, chocolates, citrus fruits, certain medicines, etc.||Heartburn, regurgitation, bloating, burping, nausea, abdominal pain, stomach discomfort, etc.|
|Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)||Exact cause is unknown||Bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, changes in the normal bowel function, discomfort or pain while defecation, changed appearance of stools, etc.|
|Crohn’s Disease (Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), mostly inflammation of the intestines)||Exact cause is unknown. Certain viral or bacterial infection, heredity, family history, ethnicity, smoking, and use of isotretinoin (to treat acne scars) can increase the risk of Crohn’s disease.||Abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, anemia, fever, etc.|
|Celiac Disease (Gluten intolerance)||A type of autoimmune disease where immune system reacts adversely to gluten in food.||Diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, anemia, etc.|
|Ulcerative colitis (Inflammation of colon, or perforation of colon in serious cases)||Malfunctioning of immune system, heredity, wrong diet||Ulcers, blood in stools, abdominal pain, fever, chills, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting|
|Diverticulitis (Formation and inflammation of pouches on the colon wall)||Exact cause is unknown. Lack of fiber in diet creates strain on muscles. This may cause diverticulitis.||Abdominal pain, discomfort, fever, nausea, gas, bloating, constipation, small amount of blood in stool, diarrhea, etc.|
|Stomach Cancer||Exact cause remains unknown. Obesity, lack of physical activity, certain disorders like helicobactor pylori infection and polyps in stomach, chronic gastritis, anemia, acid reflux, environmental chemicals, molds, fumes, dust, and unhealthy diet, may increase the risk of stomach cancer.||Bloating and fullness, abdominal pain, heartburn, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea/constipation, nausea and vomiting, blood in vomit or stool, etc.|
|Colon cancer||Exact cause is unknown. Wrong diet, colon polyps, heredity, inactivity, alcoholism, excessive smoking, diabetes, obesity, etc. increase the risk of colon cancer.||Feeling of insufficient defecation, change in bowel habit and in stool shape, blood or air in the urine, increased mucus in stool, bowel obstruction, pale skin, fatigue, fever, weight loss, etc.|
It is easy to control and prevent many of the stomach problems by following a healthy, balanced and high-fiber diet, by performing exercises, by knowing one’s family history, and by having regular screenings for various diseases. One can avoid almost all diseases of the digestive system by drinking plenty of water, eating right (natural and healthy) foods, and by exercising regularly. Also, one may take nutritional supplements as suggested by the doctor. It is necessary that one follows the correct methods of food preparation. Last but not the least, leading a stress free life helps improve one’s digestive health.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.