We tend to disturb the proper functioning of our digestive system by consuming food that does not suit our body. In the bargain, we get prone to various intestinal problems, that haunt us throughout our life. This article provide some information about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of the commonly faced intestinal problems.
Civilization has changed man forever. It started off, with the primitive man’s instinct for survival and now it is all about, the civilized man’s effort to elude infections. Nevertheless, the human body is known for its superiority over other forms of living beings. This has been conveniently turned into a garbage dump, merely to be infested with bacteria and viruses which has over a period of time abused our body to the extent of no repair. Ignorance prompts man to do things that he regrets later. The food that he eats, turns into poison in his stomach, defeating the very purpose of survival.
The food ingested gets into our alimentary canal which comprises the small and the large intestine. The intestines initiate and complete the process of digestion by breaking down the food, and flushes the system by excreting the waste products. Indigestion of the food is the cause of various intestinal problems. Diarrhea, acidity, constipation, intestinal pain after eating, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal blockage, gas production are some of the digestive problems experienced mostly by all of us. We will talk about some of these problems that are common and affect our day-to-day activities.
Intake of contaminated food or water causes food poisoning and other food-borne illnesses. The presence of microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens can successfully infect the intestines, thereby causing infection, generally referred to as gastroenteritis. The bacteria responsible for outbreak of intestinal infections are Salmonella, Shigella, E.coli, Staphylococcus, Listeria, Campylobacter, Clostridium difficile, and Clostridium perfringens. The toxins of these bacteria travel through the blood stream and cause different symptoms underlying the infection.
There are some intestinal parasites which get into the intestine through various ways; eating uncooked or unwashed foods, contaminated hands or water, and physical contact with larva-infected soil. Once inside the intestine, they populate the gastrointestinal tract and colonize the walls of the intestine. Protozoans and helminth are the major groups of parasites that can cause intestinal problems, leading to infection. The most common protozoans are cryptosporidium and microsporangia.
- Bloody stools
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
Usually, this infection runs its course and subsides by itself. If bloody stool is one of the symptoms, it has to be referred to a doctor immediately. The doctor will ideally, prescribe antibiotics after conducting a physical examination. The bacterial infection can be treated at home by following a liquid diet. Buttermilk, lime juice, ginger tea, and peppermint tea are highly recommended for a person infected with gastroenteritis.
As the name suggests, it is a complete or partial blockage of the intestine that prevents the waste to transit smoothly through the intestinal passage. The causes of this blockage or obstruction can be attributed to mechanical factors like endometriosis, hernia, inflammatory bowel disease, colon atresia, gallstones, tumors, and impacted feces. Pseudo-obstruction is caused by a condition called ileus.
- Fecal vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal distension
Most of the cases of intestinal blockage are treated by operative surgery. To relieve intestinal pain and abdominal distention, a tube is inserted into the stomach through the nose.
Intestinal Gas Problems
The digestive enzymes are unable to break down the food that are rich in carbohydrates. When the undigested carbohydrates enter the large intestine, the microorganisms present act on them to release gases like methane and hydrogen sulfide as by-products. Gases can be introduced into the stomach by gulping excess air while eating. Sometimes gases like carbon dioxide, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen are inhaled into our system. These gases cause discomfort and flatulence, and they can be expelled from the stomach through belching or passing them through the rectum. On a daily basis, a normal person produces 1 to 3 pints of intestinal gas in the large intestine, and expels around 14 times in 24 hours. Increased amount of gas can cause bloating. Usually gases released are odorless. The sulfur produced by some bacteria in the large intestine causes the gas to smell foul.
- Abdominal distension
- Abdominal cramps
- Colic pain
Medications like antacids, simethicone preparation, and enzyme lactase help in relieving intestinal pain and spasm. They can be easily purchased over the counter. Prescription-based medication like metoclopramide helps people with motility disorder. Diet needs to be controlled by limiting the intake of gas-producing foods.
You can save yourself from all these problems by getting acquainted with your digestive system and its functions. Know your body, its strengths and weaknesses. We all are a civilized lot. Civilization not only means refinement of the way you live outside, it also means refinement of the way you live inside.