10 Common Digestive Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Digestive disorders encompass a variety of illnesses ranging from mild to severe such as GERD PUD Stomach Flu Celiac Disease Ulcerative Colitis IBS Chronic Constipation Gallstones Hemorrhoids & Diverticulosis/Diverticulitis.

10 Common Digestive Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Digestive disorders encompass a variety of illnesses that range from mild to severe. While it's common for people to experience acid reflux and heartburn from time to time, having symptoms that affect daily life or that occur at least twice a week could be a sign of GERD, a chronic digestive disease that affects 20 percent of Americans, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Common digestive disorders include gastroesophageal reflux disease, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, and hiatal hernia. Read on for an overview of 10 common digestive disorders, including their symptoms, causes, treatments, and prevalence in the United States.Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)If you have heartburn or acid reflux more than a couple of times a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

GERD is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or bile flows back into the esophagus. Symptoms include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and a sour taste in the mouth. Treatment options include lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain foods and eating smaller meals more frequently. Medications such as antacids and proton pump inhibitors can also help reduce symptoms.Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD)Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a condition in which sores form in the lining of the stomach or small intestine.

PUD affects nearly 15 million adults in the U. S., that's approximately 6% of the adult population. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Treatment options include medications to reduce stomach acid and antibiotics to treat bacterial infections.Stomach FluStomach flu or, more precisely, viral gastroenteritis is an infection of the intestines.

Some common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and cramps. Although commonly used, the term “stomach flu” is not medically accurate. The virus affects the intestines, not the stomach, and the “flu virus” doesn't cause it. Norovirus is the most common cause of stomach flu.

It causes 19 to 21 million cases of viral gastroenteritis each year in the U. S.Celiac DiseaseAn estimated 1 in 133 Americans (approximately 1 percent of the population) has celiac disease, according to Beyond Celiac (formerly the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness). The group also estimates that more than 80 percent of people with celiac disease don't know they have it or have been misdiagnosed with a different condition. The only treatment for celiac disease is to completely avoid eating gluten.

Common alternatives to gluten include brown rice, quinoa, lentils, soy flour, cornmeal, and amaranth.Ulcerative ColitisUlcerative colitis is another inflammatory bowel disease that can affect up to 907,000 Americans, according to the CCFA. The symptoms of ulcerative colitis are very similar to those of Crohn's disease, but the part of the digestive tract affected is only the large intestine, also known as the colon. Medications can suppress inflammation and can also help eliminate foods that cause discomfort. In severe cases, treatment for ulcerative colitis may include surgery to remove the colon.Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)About 10 to 15 percent of people around the world suffer from IBS, and of that percentage, up to 45 million people with IBS live in the United States according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

The signs of irritable bowel syndrome can vary widely from having hard dry stools one day to loose watery stools the next day. Symptoms may include bloating diarrhea constipation and mucus in the stool.Chronic ConstipationAbout 12% of people in the U. S. suffer from chronic constipation which affects about 63 million people in total.

Common causes of constipation include dehydration not getting enough fiber in the diet and certain medications and health problems that can slow down the digestive system.GallstonesGallstones are hard deposits that form in the gallbladder a small pear-shaped sac that stores and secretes bile for digestion. According to the American Gastroenterological Association nearly a million Americans are found to have gallstones every year. Gallstones can form when there is too much cholesterol or waste in the bile or if the gallbladder doesn't empty properly. When gallstones block the ducts that lead from the gallbladder to the intestines they can cause sharp pain in the upper right part of the abdomen.

Sometimes medications dissolve gallstones but if that doesn't work surgery to remove the gallbladder is the next step.HemorrhoidsBright red blood in the toilet bowl when you defecate could be a sign of hemorrhoids which is a very common condition. In fact 75 percent of Americans over 45 years old have hemorrhoids according to NIDDK.Diverticulosis/DiverticulitisHowever in about 5 percent of people these bags become inflamed or infected a condition called diverticulitis Symptoms include fever chills nausea and abdominal pain Obesity is a major risk factor for diverticulitis..

Tammy Maxon
Tammy Maxon

Award-winning travel maven. Certified travel specialist. Extreme beer fan. Lifelong coffee buff. Award-winning internet evangelist. Typical music practitioner.

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