Digestive diseases are a group of illnesses that affect the organs of the digestive system, such as the gastrointestinal tract, gallbladder, liver, and pancreas. Common digestive disorders include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn's Disease, Celiac Disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, cancer, lactose intolerance, and hiatal hernia. These illnesses can range from mild to severe and can make daily life difficult. Chronic diarrhea and constipation are two of the most common digestive disorders.
Chronic diarrhea is generally defined as having more than three bowel movements a day for three weeks or more. Chronic constipation is generally defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week for three weeks or more. The stools may also be hard and difficult to evacuate. The cause of these conditions can be difficult to diagnose and treatment may involve over-the-counter remedies such as stool softeners and fiber supplements, as well as increasing fluid intake and exercising to strengthen the muscles that move stools through the intestines.
Gastroenteritis is another common digestive disorder caused by a viral or bacterial infection in the intestine. Bacterial infections can be caused by E. coli or Salmonella, while viral infections can include rotavirus or norovirus. Hemorrhoids are also very common, affecting about three-quarters of people age 45 and older.
These small, inflamed rectal veins are due to a variety of causes such as straining during bowel movements, family history, or spending too much time sitting on the toilet. They are also very common during pregnancy. Below is an overview of 10 common digestive disorders, including their symptoms, causes, treatments, and prevalence in the United States: 1.Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): If you have heartburn or acid reflux more than a couple of times a week, you may have GERD. This condition affects nearly 15 million adults in the U.
S., approximately 6% of the adult population. Symptoms include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and regurgitation of food or liquid into the mouth. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain foods and eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.
2.Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD): PUD affects nearly 15 million adults in the U.
Symptoms include abdominal pain that is worse when the stomach is empty and relieved by eating food or taking antacids. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain foods and medications that can irritate the stomach lining, as well as antibiotics to treat any underlying infection caused by bacteria such as H. pylori.
3.Stomach Flu: Stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis is an infection of the intestines caused by a virus such as rotavirus or norovirus.
Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and cramps. Treatment may involve drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and taking over-the-counter medications to reduce symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea.
4.Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Non-celiac gluten sensitivity affects around 6% of the population and symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, headaches, and skin rashes after consuming gluten-containing foods such as wheat breads and pastas. Treatment involves avoiding gluten-containing foods and taking supplements to replace any nutrients lost due to avoiding gluten-containing foods.
5.Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): IBD includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and affects about 3 million people in the U. S. Symptoms include abdominal pain, bloody stools, fatigue, weight loss, fever, and loss of appetite. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain foods that can aggravate symptoms as well as medications to reduce inflammation in the intestines.
6.Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): IBS is a group of symptoms including abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements that occur at least three times a month for three consecutive months. The cause is unknown but thought to be related to brain-gut interaction (the way the brain and gut work together). Treatment may involve lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain foods that can aggravate symptoms as well as medications to reduce abdominal pain and bloating.
7.Chronic Constipation: Chronic constipation affects about 63 million people in the U.
Symptoms include infrequent bowel movements (less than three per week) or hard stools that are difficult to pass. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes such as increasing fluid intake and exercising to strengthen muscles that move stools through the intestines as well as over-the-counter remedies such as stool softeners or fiber supplements to increase stool bulkiness and ease passage through the intestines.
8.Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids are common and affect about 1 in 20 people in the U. Symptoms include itching around the anus or rectum area as well as bleeding during bowel movements due to swollen veins in this area caused by straining during bowel movements or spending too much time sitting on the toilet.
Treatment may involve lifestyle changes such as increasing fiber intake to reduce straining during bowel movements or using over-the-counter creams or ointments to reduce itching or swelling around the anus area.
9.Diverticulosis: Diverticulosis affects about 25 million people in the U. Symptoms include abdominal pain due to small pouches that form in weak spots along the walls of your colon which can become inflamed or infected if bacteria get trapped inside them. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes such as increasing fiber intake to reduce straining during bowel movements or taking antibiotics if an infection is present.
10 Gallstones: Gallstones affect about 10 million people in the U. S., with more than 70% of people over 80 years old having them. Symptoms include abdominal pain due to hardened deposits of bile in your gallbladder which can block bile ducts. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes such as reducing fat intake or taking medications to dissolve gallstones.