Digestive problems are anything but uncommon these days, and while some of them have a genetic component and some people are more predisposed to developing certain diseases of the digestive or gastrointestinal tract, others experience these problems simply because of their poor or unhealthy diet. Although digestive problems rarely pose a serious health threat, they can be very bothersome and even painful at times. That being said, here you will find 3 digestive problems to watch for, along with their most common signs and symptoms:
1. IBD Or Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Currently ranked as one of the most common digestive diseases in the world, the Inflammatory Bowel Disease affects millions of people worldwide. It often happens that people live with IBD for years before they are diagnosed, simply because the symptoms are considered common, thus being overlooked by most of us. However, if you experience repeated diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss or abdominal kind, it is highly recommended to see a professional who will perform a physical examination and order a series of test to determine whether you truly suffer from IBD.
In spite of its high occurrence rate, IBD is relatively difficult to diagnose and it is often mistaken for an infection of the gastrointestinal tract or appendicitis. Two of the most common Inflammatory Bowel Diseases are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, the latter being particularly dangerous as it can lead to infection and blockage of the intestinal wall that may require extensive surgery.
Fortunately, if diagnosed quickly, IBD is relatively easy to manage and to keep under control, although it requires rigorous and regular medical check-ups. That being said, your health care provider may recommend you a combination of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) along with immunosuppressants that will prevent your immune system (the body’s natural defense mechanism) from attacking the gastrointestinal tract, as this is what often leads to the onset of IBD. On the other hand, in cases of severe Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the health care practitioner may recommend surgery to treat the ulcerative colitis by removing a part of the colon. In this case, the patient needs to wear a pouch designed to collect the waste, and it can be worn either internally or externally.
2. Acid Reflux Disease
Another very common and bothersome digestive problem that you should watch out for is the acid reflux disease. Fortunately, this one is very easy to recognize,as heartburn is its main symptom. Approximately one person is ten is affected by GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and if the condition is not managed properly, it can lead to the onset of esophageal cancer due to the repeated burns of the esophagus, caused by the acid.
The treatment of acid reflux typically includes a series of prescription drugs and diet changes, as your doctor will recommend you to avoid highly acidic or spicy foods that can trigger heartburn, as well as alcohol. Drugs designed to reduce the acid levels in the stomach are often prescribed, and the most severe cases of GERD often require surgery. During the surgical procedure, the doctor tightens the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach, thus preventing the acid from going up into the esophagus and causing heartburn. This type of surgery is often performed laparoscopically, which means that the scars are minimal, the risk for side effects or adverse reactions after the surgery is lowered and the downtime is significantly reduced as well.
3. Celiac Disease
Last, but not least, another common digestive problem that everybody should watch for is celiac disease. Statistically speaking, one American out of 100 suffers from celiac disease, which is both a digestive and an autoimmune disorder. In a nutshell, those who suffer from it cannot process gluten, which is a protein found in wheat or rye, because a digestive enzyme is missing from their digestive system. Ingesting gluten can lead to severe pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, all these symptoms being triggered by the “attack” that occurs in the small intestine, the place where the gluten is supposed to be processed. Fortunately, celiac disease can be easily diagnosed based on stool samples and blood test, and the disease can be kept under control without too much effort by simply removing all the products that contain gluten from your diet.