GIT disorders include things like GERD, diarrhea, and colorectal cancer. Some disorders exhibit symptoms despite the GI system appearing to be healthy upon examination. There are apparent GI tract anomalies as well as symptoms of other disorders. The majority of gastric problems are treatable or preventable.
What exactly are digestive diseases?
GI disorders affect the GI tract, which extends from the mouth to the anus. There are two: structural and functional. Examples include diarrhea, lactose intolerance, food poisoning, and nausea/vomiting.
What exactly are functional digestive diseases?
Functional illnesses are those in which the GI tract seems normal under the microscope but is dysfunctional in motion. The GI tract is frequently affected by these issues (including the colon and rectum). Examples include diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea, food poisoning, gas, bloating, and GERD.
Your GI tract’s motility, or capacity to keep moving, may be affected by a variety of circumstances, including:
- Consuming a fiber-poor diet.
- Not working out enough.
- Traveling or making other normal changes.
- Consuming a lot of dairy products.
- Putting off the urge to go to the bathroom, perhaps due to hemorrhoids.
- Overusing anti-diarrheal drugs that, over time, reduce the motility of the bowel motions.
- Taking aluminum or calcium-containing antacids.
- Take specific medications (especially antidepressants, iron pills, and strong pain medicines such as narcotics).
What are gastrointestinal structural diseases?
When you have structural gastrointestinal illnesses, your intestine not only functions improperly but also seems strange to the naked eye. Sometimes surgery is required to correct the structural defect. Strictures, stenosis, hemorrhoids, diverticular disease, colon polyps, colon cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease are typical instances of structural GI illnesses.
Constipation is a functional issue that makes it difficult for you to pass stools, or have regular bowel movements (less than three times per week). Constipation is typically brought on by insufficient “roughage” or fiber in your diet, a change in your regular schedule or diet, or both.
When you go to the bathroom, you have to struggle because of constipation. Small, firm stools and occasionally anal issues like fissures and hemorrhoids might result from it. Rarely is constipation an indication of a more serious medical issue?
Constipation can be treated by:
Adding more fiber and water to your diet will help.
Regular exercise and gradually increase your workout intensity.
When you feel the desire, move your bowels (resisting the urge causes constipation).
Laxatives can be added if these treatments don’t work. Keep in mind that you should make sure your colon cancer screenings are current. Always heed your healthcare provider’s recommendations as well as the directions on the laxative medication.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
A functional disorder known as irritable bowel syndrome (also known as spastic colon, irritable colon, IBS, or nervous stomach) causes your colon muscle to contract more or less frequently than “normal.” IBS may be brought on by certain meals, medications, and emotional stress, among other things.
IBS symptoms include:
- Cramping and soreness in the abdomen.
- Extra gas.
- Changes in bowel patterns, such as unusually hard, loose, or urgent feces.
- Diarrhea and constipation back and forth.
Treatment consists of:
- Limiting your caffeine intake.
- Adding more fiber to your diet
- Tracking the items that cause IBS symptoms (and avoiding these foods).
- Reducing stress or discovering new coping mechanisms.
- Take prescription medications as directed by your doctor.
- Preventing dehydration and maintaining adequate fluids all day.
- Getting a good night’s sleep.
Vascular illness with dilated veins in the anal canal is hemorrhoids. The blood vessels that line your anal entrance are enlarged. They are brought on by long-term excess pressure from bowel movement straining, recurrent diarrhea, or pregnancy. Hemorrhoids come in internal and exterior varieties.
Blood vessels inside your anal entrance are internal hemorrhoids. They get inflamed and begin to bleed when they strain and drop into the anus. Internal hemorrhoids may eventually descend to the point where they prolapse (sink or stick) out of the anus.
Treatment consists of:
Enhancing bowel motions (such as avoiding constipation, not straining during bowel movements, and moving your bowels when you have the urge).
The vessels are removed by your healthcare provider using ligating bands.
Your healthcare provider performs a surgical removal. Only a small percentage of persons with extremely big, painful, and chronic hemorrhoids require surgery.
Veins that are barely under the skin on the outside of the anus are known as external hemorrhoids. The external hemorrhoidal veins might rupture as a result of tension, and a blood clot can develop beneath the skin. The term “pile” refers to this excruciating condition.
Under local anesthetic, the clot and vein can be removed, as well as the hemorrhoid itself.
Another structural condition is anal fissures. The lining of your anal orifice has breaks or fissures in it. The passage of extremely hard or wet feces is the most frequent cause of an anal fissure. The underlying muscles that regulate the movement of feces through the anus and out of the body are exposed by the gap in the anal lining. One of the most unpleasant conditions is an anal fissure because the exposed muscles become inflamed from exposure to air or feces, which causes severe searing pain, bleeding, or spasms following bowel movements.
Anal fissures can be treated with sitz baths, painkillers, and dietary fiber to prevent the formation of large, bulky stools (sitting in a few inches of warm water). The sphincter muscle may need to be repaired surgically if these therapies are ineffective at reducing your pain.
When the tiny anal glands that open inside of your anus become blocked, the bacteria that is constantly present in these glands produces an infection, which can lead to perianal abscesses, another structural illness. An abscess arises when pus forms. The abscess is normally drained at the doctor’s office while the patient is under local anesthetic.
An irregular tube-like pathway from the anal canal to a hole in the skin near the orifice of your anus is called an anal fistula, another structural disorder that frequently occurs after drainage of an abscess. Itching and irritation are brought on by bodily wastes that are channeled into your anal canal and out through the skin. A fistula can also bleed, hurt, and drain. Surgery is frequently required to drain the abscess and “seal off” the fistula because they rarely heal on their own.
Further perioral infections
In some cases, such as in this structural condition, the skin glands next to your anus become infected and need to be drained. At the back of the pelvis, abscesses that have a small tuft of hair can develop right behind the anus (called a pilonidal cyst).
Anal warts, herpes, AIDS, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are examples of STDs that can harm the anus.
A diverticular condition
The development of small protrusions (diverticula) in the muscular wall of the large intestine that develop in weak spots of the colon is known as diverticulosis, a structural disorder. The sigmoid colon, a high-pressure region of the bottom large intestine, is where they typically develop.
Diverticular illness is particularly prevalent in Western societies, where it affects 10% of adults over 40 and 50% of people over 60. Too little roughage (fiber) in the diet is a common contributor to it. Diverticulitis can occasionally progress from diverticulosis.
10% of persons with outpouchings develop complications from diverticular disease. They consist of bleeding, blockage, and infection or inflammation (diverticulitis). Constipation must be treated as part of diverticulitis treatment, and if it is extremely severe, antibiotics may also be prescribed. In cases of severe difficulties, surgery is required to remove the affected, diseased portion of the colon.
Both cancer and colon polyps
The second most frequent type of cancer in the US, colorectal cancer, is diagnosed in 130,000 Americans every year. Fortunately, colorectal cancer is one of the most treatable types of the disease thanks to improvements in early identification and treatment. It is feasible to prevent, detect, and cure the condition long before symptoms show up by employing a range of screening tests.
Why screening is crucial
Polyps, benign (non-cancerous) growths in the tissues lining your colon and rectum, are the precursors of almost all colorectal malignancies. When these polyps expand, aberrant cells form, and begin to infiltrate the surrounding tissue, and cancer occurs. Colorectal cancer can be avoided by having polyps removed. Almost all precancerous polyps can be surgically removed without any pain by utilizing a colonoscopy, a flexible, illuminated tube. The body can become infected with colorectal cancer if it is not discovered in its early stages. Complex surgical procedures are needed for further advanced cancer.
The majority of early forms of colorectal cancer are asymptomatic, making screening particularly crucial. Cancer may be extremely advanced when symptoms do appear. A change in regular bowel movements, a narrowing of the stool, abdominal pain, weight loss, or persistent fatigue is all signs of the condition.
One of four methods is typically used to identify cases of colorectal cancer:
By starting at age 45 to test persons who are at average risk for colorectal cancer.
By testing those who are more susceptible to colorectal cancer (for example, those with a family history or a personal history of colon polyps or cancer).
By checking the gut in symptomatic patients.
An accidental discovery was made during a checkup.
The best hope for a cure is early discovery.
There are various forms of colitis, which are illnesses that result in intestinal inflammation. These consist of:
- Bacterial colitis
- Inflammatory colitis (cause unknown).
- Crohn’s illness (cause unknown).
- Hemorrhagic colitis (caused by not enough blood going to the colon).
- Rheumatoid colitis (after radiotherapy).
Diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps, and urgency are symptoms of colitis (frequent and immediate need to empty the bowels). The diagnosis, which is made by colonoscopy and biopsy, determines the course of treatment.
Can digestive illnesses be avoided?
By leading a healthy lifestyle, following excellent bowel habits, and getting examined for cancer, one can prevent or reduce the risk of developing several diseases of the colon and rectum.
At age 45, a colonoscopy is advised for those with an average level of risk. A colonoscopy may be advised at a younger age if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps. A colonoscopy is typically advised for people 10 years younger than the affected family member. (For instance, you should start screening at age 35 if your brother was diagnosed with colon cancer or polyps at age 45.)
You should see your doctor straight away if you experience colorectal cancer symptoms. Typical signs include:
- A variation in regular bowel movements.
- Blood that is either bright or black on or in the stool.
- Unusual gas or abdominal aches.
- Extremely narrow stool
- A sensation that after passing stool, the bowels are still partially empty.
- Unaccounted-for weight loss
- Anemia (low blood count).
Further stomach disorders
There are other further gastrointestinal conditions. Others are not covered here, while some are discussed. Other structural and functional conditions include hepatitis, peptic ulcer disease, gastritis, gastroenteritis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, gallstones, fecal incontinence, lactose intolerance, Hirsch sprung disease, abdominal adhesions, Barrett’s esophagus, appendicitis, indigestion (dyspepsia), intestinal pseudo-obstruction, and pancreatitis