Most people are hesitant to talk about digestive problems, though they are very common. People continue to eat unhealthy diets and live sedentary lifestyles, which can sometimes cause serious gastrointestinal issues over time. Suffering in silence will only worsen the situation and potentially lead to more severe diseases such as cancer.
Here is a comprehensive guide to six prevalent gastrointestinal issues, their symptoms, and treatment.
Gastrointestinal Conditions you Should be Aware of
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
When the sphincter muscle at the lower end of the stomach stops functioning properly, it triggers stomach acid to collect in the food pipe (called the esophagus). This phenomenon is commonly known as reflux. This can cause one to feel a burning sensation in the upper chest area. According to experts, acid reflux generally occurs at night after dinner.
Experiencing acid reflux once in a while is normal, but if it occurs more than twice a week, there is a higher chance you have GERD.
Treatment: To curb GERD naturally, try cutting off beverages and foods that trigger excessive acid buildup and backup. Prescription medicines like antacids or drugs that balance the acid buildup and reduce inflammation in the esophagus can also provide relief from the symptoms.
Ulcerative colitis is a condition that causes the formation of ulcers and inflammation in the digestive tract. It can also damage the inner muscles of the rectum and the large intestine, the symptoms of which may only be noticed over time. This type of inflammatory bowel syndrome can sometimes also lead to more severe health conditions.
Symptoms: Ulcerative colitis can cause diarrhea with pus and blood. Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, weight loss, and rectal pain. If you are noticing heavy blood flow, seek professional medical care or visit an emergency room, such as urgent care Frisco in Texas, for immediate care.
Treatment: Currently, there’s no cure for ulcerative colitis. However, a strict diet and medications can reduce the symptoms. In severe conditions, the colon is removed surgically.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common digestive condition that can affect bowel movements and cause discomfort. The signs of IBS vary but can range from loose stools on one day to constipation on another. If you are experiencing stomach pain more than three times a month, IBS is a likely cause.
Symptoms: Abdominal cramping is the most common symptom of IBS. Some other symptoms are constipation, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Treatment: The treatment for IBS symptoms includes a high-fiber diet with low-fat food items and no trigger foods like coffee, soft drinks, alcohol, and dairy products.
An anal fissure is a small cleft-like structure in the moist tissue that lines the anus. A complicated bowel movement, like passing hard and huge stools, can cause tears in the inner lining. They generally cause discomfort and bleeding with the bowel movement. In some cases, people may also experience spasms at the end of the anus.
Symptoms: This digestive condition can cause severe pain in the abdomen and bleeding during bowel movements. The pain can sometimes even last several hours with light bleeding. There might be a crack in the skin near the anus that might appear like a skin tag.
Treatment: To help control this condition, doctors recommend including high-fiber food items in your diet and to consult a gastroenterologist for prescription drugs. An MRI is the best imaging option for preoperative examination of anal fissures. Search for radiology services at Frisco ER to find nearby centers to have an MRI done.
Almost 1 percent of healthy Americans suffer from celiac disease—that means almost 3 million people in the United States—and because of the symptoms, many may be completely unaware they have it. This disease causes a severe sensitivity or allergy to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in rye, barley, and wheat flour.
Consuming gluten can cause severe damage to the immune system of a person with celiac disease. It also harms the finger-like projections in the small intestine, obstructing nutrient absorption from the food.
Symptoms: Children might experience abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and bloating along with weight loss. In adults, the symptoms might extend to depression, low bone density, anemia, and, in some cases, seizures.
Treatment: Avoiding gluten is the only cure for this disease. Opt for gluten-free food items like soy flour, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, and corn flour.
Have you ever noticed blood spots in the toilet bowl after having a bowel movement? Bright red blood in your toilet can be a sign of hemorrhoids. This is a common digestive issue that makes the end of the digestive tract inflamed and itchy. It is caused most commonly by a low-fiber diet, chronic constipation, and diarrhea.
Symptoms: Hemorrhoids can make bowel movements painful along with light bleeding. It also causes discomfort in the anus while sitting.
Treatment: Eat fiber-rich food and exercise regularly. Drink plenty of water to regulate bowel movements.
If you face any prolonged digestive issues, seek professional help, and don’t shy away from discussing your bowel movements for better analysis and treatment. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, indulge in healthy foods to prevent gastrointestinal conditions.