Although it’s not something most people like to talk about, digestive disorders are extremely common and affect a large portion of the population. Abdominal pain is a symptom associated with many different ailments.
If you find yourself suffering from digestive trouble, here is a breakdown of some of the most common digestive disorders and symptoms to help you better understand what might be going on.
1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Anyone who has felt a burning pain in the middle of their chest understands the discomfort of GERD. Often occurring after meals or at night, this is a condition when stomach acid backs up in your esophagus, a phenomenon called acid reflux. While most people are likely to experience acid reflux or heartburn from time to time, GERD is a chronic addition that affects the sufferer’s daily life and occurs frequently.
Avoiding trigger foods and beverages is enough for some people to eliminate the problem, while some will require antacids, and the most serious cases could need prescription medication or even surgery.
2. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease has gotten a lot of press in recent years with the rise in popularity of the gluten free diet and lifestyle. Unfortunately for those who actually do suffer from the disease, being celiac is a lot more serious than the desire to avoid consuming too much gluten. It is an extreme sensitivity that can send the entire immune system into attack mode.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, meaning that for those with celiac disease, a lot of foods are off the table. Although the severity of symptoms varies, generally they include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and weight loss. The only way to avoid experiencing these unpleasant symptoms is to avoid gluten all together and find alternatives instead.
As the name implies, gallstones are solid stone-like deposits that form in the gallbladder. The gallbladder serves the important function of storing and secreting bile for digestion, so it is a problem when this small, pear-shaped sack is blocked. Generally, they form when there is an excess of cholesterol or waste in the bile passing through, preventing the gallbladder from emptying properly. Sometimes medications work to dissolve the gallstones, but in more serious cases, a surgical removal is necessary.
4. Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease can form in any part of the digestive tract and is part of a group of digestive conditions called inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s most commonly affects the terminal ileum, which connects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon, but it can affect any part of the digestive tract.
Although doctors are still not sure exactly what cases the disease, it is commonly believed that generic and family history probably play a role. Symptoms can vary from abdominal pain to fever and therefore the treatment methods depend on each situation.
5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
It is estimated that somewhere between 10 to 15 percent of the world’s population suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. If you feel like you have a irritable digestive tract, or experience discomfort in your stomach several times a month, irritable bowel syndrome could very likely be the culprit. Although what cases IBS remains a mystery, treatment generally focuses on controlling diet.
Suggested regimes center on low-fat, high-fiber meals and the avoidance of foods which have been found to trigger symptoms, such as dairy products, alcohol, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners. Probiotics, or the friendly bacteria found in yogurt, can also alleviate symptoms and help the digestive system function more efficiently.