• Shruti GOCHHWAL

10 FAQ’s About Digestive Diseases

What are Digestive Diseases?

The conditions which are associated with the digestive tract are known as digestive diseases. The digestive tract includes the following:

  1. Oesophagus

  2. Small intestine

  3. Large intestine

  4. Stomach

  5. Liver

  6. Pancreas

  7. Gallbladder

What are the Warning Signs of Digestive Disorders?

The manifestation of various digestive disorders often begins with similar symptoms. The following are warning signs of digestive disorders:

  1. Stomachache

  2. Constipation

  3. Diarrhoea

  4. Heartburn

  5. Constant Bloating

  6. Nausea

  7. Vomiting

  8. Difficulty in swallowing food

  9. Change in body weight

  10. Increase in frequency of released gas

  11. Irregular bowel movements

What are the Types of Digestive Diseases?

Digestive diseases can be classified into two main types.

Functional Disorders

These are the types of disorders in which the functioning of the digestive tract is impaired. They are common conditions which are triggered due to upsetting of the GI tract.

Examples of functional disorders are:

  1. Irritable bowel syndrome

  2. Constipation

Structural Disorders

In these conditions, the structure of the digestive system is compromised and shows abnormalities. These diseases often require corrective procedures to fix the abnormality.

The following are examples of structural disorders:

  1. Haemorrhoids

  2. Anal fissures

  3. Perianal abscess

  4. Anal Fistula

  5. Diverticulitis

Can Stomach Ulcers be Caused by Eating Spicy Food?

No, stomach ulcers cannot be caused by eating spicy food. There is a common myth that eating spics food can cause stomach ulcers.

The symptoms of already present stomach ulcers can be aggravated and observed due to the ingestion of spicy food but they cannot be caused by it.

Most stomach ulcers are caused by infections or are drug-induced.

Can Smoking Help in Treating Heartburn and Other Digestive Conditions?

 A person smoking.

Credits: Pexels

Caption: Smoking does not help in treating any digestive disorder.

Alt text: A person smoking.

No, smoking does not help in treating heartburn or any other digestive condition. Smoking makes heartburn worse. Heartburn is caused when a muscle called LES which is present between the oesophagus and the stomach relaxes.  This results in acidic content going back the oesophagus causing heartburn.

Smoking has a relaxing effect on the LES and can increase heartburn.

What are the Causes of Constipation?

Constipation is a condition in which the frequency of bowel movements is less than 3 times a week. It is characterized by bowel movements which are hard to pass.

The range of normal frequency bowel movements varies largely between 3 times a day to 3 times a week. This large range is considered normal.

Constipation is caused by the following:

  1. Improper Diet

  2. Not drinking enough water

  3. Travelling

  4. Changes in routine

  5. Pregnancy

: A woman with a suitcase.

Credits: Pexels

Caption: Travelling often results in constipation.

Alt Text: A woman with a suitcase.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a digestive disorder which affects the intestine. It is fairly common in women between the ages of 30 and 50 years. The exact cause of this disorder is not known and the diagnosis is made based on symptoms.

The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include:

  1. Mucus containing stools

  2. Constipation

  3. Diarrhoea

  4. Cramps

  5. Bloating

What Does the Medical Procedure Endoscopy do?

Endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure which is performed to diagnose digestive diseases. It is a non-surgical procedure in which a camera is inserted into the body through the mouth.

The camera is very small in size and sends back images which are used for diagnostic purposes.

Only go through this procedure if your doctor recommends it.

How Can Digestive Disorders be Prevented?

The prevention of digestive diseases can be done by maintaining a proper diet. A proper diet which is good for digestive health should focus on the following:

  1. High Fiber intake

  2. Consuming frequent meals

  3. High water intake

  4. Maintain body nutrition

In addition to food intake, getting regular exercise is also helpful.

A man drinking water.

Credits: Pexels

Caption: Drinking plenty of water helps in preventing digestive diseases.

Alt Text: A man drinking water.

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer or colorectal cancer is a type of cancer in which a malignant tumour is formed on the inner wall of the large intestine. It is a common form of cancer.

Initially, cancer does not show any symptoms but detection at an early stage is important as it increases the chances of effective treatment. It can be detected by a procedure called colonoscopy. It is recommended to get regular colonoscopies above the age of 50.

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