Disorder of the digestive tract or the gastrointestinal tract (GI) is known as digestive problem. Gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, liver gallbladder forms the digestive system which helps us digest food. Digestion is of prime importance as it helps our body to grow, repair and use energy by breaking down the food into nutrients. Digestive disorders can be short time, chronic or long-running. Let’s read on to some common digestive problems and their solutions.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): This is a condition when the acid reflux backs up to the esophagus in the body forming a burning sensation in the middle chest. It usually occur post intake of meal or during night. If not treated on time, this can lead to severe damage of the esophagus. Lifestyle changes, eating smaller meals, less spicy food, antacids and acid blockers can help manage this problem. In case of severe GERD issue, the doctor may advise surgery as well.
Gallstones: These are hard deposits in the gallbladder in form of stones. The waste is the bile or too much cholesterol in body leads to gallstones formation. In case the gallbladder doesn’t get emptied properly, it can also lead to stone formation. When the duct connecting the gallbladder and the intestine is blocked by the bladder stone it causes pain in the abdomen. The doctor may prescribe medicines to dissolve the deposits but in severe cases surgery or removal of the gall bladder is the only option.
Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity: Sensitivity to gluten- a protein found in rye, wheat and barley, is known as celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body starts attacking its own tissue when we eat food rich in gluten. Whereas, being sensitive or intolerance to gluten is a condition when you experience stomach bloating or abdominal pain when you consume gluten products. The symptoms of both the problems are similar. Gluten intolerance is short term issue as compared to celiac disease. The solution to both the problem is completely avoiding gluten products and opts for alternatives like brown rice, lentils, quinoa, etc.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Experiencing irritable digestive tract and stomach pain several times in a month and for consecutively three months is a sign that you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS can occur in combination with diarrhea and constipation. The reason of this syndrome is unknown but this can be managed through controlled and better diet. For instance, consuming low fat diet, fresh fruits and vegetables, fibre rich food and probiotics can help control this problem.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Sustained inflammation in the digestive tract is known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are two common reasons for IBD. Both of the diseases are autoimmune disease which indicates abnormal immune system reaction. Crohn’s disease causes abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, fever and weight loss. Ulcerative colitis causes, diarrhea, blood in stool, stomach cramps, affecting colon and rectum. The doctor may recommend medication or surgery depending on the severity of the disease.
Hemorrhoids: A painful and swollen blood vessel in the canal of the anal is known as hemorrhoids. Experiencing red blood post bowel movement and itchiness indicates hemorrhoids symptom. Pregnancy, diarrhea and constipation can usually lead to hemorrhoids. Intake of fibre rich food and plenty fluids can help treat this condition.
Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD) and Gastritis: Formation or sore in the lining of the stomach is known as peptic ulcer. Irritation, inflammation and erosion of the stomach lining are known as gastritis. The symptom of both the disease is similar like- nausea and abdominal pain. The bacteria H. pylori and overuse of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are common causes for PUD and gastritis. The doctor can advise antibiotics, antacids and proton pump inhibitors to treat PUD and gastritis.
Tips to Manage Digestive Disorders
- Consume high fibre diet like whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, grains, etc.
- Get both insoluble fibre known as roughage and soluble fibre for a healthy digestive system. Oat bran, legumes, nuts and seeds are source of soluble fibre whereas wheat bran, whole grains and vegetables provide insoluble fibre.
- Consume both probiotics and prebiotics.
- Opt for lean meats for source of proteins.
- Don’t skip meals and eat on time.
- Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.
- Exercise regularly. Manage stress.
- Cut on caffeine and alcohol consumption. Quit smoking or lower your per day cigarette consumption.