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Digestive system diseases

The majority of people don’t want to talk about it, but having an intestinal problem is common. There’s no need to suffer in silence. Here’s a top-to-bottom take a look at nine of the most common digestive conditions, their symptoms, and the most effective treatments readily available.

Author:Daniel James
Reviewer:Karan Emery
Jan 22, 2021
The majority of people don’t want to talk about it, but having an intestinal problem is common. There’s no need to suffer in silence. Here’s a top-to-bottom take a look at nine of the most common digestive conditions, their symptoms, and the most effective treatments readily available. If you suspect you might have one of these problems, do not postpone in speaking with your doctor.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

When stomach acid backs up into your esophagus – a condition called acid reflux – you may feel a burning pain in the middle of your chest. It often occurs after meals or at night, says Neville Bamji, MD, a clinical trainer of medication at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a gastroenterologist with New York Gastroenterology Associates.
While it’s common for people to experience acid reflux and heartburn once in a while, having symptoms that affect your daily life or happen at least two times every week might be a sign of GERD, a chronic digestive disease that impacts 20 percent of Americans, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). If you experience persistent heartburn, bad breath, tooth disintegration, nausea, pain in your chest or upper part of your abdomen, or have difficulty swallowing or breathing, see your doctor.
Many people discover relief by avoiding the foods and drinks that activate their symptoms and/or by taking over the counter antacids or other medications that reduce stomach acid production and inflammation of the esophagus. However some cases of GERD need stronger treatment, such as medication or surgery which causes chronic stomach ache.


Gallstones are tough deposits that form in your gallbladder – a little, pear-shaped sack that stores and produces bile for digestion. More than 25 million people in the United States have gallstones, with almost one million new cases of gallstone disease detected every year – approximately one-quarter which require treatment, inning accordance with the American Gastroenterological Association. Gallstones can form when there’s too much cholesterol or waste in your bile, or if your gallbladder does not empty effectively.
When gallstones obstruct the ducts leading from your gallbladder to your intestines, they can cause sharp pain in your upper-right abdomen. Medications in some cases dissolve gallstones, but if that does not work, the next action is surgery to get rid of the gallbladder.

Celiac Disease

An estimated 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease, inning accordance with Beyond Celiac, formerly the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. The group likewise approximates that 83 percent of people who have celiac disease don’t know they have it, or have been misdiagnosed with a different condition.
Celiac disease is a serious sensitivity to gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Eat gluten, and your immune system goes on the attack: It harms your villi, the finger-like protrusions in your small intestines that help you take in nutrients from the foods you eat. Symptoms of celiac disease in children consist of abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and weight-loss. Symptoms in adults can also consist of anemia, tiredness, bone loss, depression, and seizures.
Yet some people may not have any symptoms. The only treatment for celiac disease is to entirely prevent eating gluten. Common alternatives to gluten consist of brown rice, quinoa, lentils, soy flour, corn flour, and amaranth.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease becomes part of a group of gastrointestinal conditions called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Crohn’s most typically affects the terminal ileum, which links the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon, but it can affect any part of the digestive tract. As numerous as 780,000 Americans might be impacted by Crohn’s, inning accordance with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (CCFA).
Medical professionals aren’t sure what causes the disease, but it’s thought that genes and family history may play a part. The most common Crohn’s symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight-loss, and fever. “Treatment depends upon the symptoms and can include topical painkiller, immunosuppressants, and surgery,” Dr. Bamji says.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is another inflammatory bowel disease that may impact as lots of as 907,000 Americans, inning accordance with the CCFA. The symptoms of ulcerative colitis are extremely similar to those of Crohn’s, but the part of the digestion tract affected is entirely the large intestine, likewise referred to as the colon.
If your body immune system mistakes food or other materials for intruders, sores or ulcers establish in the colon’s lining. If you experience regular and immediate defecation, pain with diarrhea, blood in your stool, or abdominal cramps, visit your doctor.
Medication can suppress the inflammation, and eliminating foods that cause discomfort might assist too. In severe cases, treatment for ulcerative colitis might involve surgery to get rid of the colon.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Is your gastrointestinal tract irritable? Do you have stomach pain or pain a minimum of three times a month for a number of months? It could be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), another typical digestive condition.
An estimated 10 to 15 percent of people around the world struggle with irritable bowel syndrome, and of that portion in between 25 and 45 million people reside in the United States, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Signs of IBS can differ extensively: You can be constipated or have diarrhea, or have hard, dry stools on one day and loose watery stools on another. Bloating is likewise a symptom of IBS.
What causes IBS isn’t understood, however treatment of symptoms centers largely on diet, such as eating low-fat, high-fiber meals or avoiding common trigger foods (dairy items, alcohol, caffeine, sweetening agents, and foods that produce gas).
Friendly bacteria, such as the probiotics found in live yogurt, might also help you feel better. Stress can trigger IBS symptoms, so some people find cognitive-behavioral therapy or low-dose antidepressants to be beneficial treatments, also.


Bright red blood in the toilet bowl when you move your bowels could be a sign of hemorrhoids, which is a typical condition. In fact, 75 percent of Americans over age 45 have hemorrhoids, according to the NIDDK.
Hemorrhoids are an inflammation of the blood vessels at the end of your digestion tract. They can be painful and itchy. Causes consist of chronic constipation, diarrhea, straining during defecation, and a lack of fiber in your diet.
Treat hemorrhoids by eating more fiber, consuming more water, and exercising. Non-prescription creams and suppositories might provide temporary relief of hemorrhoid symptoms. See your doctor if at-home treatments don’t assist; sometimes a hemorrhoidectomy is needed to get rid of hemorrhoids surgically.


Small pouches called diverticula can form anywhere there are weak points in the lining of your digestion system, but they are most commonly found in the colon.
If you have diverticula but no symptoms, the condition is called diverticulosis, which is quite common amongst older adults and rarely causes problems. But if the pouches become irritated, it’s called diverticulitis. Symptoms consist of fever and abdominal pain. Obesity is a major risk element for diverticulitis.
Moderate diverticulitis is treated with antibiotics and a clear liquid diet so your colon can heal. A low-fiber diet could be the cause of diverticulitis, so your doctor may direct you to eat a diet high in fiber – whole grains, legumes, vegetables – as part of your treatment.
If you have severe attacks that recur often, you might need surgery to eliminate the unhealthy part of your colon.

Anal Fissure

Anal fissures are small, oval-shaped tears in the lining of the very end of your digestion tract called your rectum. The symptoms are similar to those of hemorrhoids, such as bleeding and pain after moving your bowels. Straining and tough defecation can cause cracks, however so can soft stools and diarrhea.
A high-fiber diet that makes your stool well formed and large is frequently the best treatment for this common digestive condition. Medications to unwind the anal sphincter muscles, along with topical anesthetics and sitz baths, can alleviate pain; however, chronic cracks might need surgery of the anal sphincter muscle.
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Daniel James

Daniel James

Daniel James is a distinguished gerontologist, author, and professional coach known for his expertise in health and aging. With degrees from Georgia Tech and UCLA, including a diploma in gerontology from the University of Boston, Daniel brings over 15 years of experience to his work. His credentials also include a Professional Coaching Certification, enhancing his credibility in personal development and well-being. In his free time, Daniel is an avid runner and tennis player, passionate about fitness, wellness, and staying active. His commitment to improving lives through health education and coaching reflects his passion and dedication in both professional and personal endeavors.
Karan Emery

Karan Emery

Karan Emery, an accomplished researcher and leader in health sciences, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals, brings over two decades of experience to the table. Holding a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Stanford University, Karan's credentials underscore her authority in the field. With a track record of groundbreaking research and numerous peer-reviewed publications in prestigious journals, Karan's expertise is widely recognized in the scientific community. Her writing style is characterized by its clarity and meticulous attention to detail, making complex scientific concepts accessible to a broad audience. Apart from her professional endeavors, Karan enjoys cooking, learning about different cultures and languages, watching documentaries, and visiting historical landmarks. Committed to advancing knowledge and improving health outcomes, Karan Emery continues to make significant contributions to the fields of health, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.
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