Gastrointestinal disorders have significant economic and social impact on our society. After heart disease, acute gastroenteritis is a leading cause of death worldwide. Gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is a long tube extending from the mouth to the anus with some specialized regions. The main function of GIT is the absorption of food and other nutrients. It serves as a boundary between the body and external environment.
The GIT has a vital function of digestion and absorption of essential nutrients that are needed for the growth and overall development of a human body. Keeping your stomach healthy is the most important task needed for happy and disease free life. Always eat a balanced diet and chew each and every bite completely. Take frequent meals after every 2 hours. Lack of physical activity, an increase of work pressure has contributed a lot to causing various GIT disorders. Do regular workout, jogging and meditation to keep control over your stress. The stomach has an ample amount of bacteria in it some of them are bad, and the rest of them are beneficial.
Types of GI diseases and their causes:
Here are a few common GI diseases or health issues:
1. Constipation: It is a condition in which there is difficulty in passing a stool. This happens due to infrequent bowel movements. It is the most common gastrointestinal problem faced by almost every individual. This is not a disease; it is a symptom if kept untreated for the longer period can cause various serious conditions such as anal fissures and piles.
2. Diarrhoea: It is a condition in which there is the recurrent evacuation of loose, watery stools. Diarrhoea is not a dangerous condition but if persists for a longer time could be a sign of a severe disease such as irritable bowel syndrome. There are loads of factors that lead to diarrhoea some of them are:
a. Food poisoning b. Bacterial infections of stomach and small intestine c. Cancer drugs d. Alcohol, overuse of purgatives and other intestinal diseases.
3. IBS: Irritable bowel syndrome as the name suggests is an abnormal intestinal activity that is accompanied by the cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. One in every five men and women has Irritable bowel syndrome according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. There are various factors that stimulate this condition some of them are:
• Hypersensitivity of stomach • Hormonal changes during menstrual period • Stress and tension intensify the condition • Intake of alcohol, food items such as fried food and certain
4. Reflux: also known as acid reflux or heartburn. This problem usually involves a burning sensation or hot feeling that starts in the centre of the abdomen area and moves into the chest. There are various causes of heartburn including pregnancy, certain medications, alcohol and certain food items.
Some common signs that indicate that a stomach problem are:
• Abdominal pain and bloating • Hard and dry stools • Nausea • Heartburn • Abdominal cramps • Burping • Bloating • Weight loss etc.
The complications of the disease of stomach may occur, if the condition become chronic, and the complications may include, peptic ulcers, bleeding, MALT lymphoma, weight loss, weakness, dehydration renal problems and cancer of stomach etc.
You can prevent many stomach issues if you follow a healthy lifestyle habits like:
• Eating small foods at a time • Having more fibre in your diet • Having germ-free food • Consuming lesser portion of food during a meal • Maintain hand and utensil cleanliness • Consuming sterilized water
Myths and facts:
Myth: Bowel regularity means having a bowel movement every day
Fact: there is no set pattern, a person having three bowel movements a day can be normal, or it might be an abnormal condition also. It is to be feared only when the frequency increases along with the changes in the consistency of stool also.
Myth: rectal bleeding is normal
Fact: rectal bleeding is not always serious, but you should visit and consult your doctor, as the seriousness may involve haemorrhoids and colorectal cancer also.
Here is the list of common drugs that are used to treat stomach health issues:
• Voveran • NS Aid • Omez • Nexpro • Lanzol • Razo • Izra • Zobid etc.
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Diagnosis of the stomach trouble or a gastrointestinal problem is done via a few test such as:
• Blood tests • Stool sample tests • Intestinal biopsy • Physical test • Medical test • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD or upper endoscopy) • Upper GI is a series of X-rays etc.
All these tests are required to confirm the presence of any stomach ailment.
For the gastric problems depends upon the kind of problem that the person is facing. Each of the problems has to be dealt differently, and it is very important to take the drugs and treatment options as suggested by the doctor.
The treatment option for various problems are as mentioned below:
• Gastritis- Medicines and Surgery • Constipation- Emollient laxatives, Enemas and Saline laxatives • Peptic ulcers- Antibiotics, Proton pump inhibitors(PPI), Bismuth (the main ingredient in Pepto-Bismol) • Irritable bowel syndrome- medicines and dietary changes • Lactose Intolerance: avoiding lactose-containing products etc.
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Steps to improve life:
Follow the steps given below to make you life smoother after getting a stomach ailment:
• Include more vegetables in your diet • Drink plenty amount of water each day • Increase your fibre intake slowly • Avoid caffeinated drinks • Include fibre by eating fibrous fruit like apple or a banana etc. • Add leguminous food items in your diet
Important things to know:
Probiotics help in raising the levels of good bacteria in your stomach. Common GIT disorders are Constipation, Infectious diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome and Helicobacter pylori infections. So, include specific probiotic in your diet to avoid any of the given stomach problems.