The unpleasant occurrences of stomach troubles in the form of constipation, cramping, gas and diarrhea is one of the most common forms of health hazards which we face every now and then. Physicians usually diagnose these ailments as related to our consumption habits such as food poisoning (1), seasonal bugs such as stomach flu or routine bloating associated with menstruation cycle. Instances of these tummy troubles arising out of the blue are also not rare in which case it becomes essential to consult a physician at the earliest.
Here is some brief information about some of the biggest tummy troubles in people of all age groups:
- Acid reflux (2) causes the acid content in our stomach to leak back into our oesophagus. This can pave the way for a burning sensation in our throat or chest. Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) commonly cause symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation. Both prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can be used for threatening this condition by neutralizing or inhibiting the acid production. Permanent damage to the esophagus might be caused if this condition remains untreated for long.
- Gastritis (3) refers to the swelling of the stomach lining and can be triggered by everything ranging from medications to the formation of carcinogenic cells in our body. The condition might also be of idiopathic nature in extreme cases. Gastritis is known to mimic most of the symptoms brought ahead by GERD. Maybe this is the biggest reason behind gastritis being treated in a similar fashion by administering acid-reducing drugs. Chronic gastritis hurts your stomach lining. It can raise your risk for other health problems such as peptic ulcer disease, gastric polyps, and stomach tumors.
- Peptic ulcer refers to an open sore in the duodenum or stomach and is categorized by common symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, excessive gas, indigestion and pain. Antibiotic drugs are usually prescribed by physicians for combating with the Helicobacter pylori bacterium which is the biggest reason behind most forms of peptic ulcers.
- Crystallization of bile in the gallbladder (4) can trigger the growth of gallstones. These jagged little stones can cause severe pain in the upper abdomen by blocking the bile duct. In extreme cases, physicians are seen resorting to surgical procedures for removal of bigger gallstones.
- Gastroparesis (5) refers to the health condition where our stomach takes a considerable amount of time in emptying its contents into the small intestine. Nausea, vomiting and feeling of fullness are some of the common symptoms of gastroparesis. Physicians may prescribe significant dietary changes accompanied by medications to get relief from the symptoms. This is a common condition in people who’ve had diabetes for a long time, but it may also occur in other situations. Gastroparesis can be misdiagnosed and is sometimes mistaken for an ulcer, heartburn or an allergic reaction.
- The autoimmune Celiac disorder causes our immune system to attack the small intestine on gluten consumption. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction damages your small intestine’s lining and prevents it from absorbing some nutrients (malabsorption). The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating and anemia, and can lead to serious complications. There’s no cure for celiac disease — but for most people, following a strict gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing.
- Lactose intolerance (6) is popular amongst people lacking the requisite enzyme for digesting sugar present in dairy produces. Lactose intolerance happens when your small intestine does not make enough of a digestive enzyme called lactase. Lactase breaks down the lactose in food so your body can absorb it. Bloating of stomach, gas and diarrhea are frequently experienced by people suffering from lactose intolerance on consumption of cheese or milk. Avoiding dairy products in its entirety is the safest treatment method suggested by health experts in such a scenario.
- The super friendly house pets usually shed a lot of hair which travels through the air straight into our food items paving the way for manifold stomach ailments. Since it is impossible to cease the hair shedding process, vacuuming pet hair can serve as a viable alternative in such cases.
There are many other gastrointestinal diseases. Some are discussed, but others are not covered here. Many of these issues can be modified by diet. Instead of three meals a day, enjoy four to five smaller meals and eat them slowly. Taking time to chew food properly makes you feel full, which can help prevent overeating that can cause gas, bloating, heartburn and indigestion.
Tummy troubles might cause your physician to run a series of tests on you for further diagnosis. Many of these conditions can be prevented or minimized by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, practicing good bowel habits and getting screened for cancer.
(1) Mayo Clinic Food Poisoning
(2) Acid Reflux (GER & GERD) in Adults
(3) What is gastritis?
(4) What is the gallbladder?
(5) Gastroparesis Symptoms and Causes
(6) NIH Lactose Intolerance
by Cara Lucas
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