GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease is also defined as chronic acid reflux. The condition is characterized by moving upwards or regurgitation of stomach acids towards the esophagus. It results in burning sensation in stomach, chest (heartburn) and the throat. The mouth tastes sour. The most common reason behind GERD is- abnormal relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter which prevents stomach acids from travelling upwards.
The medical terminology for chronic indigestion is dyspepsia. Many people suffer from dyspepsia due to bad eating habits- eating spicy foods or gas causing foods, over eating, lack of exercise etc. When food is not digested properly inside the stomach, it gives rise to bloating, gas, bowel problems, belching, acidity, abdominal pain and many other symptoms.
Diarrhea and constipation
Diarrhea and constipation are very common. In case of diarrhea, the patient passes watery stool while constipation means hardening or impaction of stool that leads to great deal of straining while trying to pass bowel. In both cases, the consistency and frequency of bowel is altered and there may be blood in stool as well.
Peptic ulcers refer to the sores that develop either in the stomach or the duodenum. The former is known as gastric or stomach ulcers and the latter duodenal ulcers. The main causative agent behind peptic ulcer is: Helicobacter pylori, which infected the stomach and intestine.
Risk factors for peptic ulcer are: smoking, consumption of unhealthy foods, stress, bowel disorders, etc.
Gallstones occur in the gallbladder and the most common reason is- presence of too much cholesterol in the bile. The symptoms of gallstones are intense pain in upper abdomen and upper back along with nausea and vomiting and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
Hemorrhoids and Fissures
Hemorrhoids and Fissures complications are present in the anus. The former is characterized by swelling and bulging of the blood vessels present in the anus while the latter marks development of tears in the rectum, due to severe constipation in most cases.
Hemorrhoids are two types internal and external. Other anal disorders are perianal abscesses, pilonidal cyst, proctitis and rectal prolapse.
The symptoms of such rectal complications include presence of lump in anus, anal pain will defecating, bleeding from rectum, etc.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS occurs more often in women. It occurs due to change in function of the gastrointestinal tract. The consistency of the stool determines the type of IBS the individual is suffering from. It could be IBS with constipation or diarrhea. Other complications associated with IBS are bowel incontinence, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, etc.
Diverticula refer to those pouches that tend to form in the lining of the intestine, especially in the large intestine. When these pouches get inflamed or infected the condition is known as diverticulitis. The characteristic symptom of diverticulitis is intense pain in left side of the stomach and tenderness.
Colitis is the inflammation of the colon. There are different types of colitis such as
Inflammatory bowel disease: Inflammatory bowel disease or IBD is a autoimmune disease marked by chronic inflammation of the entire gastrointestinal tract. Individuals with IBD will have ulcerative colitis - chronic inflammation of the colon or Crohn’s disease or both.
Infectious colitis (clostridium difficile colitis)
Ischemic colitis (it is a vascular disease due to not enough blood is going to colon)
Radiation colitis (This is due to radiation therapy)
Symptoms of colitis are abdominal pain, blood in the stool, diarrhea with urgency, bloating
Note: Apart from this, there are several other complications in the gastrointestinal tract like Barrett’s esophagus, celiac disease, enteritis, etc. The bottom line is- do not neglect if you are experiencing symptoms of acidity, indigestion, nausea, bloating, bowel irregularity, etc. because they pose a major threat to your health down the line if not managed early.
Date last updated: Novemeber 10, 2014