Gastrointestinal Disorders are engulfing a huge ratio of population.
Our digestive system plays a crucial role in our well-being and a minute change in its functionality can affect our life to a great extent. Gastrointestinal diseases are the diseases that develop in the gastrointestinal tract comprising of pancreas, gallbladder, liver, organs of the digestive system, rectum, large intestine, small intestine, stomach and esophagus. Functional gastrointestinal disorder, Irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, anal fissures, anal fistulas, diverticular diseases, perianal abscesses, perianal infections, colon polyps and cancer are some conditions that can be termed as Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases.
Many of us tend to ignore digestive problems thinking that it will go away by the time and we don’t consult doctor until and unless it is hindering our daily activities.
Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder
In this disorder, the gastrointestinal tract does not work properly despite looking normal. This condition affects the colon as well as the rectum. Constipation and Irritable bowel syndrome are two common conditions that develop due to this disorder.
Factors leading to Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder
- Consuming lots of dairy products
- Eating low fiber diet
- Less exercise
- Changes in routine
- Resisting the urge to have bowel movement
- Consumption of antacids
- Frequent use of stool softeners (laxatives)
- High intake of iron pills, pain killers, antidepressants, narcotics
- Do not resist the urge to have bowel movement
- High fiber diet
- Minimize stress
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS is also known as nervous stomach, irritable colon or spastic colon. It is a condition in which the colon muscle contracts in greater intensity than in the normal conditions.
Factors leading to IBS
- Alternating conditions of diarrhea and constipation in an individual
- Excess Gas
- Cramps and abdominal pain
- Looser, harder or more urgent stools than normal.
- Abstinence from Caffeine
- Minimizing Stress
- Increase of Fiber intake
- Avoiding food that triggers IBS
Infrequent (less than thrice a week), incomplete and hard to have a bowel movement can be termed as constipation. There are hard and small stools and anal problems like hemorrhoids and fissures as a result of constipation. Experts suggest not to ignore prolonged constipation problems as it can give rise to many other stomach diseases.
Factors leading to Constipation
- Inadequate fiber in the diet
- Disruptions in the daily routine
- Not enough water intake
- Eating lots of dairy products
- Inactive life
- Overuse of laxatives
- Strong pain relieving medicines
- Regular Exercise
- Increase of fiber in diet
- Never resisting the urge to move bowels as doing so gradually leads to constipation.
The following are some of the common areas where anal disorders develop:
1. Hemorrhoids – The swollen blood vessels that line the anal opening are known as hemorrhoids. Chronic excess pressure during the movement of bowel, persistent diarrhea and pregnancy lead to bleeding of hemorrhoids and pain during bowel movement.
2. External Hemorrhoids – Veins that lie just under the skin at the outer side of the anus is known as external hemorrhoids. Due to straining, sometimes the veins of the external hemorrhoids burst and a blood clot forms under the skin. This leads to pile.
3. Internal Hemorrhoids – These are blood vessels at the inside of the anal opening. As a result of straining, they fall down into the anus and start to bleed. Sometimes they fall down so much that they stick out of the anus.
Common Anal Ailments
1. Anal Fissures – They are the cracks or splits in the lining of the anal opening. Anal fissure are very painful during passing of stool. They occur after extreme hard stools or extreme watery stools.
2. Anal Fistula – This is an abnormal passage-way resembling a tube that connects the anal canal to a hole in the skin which is near the anus opening. They cause bleeding and drainage pain. They require surgery.
3. Perinal Abscesses – When the tiny anal glands that open on the inside of the anus get blocked, there is an infection due to bacteria. An abscess gets formed by the pus that develops by the infection.
Preventive Steps of Anal Disorders:
- Bring improvement in bowel habits like moving bowels only when there is an urge
- Do not strain too much during the bowel movement
- Take steps to avoid constipation
- Surgery under local anesthesia
Cancer is in the large intestine is termed as colon cancer. In many cases colon cancer is accompanied by rectal cancer. Rectal cancer develops in the last few inches of the large intestine. This area is known as rectum. When cancer cells develop in both colon as well as in the rectum, it is termed as colorectal cancer.
Due to advancement in techniques of its early detection and treatment process, this cancer gets detected at an early stage; even prior to eruption of the symptoms.
Color Cancer Symptoms
There is hardly any symptom at the primary stage of the disease. As the cancer advances in stage, the following symptoms develop:
- IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Blood in the stool
- Narrow and loose stools
- Changes in consistency of stool
- Constant urge to defecate
- Pain during movement of bowel
- Pain in the abdomen, bloating, gas or cramps
- Sudden weight loss
According to experts, one should never ignore any of the above symptoms if it is troubling anyone for a long time. It can be initial intestinal cancer symptoms and early detection is always better.
- Maintaining a healthy life style
- Practice of good bowel habits
Colon Cancer Treatment Process
Colonoscopy is done to ascertain the condition. It is a procedure in which inspection of the disease is carried out through insertion of a flexible tube with a camera at one of its end. This tube is inserted into the rectum. This procedure is recommended for people who are more than 50 years of age. They might have to follow a special diet for 24-48 hours before colonoscopy. If there is family history of colorectal cancer, then colonoscopy is recommended at a younger age. Medication and surgery is based on the reports of this screening process.
Diverticulosis is the presence of small diverticula known as outpouchings in the muscular walls of large intestine. Complications in the form of diverticular disease result in inflammation, infection, obstruction and bleeding. Surgery is required in some of the cases.
Factors leading to Diverticular disease
- Very little fiber in the diet
- Less water intake
- Balanced diet, full of fiber
- High water intake
Since digestive system diseases are described as complications that develop in the human digestive tract; gastroenterological diseases and digestive system disorders are interconnected health conditions. Good food habits, balanced diet and exercise can help in keeping digestive disorders at bay.
Gastroenterology is a subsidiary of internal medicine. Best gastroenterologist in india is a medical practitioner who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the stomach, small and large intestine, esophagus and bilary system. They should be consulted if the patient is suffering from following:
- Unusual abdominal pain
- Unusual gas pain
- Constant feeling that bowel has not emptied completely even after passing stool regularly
- Blood on /in stool
- Change in bowel habits
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