Gastrointestinal Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Gastrointestinal Disease
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

What is Gastrointestinal Disease?

Do you constantly suffer from heartburn, ulcers, flatulence, and stomach aches? If you are, then it’s time to have yourself checked. You may not think that this is something you need to act on immediately. Well, you’re far from mistaken. If left untreated, the disease could escalate and become even harder to treat*.

Gastrointestinal Disease

There are a variety of gastrointestinal disease conditions. If you’re not eating properly and have noticed that your bowel movement isn’t quite normal, doctors can look into a number of possibilities. The problem could be as simple as indigestion or as deadly as colon cancer. Hence, it’s time that you visit your doctor to have yourself checked for further signs of trouble and to halt the problem in its tracks. The sooner you address the disease, the faster your recovery will be.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Disease?

There are several signs and symptoms you should look for. Among which are the following:

  • Difficulty in stool movement
  • Irregular bowel habits
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Fistula
  • Stomach cramps
  • Flatulence
  • Incontinence
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Diverticulitis

These are only some of the more common signs. However, it’s best that you have yourself regularly checked because some gastrointestinal disease types are asymptomatic. Many have actually discovered that they suffer from a problem they went in for their routine checkup.

What Causes Gastrointestinal Disease?

Doctors have found several reasons for the variety of gastrointestinal diseases. Among which are the following:

  • Poor diet – If you don’t get enough fiber into your diet, thus making it more difficult for you to pass stools
  • Childbirth – The trauma that takes place in your lower abdomen could weaken muscles, create lesions and scars, and cause infections.
  • Chronic Constipation – When you don’t pass through stools regularly, the nerves are required to work extra hard because the stools actually harden over time. The extra strain then damages the nerves and muscles in the area.
  • Genetic Diseases – People who suffer from Crohn’s disease are more prone to suffer from gastrointestinal problems.

How is Gastrointestinal Disease Diagnosed?

Doctors now have a way to diagnose the problem, see the extent of damage, and come up with the most likely solution so that it no longer plagues your body. Of course, the first thing you need to do is set up a meeting with your doctor so that you can discuss your history, the medications you’ve been taking, and the symptoms you’ve experienced.

Before your physician can tell you what the problem is, you’ll be required to go through a series of tests:

  • Ultrasound – A probe can be inserted in your anal area to see if the nerves respond and if there are scar tissues around the area.
  • X-Ray – Taking a picture at the inside of your body. This is especially helpful if you want to spot signs of malformations.
  • MRI – A more in-depth look at the inside of your body.
  • Colonoscopy or Endoscopy – A probe is inserted either through your mouth or via the anus, depending on where the possible problem lies. The camera then takes note of any irregularities in the passage so that the doctor can make the diagnosis.

What are the Treatment Options for Gastrointestinal Disease?

There are so many treatment options to choose from. Again, these will depend on the type of gastrointestinal disease you have. It can be any of the following:

  • Antibiotics – to prevent the infection from spreading
  • Surgery – to remove* the problem or to implant a device that helps your body cope with the disease
  • Diet – Take in foods that give your body the nutrients it needs to fight the disease.

How to Prevent Gastrointestinal Disease?

As they say, prevention is better* than the cure*. A good way to prevent any problem is by changing your diet. Take in foods made by Mother Nature herself. Hence, start appreciating fruits and vegetables so that your digestive system becomes healthier.

Of course, it’s best to go for regular health checkups as well to see if you’re more prone to a number of diseases and to halt any of these in its tracks. Sometimes, you may even reverse* the problem altogether.

Conclusion

In order for you to avoid suffering from a gastrointestinal disease, listen to expert advice. Eat right, exercise regularly, and avoid foods that wreak havoc in your system. This simple change goes a long, long way.

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Author

Expert Author : Lisiana Carter (Consumer Health Digest)

Lisiana Carter has been a freelance health writer for over ten years having written books, blogs and articles. She is the author of a number of websites and teaches people how to enter the freelance writing field.