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: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

A gastrointestinal disease is a health problem that messes with your stomach and intestines, which are the parts inside you from your mouth to your rear end. A scientific study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that many people in the United States often experience stomach and digestive problems. In fact, almost two out of every three Americans say they have some kind of gastrointestinal issue.[1]

There are a variety of gastrointestinal disease conditions. Some usual gastrointestinal issues are irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, tummy troubles, colon cancer, and painful swollen veins in your backside called hemorrhoids.

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:

  • Not drinking enough water – Inadequate water intake can affect health and hydration.
  • Feeling stressed – Stress involves feelings of worry, anxiety, or pressure, which can impact the body.
  • Eating a diet low in fiber – A diet lacking in fiber means not getting enough of the beneficial elements found in foods like fruits and vegetables that aid digestion.
  • Consuming dairy products – This refers to the consumption of items like milk, cheese, or yogurt.
  • Not being physically active – Inactivity means not moving around or engaging in regular exercise.
  • Growing older – This is a natural part of the life cycle
  • Living an unhealthy lifestyle – This involves engaging in behaviors that are detrimental to the body, such as eating unhealthy foods or neglecting sleep

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:

  • Resting and staying hydrated: This means getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids to help your body recover.
  • Trying the BRAT diet : BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods are gentle on your stomach and can be helpful when you’re not feeling well. Avoid dairy, greasy, and spicy foods because they can upset your stomach. A research study published in the Emergency Medicine News Journal found that the BRAT diet isn’t backed by strong scientific evidence, and it’s not the best choice for dealing with gastrointestinal problems. Instead, eating a balanced diet is a smarter way to help your stomach feel better.[2]
  • Using non-prescription medicines: You can take over-the-counter medications, like laxatives, if you’re constipated.
  • Seeing a doctor: If you see a medical provider, they might give you medicines to relieve symptoms like nausea and help you rehydrate. In some cases, they might even give you anti-nausea drugs or fluids through an IV.

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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. You may include some whole food dietary supplements like Balance Of Nature that are designed to promote your gut health. Start appreciating fruits and vegetables so that your digestive system becomes healthier.

An article published by the Harvard Health Publishing suggested that to maintain a healthy digestive system, it’s important to do a few things like avoid smoking, stay at a healthy weight, eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet, get regular exercise a few times a week, and find ways to lower stress levels.[3] 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.

You can also maintain your intestinal health by using an intestine health product such as IntestinePro. Also, combine a healthy diet and regular exercise to reap the maximum benefits.


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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Jayson Hunter, RD, CSCS

Jayson Hunter is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCS) for the past 19 years specia