Digestive diseases can be painful and hard to figure out, but figuring out a proper diagnosis can be important for several reasons. You want to make sure that whatever is happening in your body is not causing damage that may be irreversible. You also want to make sure you treat your body well so that you can achieve optimum performance levels. Digestive diseases can cause issues like bloating, cramping, and reduce mental cognition. Diagnosing the underlying causes can help you not only manage these symptoms better but potentially even eliminate them completely. This article will walk you through a basic description of some of the most common digestive diseases and what some possible treatment plans look like. It's important to note that you should always confirm a diagnosis with your doctor prior to forming your own treatment plan to ensure your safety and make sure that you don't cause further damage within your body.
Types of Digestive Diseases
1. Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where your body attacks itself with the ingestion of gluten-containing products. This can be things like wheat, barley and rye. Occasionally oats are included in the list of foods to avoid due to cross-contamination in the field where they are grown. The body attacks in the area of the small intestine, where tiny projections called villi are located. These villi are responsible for helping your body absorb nutrients from food, but in those suffering from celiac disease, they are slowly destroyed. This makes it harder for the person to absorb nutrients and can lead to several vitamin deficiencies and secondary issues. Luckily, the treatment plan is very simple. You will need to abstain from eating gluten-containing foods for the rest of your life. This means being diligent about reading food labels and choosing substitutes for many of your typical grain products. While many people claim to have Celiac disease, very few actually do.
GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. It can be a painful condition that includes projectile vomiting and heartburn. This is a disease very commonly seen in infants but can present itself at other ages as well. For babies, the cause is almost exclusively an underdeveloped sphincter that remains closed to keep food and stomach acids contained within the stomach after meals. In other patients, the sphincter can weaken with age, or the abdominal pressure on the sphincter can become too great and force it open. This is true in cases of obesity or pregnancy. This condition can be managed in a relatively easy manner, but there are still some things you should be sure to watch for. Certain precautions are usually followed after meals, such as remaining upright for thirty minutes after eating and sleeping with the head of the bed elevated. This helps the food remain in the stomach while it passes into the intestines. It is also advisable to try eating smaller, more frequent meals to help decrease the amount of pressure on the sphincters from the stomach into the esophagus. Lastly, if vomiting occurs, be sure to position the person upright with the head turned to the side to prevent a choking hazard.
3. Gastrointestinal Ulcers
Ulcers can be caused by two main categories of issues. The first is an excess amount of acid. This can happen due to eating too many acidic foods (caffeine, spicy foods) or it can be due to an infection from bacteria. As the bacteria grows it will produce more acid in your stomach and can lead to an ulcer. Additionally, stress and surgery can also produce more acid conditions in your body and lead to an ulcer. The other option is that there is a decreased amount of the buffering chemicals that line your stomach. This allows the acid that is present naturally to reach tissues and cause damage. Treatment options include medications that can provide a stronger coating to your stomach and avoiding foods that contain high amounts of acid. Your doctor may also recommend medication to reduce the amount of acid your body produces.
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