Digestion issues can be inconvenient and embarrassing, minor or life-threatening. Ranging from seemingly simple and small problems like gas, to more complicated and serious issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, problems with your digestive system can disrupt your daily life in ways unlike other conditions. If you are unable to enjoy activities like going out to dinner, having pizza with your family, or simply leaving the house at meal time without fear of an embarrassing accident, Advance Health and Wellness may be able to help diagnosis and treat the underlying cause of your problem as well as the symptoms.
Digestion issues vary but include constipation, diarrhea, “heart burn” or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBR), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). While many of these afflictions come with age, as a result of wear and tear on the digestive track over time, people of all ages can experience them.
The causes of digestive issues can be as simple as food sensitivities and reactions to more complex causes, and they vary depending on your specific issue.
Gastroesophageal or Acid Reflux Disease, or GERD, seems to be the most prevalent of digestive issues. The common name for it is “heart burn”, because it is accompanied by a burning sensation in the esophagus, directly in front of the heart. Adults of all ages and even babies can experience some form of this condition. While food is a typical trigger of acid reflux, there may be other underlying causes that are more difficult to diagnose. One common example of such a cause is a hiatal hernia, which is caused when the upper area of your stomach and lower esophageal sphincter, also known as the LES, come up above your diaphragm. When properly functioning, the diaphragm muscle is responsible for keeping acid within the stomach. However, when you have a hiatal hernia, acid can travel into your esophagus. This may trigger symptoms of acid reflux disease.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are closely related, but are different and require different treatments. Both, however, deal with very sensitive parts of the digestive track and should not go untreated. IBD involves chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, and includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It is usually accompanied by diarrhea, pain, weight loss, and fatigue. In extreme cases, IBD can be debilitating have life-threatening effects.
IBS is a far less serious problem, or a “functional disorder”. The digestive system appears normal and is not inflamed, but does not function properly. This condition affects mostly women. Symptoms include cramps, gas, and mucus in the stool, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. IBS can also be referred to as spastic colon or spastic bowel. Both IBS and IBD can lead to embarrassing situations as they are completely out of your control.
Many times, minor cases of constipation, diarrhea, or heart burn will go away on their own or the symptoms can be treated with over the counter medications. The more serious digestive issues mentioned above require medical help. If you experience chronic cases of any of these conditions, however, there may be treatments available to stop their reoccurrence.