Our body’s digestive system does a lot of work, and such a complex network of body organs is very much vulnerable to a variety of diseases. These gastrointestinal disorders range from indigestion, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, food poisoning to stomach, pancreatic and liver cancers.
The Gastrointestinal System
The so-called digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) system is in charge of processing the food and beverage we take, getting the nutrients from them, and discharging their waste products.
The system is composed of the GI tract and other accessory organs. The GI tract is a long tube extending from our mouth all the way up to the anus, encompassing the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and the rectum.
The accessory organs include body organs whose function is to produce and secrete vital digestive enzymes. These organs are the liver, pancreas, and the salivary glands.
The whole GI system plays an important role in getting our body energized and provided with the proper nutrients needed to keep us in good condition.
Gastrointestinal Disorders: Signs and Symptoms
Abdominal Pain. Commonly known as stomach ache or belly pain, this is a common symptom of almost all GI diseases. The abdomen can be found between the chest and the pelvis and covers organs such as the stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney, ureters, small intestine, and some part of the large intestine.
Bleeding. GI bleeding can affect any part of the comprehensive digestive tract. If blood is found in a vomit, it means that the bleeding is coming from the upper part of the GI system. If it is found in the stools, then the bleeding originates from the lower part.
Constipation. If you only have at most three bowel movements in a week, it means that you are constipated. Constipation also refers to bowel movements that are dry and small.
Diarrhea. Contrary to constipation, diarrhea occurs if you experience frequent bowel movements that produce watery stools. Though a person may have this condition from time to time, having chronic diarrhea could mean that something is wrong with your digestive system.
Dysphagia. Dysphagia is the medical term for problems or difficulties in swallowing. It occurs when the food you take experiences difficulty in passing from the mouth through the esophagus, and to the stomach. Doctors recommend that you seek for medical help if this persistently happens.
Nausea and Vomiting. Nausea refers to the painful or uncomfortable sensation in your abdomen or at the back of your throat. Typically, gastrointestinal disorders exhibit this symptom, accompanied by vomiting or emesis. If you feel nauseous and vomit frequently, it’s safest to consult with a doctor.
Weight loss or weight gain. Weight changes that happen for no reason are often a tell-tale sign that your digestive system needs to be diagnosed for any disorder. If you gained weight unexplainably, it could mean that you have a metabolic disorder or you’ve been suffering from poor digestion. If it’s weight loss, it can be attributed to conditions like oral ulcer, diabetes, or worse, even cancer.
Many gastrointestinal disorders can be prevented through maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But in case you are having GI problems, see your physician immediately.