The digestive system plays a crucial role in processing the food and drink we consume to fuel the body and in dealing the waste by-products.
Because the process of digestion is complex and involves a lot of vital organs, minor problems occur inevitably. Once this happens, the proper functioning of the digestive system is severely affected.
Don’t ignore the signs of digestive problems that include the following:
1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD
For many adults, heartburn is a sporadic problem that will greatly affect your diet and eating habits. Characterized by high levels of stomach acids, it causes chest pain and a feeling of burning sensation.
The progression of heartburn will result in a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, a disease that has the potential of damaging the esophagus.
Symptoms of GERD include:
- chest discomfort
- difficulty swallowing
- dry cough
- “sour mouth” taste
- sore throat
If you’re suffering with GERD, seek medical help for diagnosis and treatment. Potential treatment usually involves shift in diet, specifically eliminating or cutting back on spicy and fatty foods.
2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
IBD is a disorder that involves chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. It’s of two types: Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
Crohn’s disease is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, and can spread deep into affected tissues.
- Symptoms of the Crohn’s disease include:
- abdominal pain
- weight loss
Caused by a long-lasting inflammation and sores in the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum, ulcerative colitis shares the same symptoms with Crohn’s but can also include the following:
- bloody stools
- rectal pain
Visit a doctor whenever you experience any of these symptoms.
On the other hand, you can eliminate some of these symptoms by cutting back on refined carbohydrates, eating high complex carbohydrate, high fiber intake, more protein, and increasing intake of omega 3 oils.
3. Chronic Constipation
If you suffer from chronic constipation, you might be experiencing pain in every bowel movement, which is accompanied by abdominal pain, bloating, and less regular bowel movements.
Fix this problem by including high fiber foods in your diet and drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Physical exercise for at least 30 to 45 minutes a day is also beneficial.
4. Food Intolerance
You’re having a food intolerance when your body acts weirdly after consuming certain type of foods. An example of food intolerance is the Celiac disease, a type of autoimmune disease that gives problems to your digestive system whenever you eat gluten.
Symptoms of food intolerance are:
- abdominal cramps
You can trace what kind of food that triggers your symptoms by creating a diary of the food that you eat. When you discover the potential intolerance, visit a doctor to rule out the possible food allergy.
5. Other Serious Problems
Other serious problems in the digestive tract include the following symptoms:
- bloody stools
- frequent vomiting (sometimes daily)
- incessant sweating
- severe abdominal cramps
- sudden weight loss
Potential conditions of the symptoms mentioned above include gallstones, hepatitis, infection, or internal bleeding.
Serious symptoms, such as the ones mentioned above, can only be addressed by a Gastroenterologist, a physician who specializes in diseases of the digestive system.
Seek immediate medical attention if you suffer from any of these symptoms.
There’s nothing to worry, though, because most problems in the digestive tract can be overcome by changing your lifestyle, taking supplements, and medication.
Visiting a doctor might only be a one time appointment.