Eight Common Digestive Problems
Everybody experiences digestive problems from time to time, but not everyone feels comfortable with discussing them. In 2009, there were 51 million visits to American physician offices, hospital outpatient and emergency departments with digestive disorders as the primary diagnosis, according to the Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC).
This evidence suggests that digestive disorders are steadily becoming a problem. Below are eight of the most common digestive disorders many Americans experience.
Symptoms of reflux, such as heartburn, are among the most common of the digestive difficulties. In 2004, approximately 20 percent of Americans reported reflux symptoms that have occurred at least weekly. Frequent symptoms may indicate a person has gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
Heartburn is defined as a burning sensation in your chest, just behind your breastbone. “It may be accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth, hypersalivation, or even finding food or fluid in the mouth,” said Michael Gold, a gastroenterologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.
Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside lining of your esophagus, stomach and upper portion of your small intestine. According to the CDC, over 25 million Americans will suffer from an ulcer at one time in their lives. The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is abdominal pain.
Every year, nearly 1 million Americans are diagnosed with gallstones. Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluids, which are primarily made of cholesterol and bile salts. Only 25 percent of people with gallstones will require treatment.
Gallstones can vary in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. Some people may develop only one gallstone, while others may develop multiple gallstones at one time.
Lactose intolerance, also known as lactose deficiency, is caused by a person’s inability to digest the milk sugar (lactose) in dairy products. Between 30 and 50 million Americans are lactose intolerant, with the majority affected being African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Native Americans.
Though symptoms are not deadly, they can be uncomfortable. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include cramping, bloating, gas, nausea and diarrhea.
Diverticulitis occurs when small, bulging pouches, called diverticula, form in your digestive system such as in your esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. Diverticula are common in people 40 and older, yet only 20 percent will experience complications.
Diverticulitis can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, fever and a change in bowel habits.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) involves inflammation of part or all of your digestive tract. Two of the most common inflammatory bowel diseases are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis causes long-lasting inflammation in part of your digestive tract, usually in the innermost lining of your colon and rectum. Symptoms usually develop over time rather than suddenly.
Crohn’s disease causes inflammation anywhere along the lining of the digestive tract and spreads deeply into affected tissues. Symptoms involve abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and even malnutrition. The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of a person’s digestive tract in different people.
About one percent of the U.S. population has Celiac disease, which is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include abdominal pain, bloating, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, constipation and pale, foul-smelling or fatty stools.
According to the Mayo Clinic, constipation is described as having less than three bowel movements a week. Occasional constipation is common, but some people experience chronic constipation and may have difficulty going about their daily routine. Signs of chronic constipation include fewer than three stools passed weekly, lumpy or hard stools and straining to have bowel movements.
At Health Concerns, we have a variety of formulas that can help you treat a variety of symptoms for your digestive problems. These formulas include: