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Dyspepsia is a disorder of the stomach that is characterized by pain in the upper part of the stomach. It is not a single disorder, but is a collection of symptoms such as nausea, burping and bloating. It results when the acid of the stomach comes in contact with the mucosa of the digestive tract. These acids cause a breakdown of the mucosa leading to inflammation and irritation, which leads to indigestion. It may also result from eating disorders or certain medications.
The symptoms of this disorder tend to occur mostly after consuming food and drink. In some cases, the symptoms tend to go away after eating or drinking. The symptoms of dyspepsia are:
- You may feel bloated on a regular basis
- You may experience discomfort in your stomach
- Loss of appetite
- You may experience constant burping
- You may feel nauseous
- Symptoms of heartburn
- You may also experience chest pain and breathing difficulties
- You may be affected by jaundice
The various causes of dyspepsia are:
- Irritable bowel syndrome, which hampers the movement of food through the intestines
- If you are unable to properly digest dairy products
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that results in reflux of the acids of the stomach
- Any inflammation of the gall bladder
- Various medicines such as aspirin, steroids and antibiotics may lead to dyspepsia
- If you suffer from depression or anxiety then it may lead to dyspepsia
- Excess consumption of chocolate, coffee and alcohol
Dyspepsia may be controlled by modifying your lifestyle. Some of the changes that you may make are:
- Don't sleep immediately after eating, wait for at least two hours before you go to bed
- Avoid spicy foods as they tend to aggravate symptoms of dyspepsia
- Space out your meals, eat multiple smaller meals instead of few large ones
- Restrict smoking and alcohol consumption
- Lose weight as being overweight may lead to dyspepsia
- Avoid wearing tight clothes
- Exercise on a regular basis to keep your body healthy and maintain optimal weight levels
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gastroenterologist.
Colitis is characterized by an inflammation of the large intestine (colon). It is generally caused due to reduced blood supply, autoimmune reactions (wherein the immune system erroneously starts attacking the body’s healthy tissues) and infections in the large intestine.
Symptoms of colitis
1. Presence of blood traces in the stool.
2. Acute colitis can itself be a symptom of hemorrhoids (inflamed and swollen veins in the anus or the rectum)
3. Tenesmus (constant urge to empty the bowels) is also quite common
4. Occurrence of abdominal pain in regular intervals, thus resulting in diarrhea
5. Constant abdominal pain
6. Fever and sudden chills throughout the day
Types of colitis
1. Inflammatory bowel disease: This condition is characterized by inflammation of the intestines or all the parts of one’s digestive tract
2. Microscopic colitis: This involves inflammation of the large intestine (colon), resulting in a cramping sensation that can be painful
3. Chemical colitis: This condition is caused due to prolonged exposure to certain harsh chemicals which results in intestinal swelling and inflammation
4. Ischemic colitis: The most common form of colitis, this occurs mainly due to an insufficient blood supply to the large intestine
5. Infectious colitis: Caused due to certain bacterial or parasitic infections
Treatment for colitis
1. Medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be recommended to ease the pain
2. The drug ‘Loperamide’ can control the diarrhea. However, this should not be consumed if there is presence of blood in the stool
3. Colitis reduces your appetite. Thus, it is important to maintain a healthy diet in this regard. Avoid consuming dairy products or high fiber foods because they further inflame the large intestine.
4. Colectomy (surgically removing a part of the whole of the colon) is recommended in the most severe of cases. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gastroenterologist.
One of the more severe illnesses included in the larger group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn's disease is typically a long-lasting, chronic condition. The intestine or bowel, most commonly the colon and the lower part of the small intestine, are either marked by sores or get inflamed and ulcerated. It is a common occurrence in adolescents and in young adults.
Crohn's disease is subdivided into five types, each having its own set of symptoms:
1. Ileocolitis: The most common type, it affects the colon and the ileum and results in considerable weight loss as well as diarrhea and cramps.
2. Gastroduodenal crohn's disease: People who suffer from this type of disease have their stomach and duodenum affected and many experience symptoms like nausea, loss of appetite and weight loss.
3. Crohn's colitis: This involves only the stomach, and can cause joint pains, rectal bleeding, skin lesions and diarrheas,
4. Ileitis: This type affects the ileum and the symptoms are identical to those of ileocolitis.
5. Jejunoileitis: In this type, the jejunum gets affected and general symptoms include the formation of fistulas, diarrhea, intensive back pain as well as areas of inflammation.
Despite the uncertainty as to the nature of the specific causes of Crohn's disease, there have been a few possible causes which have been identified. These include:
1. Immune system problems
2. Genetic disorders
3. Environmental factors
a) Certain edibles
b) Viruses or harmful bacteria
The primary symptoms of Crohn's disease include the following:
1. Diarrhea: This can occur for about 10 to 20 times a day in more severe cases.
2. In rare cases, there may be blood in your stool.
3. In more intense cases, you may even develop a fever.
4. Cramping and intermittent belly pain.
5. Anemia, due to a reduction in iron levels caused by bloody stools.
6. Weight loss.
7. Erratic appearance of small tears in the anus, called anal fissures. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gastroenterologist.
The colon is a part of the digestive system of your body, which extracts the vitamins, nutrients, water and salt from the indigestible food. This helps in getting rid of solid waste from your body. Now, you may wonder why colon cleansing is necessary. It is required when there is some disorder in the normal colon function, such as when the colon absorbs the toxins in place of removing them from your body, you may experience colon problems. These results in syndromes like gaining weight, fatigue, lack of energy, constipation, bloating and many more.
Cleaning the colon in a natural way is one of the earliest processes by which you can get a normal colon. This process is also called autointoxication. There are some ways by which you can go for natural colon cleansing.
- One of the easiest and best ways for colon cleansing is drinking plenty of water. Regular intake of water will keep your body hydrated and the body organs functioning. It will also help your body to get rid of various toxins.
- Intake of apple juice is yet another process of colon cleansing. Apple juice normalises your bowel movements and keeps your liver fit. It keeps the digestive system functioning as well. One glass of raw apple juice followed by one glass of water half an hour later works best for colon cleansing.
- Lemon juice with a high amount of vitamin C is excellent for the digestive system. A glass of warm water mixed with lemon juice and honey keeps your liver, colon and the entire digestive system fit and fine.
- Stay away from fried and processed food for a couple of days. It is better if you drink fresh vegetable juice for a number of times in a day. Green and leafy vegetables remove toxins from your body. They have high amount of minerals and enzymes which provides energy to your body
- Yogurt is your best companion when it comes to colon cleansing. It contains some bacteria, which are good for your body and helps accelerate the digestion process. It is one of the best way by which you can cure every stomach and digestion-related problems. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.
Gastroparesis is a condition when your stomach feels full and heavy even after it has been more than a couple of hours after meal. Generally, it takes maximum 1 & ½ hours for the stomach to feel empty, but if the time taken for it is more, then this is a condition of gastroparesis. It means there is some change in your normal digestion process.
In this circumstance, the food in your stomach doesn’t digest easily and creates a lump. As a result, you have hard time digesting your food. It also means the nerves connected to the stomach are not functioning well. There are a number of reasons for which you can get gastroparesis.
- Diabetes is one of the most common causes of making you feel fuller.
- Disorders in the nervous system, mainly Parkinson’s disease or cerebral attack can create this problem.
- Some medicines, especially antidepressants or anti-inflammatory in nature and certain painkillers can cause this problem.
Gastroparesis shows a number of symptoms:
- Occasional vomiting as you feel unnecessarily fuller. When you vomit, it gives out chunks of undigested food
- A feeling of nausea
- You feel full after you have eaten very little
- Bloating and pain in your abdomen
- There is alteration in the blood sugar level
- You don’t feel like eating due to loss of appetite
- You lose considerable weight as you don’t eat much
- A possibility of suffering from malnutrition, again due to lack of appetite
How it can be treated?
When you identify the reason for gastroparesis, then treating it becomes easier. If diabetes or nerve disorder is creating the problem, leave it to your doctor to treat. For other causes like lack of appetite, there are some natural ways of treating it.
- Have frequent smaller meals. This way you don’t push yourself to eat much and at the same time, the body doesn’t lack nutrition and energy
- Avoid fibrous fruits
- Avoid high carbohydrate and high fat foods, which takes time to digest
- Intake foods which you can swallow, like soups or stew. They are healthy and are also easy to digest
If the problem still persists, consult your doctor who may prescribe some medicines to stimulate the stomach muscles. They generally have no side-effects. There are some medicines which can control your vomiting and nausea. There are some surgical treatments for gastroparesis, where the doctors place a feeding tube in your small intestine. A gastric venting channel is another option, which helps you to get relief from excessive gas formation in your stomach, thus accelerating the process of digestion.
The tube that carries food to your stomach from your throat is called the oesophagus. When the muscular valve (lower oesophagus sphincter) in the oesophagus fails to relax and carry the food to the stomach, the condition is termed as achalasia.
Achalasia has a variety of causes, and can be difficult for your doctor to diagnose the exact cause. Some common causes of achalasia include:
1. Hereditary predispositions
2. Autoimmune disorders (The immune system erroneously destroys healthy cells in the body)
3. Nerve degeneration in the oesophagus
There other medical conditions that often lead to symptoms identical to achalasia, such as oesophageal cancer and Chagas’ disease (an infectious disease caused by a parasite).
Other symptoms of achalasia include:
The most prominent symptom of achalasia is dysphagia, which is characterised by swallowing difficulties or sensations of food stuck in the oesophagus. Dysphagia often triggers coughing and shortness of breath or choking on food.
1. Discomfort or pain in the chest
2. Weight loss
4. Intense discomfort or pain after eating
Some of the treatments include:
Most of the methods to treat achalasia focus on the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). The treatments used can either permanently alter the sphincter’s function, or reduce symptoms.
1. Oral medications such as calcium channel blockers or nitrates are prescribed, which can relax the LES to let food pass through with more ease. Your doctor may also treat the LES with Botox.
2. For a more permanent treatment, the sphincter can be dilated or altered. In dilation, a balloon is inserted into the oesophagus and it is inflated. This will stretch out your oesophagus to improve function.
3. To alter the oesophagus, oesophagomyotomy is performed. It is a kind of surgery where minimal incisions are made to gain access to the LES, and then it is carefully altered to improve flow of food to the stomach.
Unlike dilation, which can cause complications such as tears in the oesophagus, oesophagomyotomy has a greater success rate. However, certain complications may still arise, such as:
1. Acid reflux
2. Respiratory conditions that are caused by food entering your windpipe
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder, which generally affects the colon (large intestine). It usually show symptoms like abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, gas and constipation. IBS is a long term condition. It can result in sudden mood swings, depression and thus, holds you back from living your life to the fullest. IBS can be controlled by managing lifestyle, stress and managing your diet. Medication and counseling could also be required to manage IBS.
Symptoms of IBS:
1. Immense cramping and pain.
2. A feeling that your belly is bloated all the time
3. Severe gas
4. Alternating and sudden bouts of constipation and diarrhea.
5. Presence of mucus in the feces.
Whenever you experience such kind of symptoms, it is always advisable that you must consult a doctor, so that it doesn't lead to a serious condition.
When should you consult a doctor for IBS?
IBS is not a chronic disorder and can be controlled by home remedies. It may also require medical treatment if the symptoms become acute and persist for too long. If you experience certain symptoms like rectal bleeding, weight loss and heavy abdominal pain that might increase at night, you may be at a risk for colon cancer. If such symptoms persist, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Causes of IBS:
- Foods: Most people are susceptible to IBS if they consume foods like spices, fats, fruits, cabbage, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, carbonated beverage, milk or alcohol. These foods irritate the lining of the stomach and trigger IBS. However, the trigger may vary from person to person.
- Stress: Signs and symptoms of IBS can also increase if you are very stressed out. Stress makes your muscles too worked up and this may result in IBS. However, you should know that stress aggravates or triggers the symptoms but doesn’t cause IBS.
- Hormones: Women are more likely to develop IBS. Fluctuations in the hormonal cycle can trigger IBS. This usually occurs around or during menstruation.
- Other illnesses: Sometimes illness such as gastroenteritis (infectious diarrhea) or bacterial overgrowth in the intestines can trigger symptoms of IBS.
- Age: You will be more likely to develop IBS if you are 45 years of age or above.
- Hereditary: People having a family history of IBS are more susceptible to develop IBS.
- Mental problems: Depression, personality disorder, anxiety and a history of sexual abuse can also trigger symptoms of IBS.