The gastrointestinal tract is a large muscular tube that extends all the way from the mouth to the rectum in human beings. It is also called the digestive tract or alimentary canal. The muscles in this tube move the food, all the way to the stomach, from the mouth and then, due to the release of enzymes, the food is digested. The components of the gastrointestinal tract are the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, pancreas, gallbladder etc.
Symptoms of gastrointestinal tract problems include:
- Abdominal distension
Some of the most common gastrointestinal tract problems are:
- Chest Pain: Also known as Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease, this happens if the stomach acids travel back into one’s esophagus. This phenomenon is commonly called an acid reflux. Often, it could occur after meals. It is quite common to experience this every once in a while. However, having these on a daily basis or at least thrice a week should not be ignored, as it could be a symptom of GERD.
- Celiac Disease: This refers to severe gluten sensitivity, a protein present in rye, wheat and barley. People who suffer from this disease are advised to avoid consumption of gluten in any form. The consumption of gluten sends the immune system on attack mode, damaging the villi which are found in the small intestine, that help to absorb nutrients from the food consumed.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: The feeling of discomfort and stomach pain, at least thrice a month for a prolonged period of time, maybe a symptom of IBS. What causes IBS is unknown, but the treatment is to avoid foods which produce gas. A diet low in fats and high in fiber content is also advised.
- Hemorrhoids: Blood during bowel movements is a sign of hemorrhoids. It happens when the blood vessels present towards the end of one’s digestive tract get inflamed. The causes may include diarrhea, chronic constipation, or a low fiber diet. OTC creams may give temporary relief. A high fiber diet, drinking a lot more water, and exercising regularly is advised.
- Crohn’s Disease: This is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks cells in your own body. Crohn’s disease is part of a group of digestive conditions called inflammatory bowel disease. Some symptoms include weight loss, rectal bleeding and abnormal pain.
- Gallstones: These are hard deposits that form in the gallbladder. They occur when there is a high amount of waste or cholesterol in your bile. Gallstones block the passage from the gallbladder to the intestines, which may result in a sharp pain felt in the upper right region of the abdomen. Medication to dissolve the gallstones or surgery is advised.
The gastrointestinal tract is very important and should be taken care of properly. Any discomfort shouldn’t be ignored. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!