The digestive process is complex and takes place in the digestive tract and involves a number of organs. It begins with the esophagus that helps to carry food to the stomach. A number of different organs like the pancreas and the gall bladder produce digestive juices that help to break down the food for digestion.
Digestion is the breakdown and transformation of food into micronutrients that pass through the intestinal walls to the bloodstream from where it circulated throughout the body. Distress in the digestive system causes great discomfort to the body and mind.
Digestive disorders are any distress or discomfort in the digestive system. Once occurred in one part of the digestive system, they may malfunction in the other parts of the digestive system. The conditions range from minor to serious. For example perianal abscesses, colitis, anal fissures, constipation, colon polyps, hemorrhoids, and cancer.
These are also called Dyspepsia, functional digestive disorders are usually the result of the malfunctioning of the digestive system. This may cause loss of appetite, nausea, bloating, rashes, heartburn.
The cause of dyspepsia could be a large meal that is not easy to digest, eating without chewing, alcohol abuse, stress, lack of exercise, resisting bowel movement.
Functional Digestive disorders are of two types:
This is the structural dysfunction of the bowel. In extreme cases, the bowel has to be removed surgically. It usually causes colon cancer, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease.
Some of the common digestive system disorders include:
Symptoms of digestive disorders are:
The digestive disorders are usually caused by:
Some patients need to undergo a more extensive diagnostic evaluation. This may include lab tests, imaging tests, and/or endoscopic procedures. These tests may include any, or a combination of, the following:
The movement of the markers through the colon is monitored with abdominal X-rays taken several times 3 to 7 days after the capsule is swallowed.
The patient then sits on a toilet positioned inside an X-ray machine and squeezes and relaxes the anus to expel the solution. The radiologist studies the X-rays to determine if anorectal problems happened while the patient was emptying the paste from the rectum.
Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.
Common digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, bloating can be treated with some lifestyle changes. Some of the treatments that will help with digestive disorders are:
Heartburn is caused due to indigestion and can make you feel really uncomfortable. You can avoid fatty and oily foods and aerated drinks if you are suffering from this condition. You can take lactase supplements, alpha-galactosidase, simethicone and probiotics.
Normally, 10-14 days of antibiotic treatment together with acid reduction therapy works to alleviate this condition.
Gallstones are made of cholesterol and bile salts and may require treatment in some cases. Removal of gallbladder can be done through laparoscopy and also via mouth or vagina without any external incision.
GES is performed in patients who suffer from gastroparesis due to diabetes or any other cause. This method uses a device implanted in the abdomen to send mini electrical impulses to the smooth muscles and nerves of the lower stomach.
Gastroparesis is the condition where the nerves and muscles of the stomach are affected and this delays the emptying of food from the stomach to the small intestine. It can happen in people with diabetes or nervous disorder and sometimes, the cause is not detected.
Chronic pancreatitis requires auto-islet transplantation after a total pancreatectomy which is the removal of the entire pancreas. Chronic pancreatitis is a serious condition which causes inflammation of the pancreas that worsens over time and leads to permanent damage.
It gradually impairs a patient’s ability to digest food and make pancreatic hormones. During islet autotransplant, the patient’s own cells are kept separate from the pancreas. They are put back when the patient starts receiving insulin.
Food that is gentle to the digestive system are:
While the above lists will help to keep the digestive system healthy, there is also some food that should be avoided for the sake of intestinal health. For example high saturated fats like cheese, white and milk chocolate, carbonated beverages, alcohol, refined carbohydrates.
Below are the worst foods for digestion:
Apple cider vinegar has been used in cooking and natural medicine for thousands of years. Health benefits include weight loss, improved blood sugar levels, relief from indigestion, and a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.
Apple cider vinegar increases the acidity of your stomach, which helps your body create more pepsin, the enzyme that breaks down protein. Acidic foods like apple cider vinegar may have similar effects, but more research is needed.
Heartburn patients are generally prescribed H2 blockers which reduces the amount of acid that a stomach intakes. However, there are a number of side-effects of consuming H2 blockers: they can cause constipation, diarrhea, headache or nausea and vomiting. Islet autotransplantation involves the complete removal of the pancreas.
This exposes the patient to the risk of developing permanent diabetes. A patient will then have to take insulin shots or to use an insulin pump for the rest of their lives. Gastric electrical stimulation may cause pain at the implant site, infection, stomach wall perforation, lead obstruction of intestines, lead/device problems and lead penetration, irritation, inflammation, uncomfortable stimulation, tissue damage and others.
Some signs that suggest an unhealthy gut and should not be ignored are:
Insulin resistance or the urge to overeat due to decreased nutrient absorption might cause weight gain. On the other hand, weight loss may be a result of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
Gastric electric stimulation helps to reduce symptoms of chronic intractable vomiting and nausea related to gastroparesis. But it is not a complete cure in itself for gastroparesis.
It helps to reduce symptoms but patients generally need to take medication and follow a special diet to control the symptoms even after undergoing this surgery.
Islet autotransplantation may induce permanent diabetes in some people. Those people will have to take insulin shots or will have to use an insulin pump for the rest of their lives.
Most patients are discharged within 1-5 days of gastric electrical stimulation procedure. However, as this surgery is not an end in itself, a person will have to go to the doctor for regular check-ups.
Other digestive disorders like gas, heartburn, constipation and diarrhea may be treated within a time span of a few hours to a few days with the help of proper medication and a proper diet.
The islet autotransplantation procedure is complex and a person may require quite some time to recover.
Below are the tips to reset your digestive system:
Fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut are also beneficial for gut health and contain many different strains of bacteria. You may also want to take a probiotic supplement.
Common digestive disorders like heartburns, gas, constipation or diarrhea can be effectively treated with the help of some medicines which do not cost much. Medicines for indigestion and heart burn are available within a price range of Rs 50-100.
However, islet transplantation for treating acute pancreatitis is expensive and may cost about 10,00,000 – 12,00,000 rupees. Gastric electric stimulation may cost around 6 lakh rupees in India.
Common gastric disorders like gas, constipation, diarrhea and heartburms are more often than not the result of lifestyle irregularities. Thus there is seldom a permanent solution to such problems.
Gastric electric stimulation is not an end in itself and patients will require medication and routine check-ups to keep the symptoms of gastroparesis at bay.
Islet transplantation procedure may cause to reduce chronic pancreatitis but it tends to have a lot of side-effects.
There are simple lifestyle choices that can have a huge positive impact on your body such as:
There is no such alternative to islet autotransplantation as these method is adopted only when all other options fail. Chronic gastric stimulation is used to treat gastroparesis. Alternative methods to treat gastroparesis may include changes in the diet of the patient and medications.
Such medications like metoclopramide and erythromycin can be used to stimulate the stomach muscles. Other drugs that help to contain nausea and vomiting may include prochlor perazine and diphenhydramine.
Caution: People with the genetic condition galactosemia should avoid it. It may also interfere with some diabetes drugs like acarbose (Precose) or miglitol (Glyset).
The ingredients that help prevent and treat home remedies present at home are: