11 Gastro-intestinal [GI] diseases for you to know for living a healthy life


Picture showing various Gastro-intestinal diseases

Doctors treating gastro-intestinal [GI] diseases
Image source- FreePik designed on Canva Pro

What is Gastro-intestinal disease?

Gastro-intestinal disease is an affliction of your digestive system starting from your mouth to the anus.

Gastro-intestinal (GI) diseases are common, and you may come across or suffer from either one of them in your day-to-day life. Sometimes you may suffer from a combination of two or more of them at the same time.

We all should have knowledge about some of these common GI diseases. In today’s article, we will discuss these GI diseases in short. I will elaborate on these ailments one by one in my future blogs.

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GERD

This is one such gastro-intestinal disease, which is caused by the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus. GERD is an acronym for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, which occurs when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus does not close properly.

It is characterized by frequent and persistent reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus. This can cause a number of symptoms, including heartburn and acid reflux.

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Various Diseases of the stomach. Image source- FreePik

Hyperacidity

is another, wherein the level of acid produced by the stomach increases, leading to acid reflux and indigestion. It refers to an excessive amount of acid in the stomach which can cause pain, nausea and indigestion. This usually occurs when you are very stressed, or you do not get enough sleep.

Gastritis

is a condition that affects the lining of the stomach, causing inflammation and pain. Gastritis is caused by accumulation of acid in the stomach due to irregular eating habits or fasting.

Sign symptoms of Gastritis
Image of gastritis signs symptoms. Source-FreePik Designed on Canva Pro

Why do we suffer from GERD, Hyperacidity and Gastritis?

The secretion of our gastric juices has a particular biological timing that coincides with our eating habits. During this period, if we do not eat our food, they remain in our stomach and gut till we eat.

If they linger for a longer period, then there is every chance that they will start attacking the inner lining of our stomach, thereby causing a breach or multiple breaches.

Repeated formation of such breaches later on cause inflammation of the stomach wall, causing gastritis. Another cause is hypersecretion of our gastric juices due to stress. This again goes through the same cycle as mentioned above. Moreover, if the esophago-gastric sphincter is weak, it causes backflow of gastric juices into the esophagus, thereby causing GERD.

So, the key to avoid these conditions is-

  • Eat on time
  • Remain stress free by doing yoga or meditation

Worm infestations

are also a common GI problem, where parasitic worms infect the gastrointestinal tract, leading to symptoms like abdominal pain and bloating. I had written everything about worm infestation in a previous article a few months back.

Picture showing various worm infestation in Gastro-intestinal [GI] diseases
Image source and Design- Canva Pro

It occurs when a person ingests contaminated food or water containing eggs or larvae of parasitic worms.

Enteritis

It is an inflammation of the small intestine due to infections or food poisoning and can cause symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Enteritis can lead to abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea and fever. Some examples are Typhoid and paratyphoid.

Appendicitis

The appendix is a small organ located at the junction of the small and large intestine. It is considered a vestigial organ and serves no major purpose in the body. Unfortunately, inflammation or infection in the appendix can lead to appendicitis.

Picture showing Appendicitis in Gastros-intestinal [GI] disease
Image source-FreePik Design- Canva Pro

Symptoms of appendicitis can include pain, vomiting, and fever. Appendicitis must be treated as soon as possible to prevent any further complications.

An infected appendix can lead to peritonitis, an inflammation of the abdominal lining. Surgery is often required to remove the appendix and alleviate any appendicitis symptoms.

Therefore, it is important to identify and address any problems associated with the appendix before they become serious health issues.

It is the inflammation of the appendix which needs to be removed immediately if it bursts. It requires swift medical intervention as it can be life threatening if left untreated.

Amoebiasis

Amoebiasis is a condition caused by a parasite called amoeba. It is an infectious disease that can affect any organ in the body, most commonly the digestive tract, especially the large intestine.

Symptoms of amoebiasis include abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhea, weight loss and sometimes, fever. If left untreated, it can cause serious complications like intestinal obstruction, perforation and abscess formation in the liver.

Amoebiasis in GI diseases
Image source- Wikimedia commons

Therefore, it is important to diagnose and treat amoebiasis promptly and appropriately.

Various drugs are available for the treatment of amoebiasis, including metronidazole, paromomycin and diloxanide furoate.

Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are critical for preventing serious complications from developing due to amoebiasis.

Untreated amoebiasis can lead to formation of abscess in the liver.


Giardiasis

Giardiasis is an illness caused by Giardia lamblia, a type of microscopic parasite. Common signs and symptoms associated with giardiasis include abdominal cramps and pain, bloating, flatulence, greasy stools, nausea, fatigue and weight loss. It usually affects the small intestine.

In some cases, individuals may also experience a fever, headaches and vomiting. The most common symptom is diarrhea with pale or greyish-white stools that have an unpleasant odor.

It is important to note that not all people infected with Giardia lamblia will experience symptoms; however, if left untreated the infection can persist for weeks or even months.

Treatment options for giardiasis usually involve the use of antibiotics to eliminate the parasite. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent further complications from the infection.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a condition in which one experiences frequent and loose stools. It is a common ailment but can be a symptom of an underlying health issue.

Causes of diarrhea can range from dietary changes to digestive disorders, intestinal diseases, and food intolerance. Diarrhea can also be caused by bacterial or viral infections, food poisoning, or the use of certain medications.

In some cases, the cause of diarrhea may remain unknown. It is important to consult a healthcare professional if you are experiencing persistent or severe episodes of diarrhea as it may be indicative of a more serious health concern.

Ulcerative Colitis and Coeliac disease

Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease, which affects the colon and causes inflammation of the inner lining of the intestine. It is a chronic condition that can last for a prolonged period of time.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis can vary from mild to severe and can include abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, and anemia. Treatment of ulcerative colitis typically involves medications, and in some cases, surgery.

Ulcerative colitis in GI diseases
Image source- FreePik Designed on Canva Pro

Coeliac disease is another autoimmune disorder that is caused due to an allergy to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It affects the small intestine and can lead to malabsorption of nutrients.

Symptoms of coeliac disease can include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, weight loss, and anaemia. Treatment of coeliac disease involves a strict gluten-free diet, which can help to reduce symptoms and prevent further damage to the intestine.

Though both ulcerative colitis and coeliac disease are autoimmune diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract, they have different causes and require different treatments.

Ulcerative colitis is caused by an immune system malfunction, while coeliac disease is caused by an allergy to gluten.

Useful resource- Merck Manual

Treatment for ulcerative colitis typically involves medications, while treatment for coeliac disease involves a gluten-free diet. It is important to get a proper diagnosis in order to receive the most appropriate treatment.

Piles and fissures

Piles, also known as hemorrhoids, are a common condition caused due to engorgement of veins at the anorectal region. It is estimated that nearly half of the population will have experienced piles at some point in their life.

There are four stages of piles which can cause anorectal bleeding ranging from mild to severe.

In the first stage, the veins may become swollen and enlarged and may cause itching and irritation.

In the second stage, the piles may become more swollen and protrude from the anus.

Piles in Gastro-intestinal diseases
Photo of 3rd stage piles. Image source attribution- Dr. Harry Gouvas

In the third stage, the piles may become even more swollen and will prolapse outside the anus.

In the fourth stage, piles may become strangulated or thrombosed, which can cause extreme pain.

Ano-rectal fissures are cracks developed in the anal wall due to forceful expulsion of feces in a constipated patient. Symptoms of ano-rectal fissures include pain and bleeding.

If left untreated, the fissures may become infected and cause more pain. In extreme cases, surgery may need to be performed to repair the fissure.

In order to prevent piles, it is important to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and drink plenty of fluids.

Additionally, it is important to practice regular bowel movements and avoid straining on the toilet. If piles do develop, medical advice should be sought in order to determine the best course of treatment.

There are many more gastro-intestinal diseases that I could not cover in this article. Some of them are Crohn’s disease and Irritable Bowel Disease, cancer, etc. You can read the first two here below-

https://vasu56.livejournal.com/1248.html

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Final words

My next article will be on different spices that help us in maintaining a healthy GI system. Now, if you have found this article useful, do share it on social media by clicking the icons at the bottom of this article.

Adios.