5 Common Digestive Problems and Ways to Manage Them
Stomach aches, vomiting, loose bowels and nausea are some of the most common ailments of the digestive tract that affect a large number of people across the globe. Fortunately, they are usually not life-threatening. However, sometimes these symptoms may indicate an underlying, more serious health concern. Following are the 5 most common digestive problems and easy ways to manage them.
- Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Acid reflux when stomach contents move backwards into the oesophagus. This is commonly occurring condition that happens to everyone some times. However, if it happens repeatedly, the condition is known as GERD. Constant and uncontrolled GERD can damage the oesophageal lining and even lead to bleeding. Fortunately, GERD can be managed by making lifestyle changes such as regulating food intake, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and the like.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Chronic ailments pertaining to the bowels and bowel movement are collectively known as IBS. IBS presents most commonly as chronic constipation and chronic diarrhoea. Most medical professionals will diagnose IBS when the patient presents with abdominal pain at least three times a month for three consecutive months. As the specific cause is unknown, IBS is treated mostly by regulating diet and avoiding triggering foods.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Long-lasting inflammation of the digestive tract is known as IBD. It is an auto-immune disease, which means that the digestive tract is affected by an abnormal immune system reaction. There are two main types of IBD – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD is treated with drugs that block the immune system. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
- Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD): An open sore in the stomach lining or upper small intestine is known as PUD, while inflammation of the stomach lining is known as gastritis. The most common cause of PUD is a bacterial infection, which can also lead to chronic gastritis. Antacids and antibiotics are used to treat PUD.
- Gastroenteritis or stomach flu: This ailment is caused by a bacterial or viral infection of the stomach and upper parts of the small intestine. It is accompanied by diarrhoea, vomiting and fever. Usually, gastroenteritis heals without requiring medical intervention. Patients are advised to drink plenty of water and electrolytes to avoid dehydration.
- Haemorrhoids: These are small, swollen rectal blood vessels causing pain, swelling, itching and bright red blood after passing bowel. The best way to treat haemorrhoids is to include substantial amounts of fibre in the diet, hydrating well and exercising regularly. Warm baths, over-the-counter creams and suppositories can provide relief to pain and itchiness. Haemorrhoids can aggravate if left untreated and require surgical removal in severe cases.
While the digestive troubles described above are commonplace and usually easy to treat, it is always a good practice to seek help from a healthcare professional. Only a qualified doctor will be able to offer a proper diagnosis and subsequent treatment steps. CARE Super Speciality Hospital has some of the best gastroenterologists in Bhubaneswar.