Research has shown almost 70 million Americans suffer from some form of digestive tract disease or ailment. These manifest through various painful and irritating symptoms, causing severe discomfort.
Here are three of the most common digestive conditions you should know about.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, 10–15% of the global population suffers from irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. This accounts to nearly 25 to 45 million people in the US alone who experience discomfort and irritation in their digestive tract, which occurs three or more times a month.
The symptoms for IBS vary. A person with this inflammatory condition may experience diarrhea, severe constipation, or fluctuate between dry, hard stools one day and loose, watery stools the next. Bloating may also occur.
The exact cause of IBS remains unknown. However, treatment has been focused on maintaining a low-fat and high-fiber diet. Artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, and dairy products, are to be avoided if you face irritable bowel syndrome. Moreover, some doctors also prescribe antidepressants and psychotherapy to patients as IBS is also triggered by high stress levels.
Crohn’s disease is another form of inflammatory bowel disease, pertaining to the terminal ileum. The ileum is the part connecting the small bowel end and colon beginning. In Crohn’s disease, this is heavily inflamed and irritated, causing diarrhea and severe pain.
Causes of the condition aren’t clearly known, but Crohn’s disease is most commonly associated with family history and genetics. Abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, fever, and weight loss are some of the symptoms accompanying this condition. It’s usually treated with immunosuppressant medication, topical medication, or in severe cases, surgery.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Also known as acid reflux, this is a condition in which the stomach acid accumulates in the esophagus. This causes the person to experience a strange, burning sensation in their chest that can linger for a long time.
Research has shown that up to 20% of Americans are affected by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The condition is diagnosed if the chest pain and heartburn occurs frequently within a week, usually after meals or at night, and affects your daily activities. In addition to this, abdominal pain, tooth erosion, bad breath, nausea, and breathing and swallowing difficulties are also common symptoms of GERD.
Antacids and dietary precautions can help relieve the symptoms of acid reflux. If these prove to be ineffective, then your doctor may prescribe you stronger medication or even recommend surgery.
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