Gastrointestinal diseases are conditions that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. GI diseases can occur anywhere from your mouth to the anus and can be with or without symptoms.
Gastrointestinal problems can manifest in two ways: functional and/or structural. When affected with the functional diseases the GI tract will appear normal upon examination but it will not move properly. In case of structural diseases the bowel will appear abnormal when examined and the GI tract will have issues as well. At times structural abnormalities may need surgical removal.
Common functional manifestations of Gastrointestinal Diseases are-
- Feeling of wanting to pass stool and nothing coming out
- Belching / reflux
Common examples of structural Gastrointestinal diseases are –
- Diverticular disease
- Colon polyps
- Colon cancer
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Causes of Gastrointestinal diseases
Factors that may trigger Gastrointestinal tract issues are–
- A low in fiber diet
- Lack of exercise
- Frequent traveling
- Alcohol, smoking
- Resisting bowel movement due to reasons like hemorrhoids
- Taking excess anti-diarrheal medicines, antacids that have calcium or aluminium and medicines like antidepressants, iron pills and strong pain medicines
Some other “red flag” symptoms that should prompt you to see a Gastroenterologist or a GP urgently are:
Blood in vomit – This could be a symptom of ulcer.
Blood in stool – The blood could be from hemorrhoids or lacerations in your rectum. Other possible but rare conditions could be colon cancer, colon polyps, colitis, and diverticulosis.
Black stool – This could mean bleeding in the upper part of the GI tract. Other causes include taking stuff like black licorice, iron supplements, or bismuth subsalicylate.
Severe pain abdomen – anywhere
Constant Diarrhea – This could be a symptom of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), food allergy, infection, or thyroid disorder.
Blood in stool, change bowel habits, narrowing of stool, stomach pain, loss of weight and fatigue
Many Gastrointestinal symptoms/illnesses can be helped with the following and you may need some trial and error to find out which ones work for you.
- Avoiding caffeine
- Avoiding alcohol
- More fiber in diet
- Identifying and avoiding foods that trigger the symptoms
- Addressing and coping with stress levels
- Taking prescribed medicines
- Staying hydrated
- Getting proper sleep
- Taking efforts for improved bowel habits like finding cure for constipation and avoiding straining during bowel movements
Excellent Gastrointestinal Disease specialist doctors work with DocGenie and are ready to help you with any GI related issues. You can get an online/in-cinic consultation with a Gastrointestinal Disease specialist on DocGenie for early treatment and cure.