Digging Into Root Causes: Digestive Issues
From time to time, everyone suffers a tummy ache, there can be many reasons as to why this occurs but a very large portion of this pain is related to digestive issues. Overeating, gas, or indigestion are the most common causes of digestive issues. Stress is also known to cause frequent or recurring acute stomach ache. Though most digestive issues are harmless, their symptoms can indicate more significant medical issues such as pancreatic disorders.
- The root cause of your digestive issues can be hard to pinpoint because there's often more than one thing at play.
- Monitor your symptoms and talk with a health professional to figure out how your diet, sleep, and environment are affecting you.
When it comes to digestive issues the root cause is often hard to identify. However, based on your symptoms doctors can often diagnose and implement a treatment plan. Here is a list of the 8 most commonly diagnosed digestive issues.
Otherwise known as irritable bowel syndrome, this digestive issue involves “weird” bowel movements and abdominal pain. Symptoms must be present for more than 6 months, be actively bothering you in the past 3 months for at least 1 day per week. IBS symptoms simply include abdominal pain (normally with IBS there are no visible physical signs) and are associated with (2 or more):
- Related to defecation
- Associated with change in form of stool
- Associated with change in the frequency of stool
IBS symptoms can also include: persistent pain that isn't relieved by passing gas or a bowel movement, weight loss, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, iron deficiency, difficulty swallowing, unexplained vomiting, and acne.
2. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
This is one of the sneaky digestive issues out there. It very often gets misdiagnosed as IBS due to its mysterious nature. SIBO symptoms include: bloating, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue and cramps. This condition can get serious as bacteria in the small intestine will start to consume nutrients your body would naturally absorb, leading to malnutrition. And on top of it all, now you've got a bellyache.
3. Crohn’s disease
This is an example of an IBD or inflammatory bowel disease. Again as with many of these issues the exact cause is mysterious. It can affect any part of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract from the mouth to anus. Crohn's disease can range in severity from minor to devastating. Symptoms differ from person to person and can alter over time.
The condition can cause life-threatening flares and consequences in extreme patients. Symptoms can include: diarrhea, cramps, bloody stool, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, unsatisfying bowel movements and feeling the need for frequent bowel movements, ulcers in GI tract, pain with bowel movements, inflammation of the joints and skin, shortness of breath due to anemia.
4. Ulcerative Colitis
This is another IBD with almost exactly the same characteristics of Crohn’s disease. Symptoms usually appear gradually rather than abruptly. The main difference is the location, the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum are affected by ulcerative colitis.
5. Acid reflux/GERD
When stomach acid runs back into your esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth and stomach), it's called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This backwash (acid reflux) irritates your esophageal lining. For it to qualify as a diagnosis it must occur at least twice a week. The symptoms of GERD include: heartburn, difficulty swallowing, burping, nausea, disrupted sleep, dry cough and sore throat. Over time GERD can cause serious damage to your esophagus.
Diverticula are tiny, bulging pouches that can occur in the digestive system's lining. They're most commonly discovered in the big intestine's lower section (colon). Diverticula are frequent after the age of 40, and they rarely cause difficulties. Diverticulosis refers to the presence of diverticula. When symptoms do occur they can include: abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, vomiting, fever, blood in stool and bloating.
Diverticula form when naturally weak areas of the colon give way under strain. Marble-sized pockets emerge through the colon wall as a result of this. Diverticulitis is caused by a tear in the diverticula, which causes inflammation and, in some circumstances, infection. Rest, dietary adjustments, and antibiotics can all help with mild diverticulitis. Diverticulitis that is severe or recurrent may necessitate surgery.
7. Food intolerances
Food intolerances are a common occurrence. According to some estimations, 15–20 percent of the population could be affected. Food intolerances are more common in people who suffer from digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Most persons with IBS, according to the IBS network, have dietary intolerances.
Food intolerances, on the other hand, are caused by a digestive system reaction rather than an immune system reaction to a specific food. Symptoms can include: bloating, excess gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, migraine, headaches, and malaise, which is a general feeling of being under the weather.
8. Candida overgrowth
Candida is a yeast that can be found both on and within the human body. Small amounts can be found on the skin, as well as inside the mouth, vaginal canal, and gut. Candida in little concentrations isn't harmful and doesn't cause any symptoms. Certain conditions, however, can cause this fungus to spread out of control, leading to a Candida infection known as candidiasis or candida overgrowth.
If you are experiencing any irregular symptoms it is key to monitor them. Take detailed notes of your symptoms. As mentioned, many digestion issues are mistaken for one another because their root cause is so difficult to pin down. In general, to avoid digestive issues, lifestyle changes are the place to start. Eat healthier: less processed foods, varied diet, supplements etc. Stay active, reduce stress, and get adequate sleep. Maintenance of your health is key in avoiding the development of serious issues.
Written by Kiana St. Onge