The following information comes from The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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- Bleeding in the Digestive Tract
Bleeding in the digestive tract is a symptom of a disease rather than a disease itself. A number of different conditions can cause bleeding. Most causes of bleeding are related to conditions that can be cured or controlled, such as ulcers or hemorrhoids. Some causes of bleeding may be life threatening.
- Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and lip balms.
Cirrhosis is a condition in which the liver slowly deteriorates and malfunctions due to chronic injury. Scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue, partially blocking the flow of blood through the liver.
- Colon Polyps
A colon polyp is a growth on the surface of the colon, also called the large intestine. Sometimes, a person can have more than one colon polyp. Colon polyps can be raised or flat.
Constipation means different things to different people. You may have constipation if you have three or fewer bowel movements in a week or if stool is hard, dry, painful, or difficult to pass. Some people with constipation lack energy and feel full or bloated.
- Crohn's Disease
Crohn's disease is an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, also referred to as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Crohn's disease can affect any area of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum. The swelling extends deep into the lining of the affected organ. The swelling can cause pain and can make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea.
Diarrhea is loose, watery stools. A person with diarrhea typically passes stool more than three times a day. People with diarrhea may pass more than a quart of stool a day. Acute diarrhea is a common problem that usually lasts 1 or 2 days and goes away on its own without special treatment. Prolonged diarrhea persisting for more than 2 days may be a sign of a more serious problem and poses the risk of dehydration. Chronic diarrhea may be a feature of a chronic disease.
- Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
Many people have small pouches in the lining of the colon, or large intestine, that bulge outward through weak spots. Each pouch is called a diverticulum. Multiple pouches are called diverticula. The condition of having diverticula is called diverticulosis. About 10 percent of Americans older than 40 have diverticulosis. The condition becomes more common as people age. About half of all people older than 60 have diverticulosis.
- Eosinophilic Esophagitis
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EE) is a disease characterized by swelling of the esophagus (the part of the body connecting the throat and the stomach) caused by an allergic white blood cell, the eosinophil. Symptoms of EE can range from severe heartburn, difficulty swallowing, food impaction in the esophagus, nausea, vomiting and weight loss. There appears to be some age-related differences in symptoms, with younger children having more symptoms of weight loss, and older children and adults having food impaction and difficulty swallowing.
- Gas and Bloating
Everyone has gas. Burping and "passing gas" is normal. But because it is embarrassing, many people believe they pass gas too often or have too much gas. A person actually having too much gas is rare.
- Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER), and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more serious form of gastroesophageal reflux (GER), which is common. GER occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens spontaneously, for varying periods of time, or does not close properly and stomach contents rise up into the esophagus. GER is also called acid reflux or acid regurgitation, because digestive juices — called acids — rise up with the food. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. The LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach.
Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. Normally, the stomach contracts to move food down into the small intestine for digestion. The vagus nerve controls the movement of food from the stomach through the digestive tract. Gastroparesis occurs when the vagus nerve is damaged and the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not work normally. Food then moves slowly or stops moving through the digestive tract.
- H. pylori and Peptic Ulcer
A peptic ulcer is a sore on the lining of the stomach or duodenum, which is the beginning of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers are common: One in 10 Americans develops an ulcer at some time in his or her life. One cause of peptic ulcer is bacterial infection, but some ulcers are caused by long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), like aspirin and ibuprofen. In a few cases, cancerous tumors in the stomach or pancreas can cause ulcers. Peptic ulcers are not caused by stress or eating spicy food, but these can make ulcers worse.
Hepatitis is a family of autoimmune diseases. At ABQ Health Partners we treat many varieties of hepatitis.
Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a term used to describe one or more symptoms including a feeling of fullness during a meal, uncomfortable fullness after a meal, and burning or pain in the upper abdomen.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder characterized most commonly by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. IBS causes a great deal of discomfort and distress, but it does not permanently harm the intestines and does not lead to a serious disease, such as cancer. Most people can control their symptoms with diet, stress management, and prescribed medications. For some people, however, IBS can be disabling. They may be unable to work, attend social events, or even travel short distances.
- Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is the inability or insufficient ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the cells lining the small intestine. Lactase breaks down lactose into two simpler forms of sugar called glucose and galactose, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH is a common, often "silent" liver disease. It resembles alcoholic liver disease, but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol. The major feature in NASH is fat in the liver, along with inflammation and damage. Most people with NASH feel well and are not aware that they have a liver problem. Nevertheless, NASH can be severe and can lead to cirrhosis, in which the liver is permanently damaged and scarred and no longer able to work properly
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum — the first part of the small intestine. The pancreas secretes digestive juices, or enzymes, into the duodenum through a tube called the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic enzymes join with bile — a liquid produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder — to digest food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body regulate the glucose it takes from food for energy.
- Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a disease that causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the lining of the rectum and colon. Ulcers form where inflammation has killed the cells that usually line the colon, then bleed and produce pus. Inflammation in the colon also causes the colon to empty frequently, causing diarrhea.
- Viral Gastroenteritis
Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection caused by several different viruses. Highly contagious, viral gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the United States. It causes millions of cases of diarrhea each year.