Digestive Diseases

Also called: Gastrointestinal diseases

When you eat, your body breaks food down to a form it can use to build and nourish cells and provide energy. This process is called digestion.

Your digestive system is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube. It runs from your mouth to your anus and includes your esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines. Your liver, gallbladder and pancreas are also involved. They produce juices to help digestion.

There are many types of digestive disorders. The symptoms vary widely depending on the problem. In general, you should see your doctor if you have

  • Blood in your stool
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Heartburn not relieved by antacids

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Digestive Diseases

The following features are indicative of Digestive Diseases:
  • blood in the stool
  • changes in bowel habits
  • severe abdominal pain
  • heartburn not relieved by antacids
  • bleeding
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • heartburn
  • incontinence
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pain in the belly
  • swallowing problems
  • weight gain or loss

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Common Causes of Digestive Diseases

The following are the most common causes of Digestive Diseases:
  • gastrointestinal motility problems
  • excessive acid production
  • use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • cigarette smoking

Other Causes of Digestive Diseases

The following are the less common causes of Digestive Diseases:
  • smoking
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • muscle damage or weakness
  • nerve damage
  • loss of stretch in the rectum
  • childbirth by vaginal delivery
  • hemorrhoids and rectal prolapse
  • rectocele
  • swallowed air
  • fiber
  • obesity
  • lack of exercise

Risk Factors for Digestive Diseases

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Digestive Diseases:
  • recent foreign travel
  • contact with symptomatic persons
  • contact with a dog with diarrhea
  • consumption of products containing formula milk
  • prior diagnosis of several types of atopic diseases

Prevention of Digestive Diseases

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Digestive Diseases. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • use only purified or bottled water for drinking
  • use boiled tap water
  • eat fully cooked and hot food
  • do not eat unwashed or unpeeled raw vegetables and fruits

Occurrence of Digestive Diseases

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Digestive Diseases cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Digestive Diseases can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Digestive Diseases can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Digestive Diseases

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Digestive Diseases:
  • Colonoscopy: To diagnose gastrointestinal diseases
  • Upper GI endoscopy: To diagnose gastrointestinal diseases
  • Capsule endoscopy: To diagnose gastrointestinal diseases
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography: To diagnose gastrointestinal diseases
  • Endoscopic ultrasound: To diagnose gastrointestinal diseases

Doctor for Diagnosis of Digestive Diseases

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Digestive Diseases:
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Nutritionist or dietitian
  • Primary care doctor
  • Radiologist
  • Surgeon

Complications of Digestive Diseases if untreated

Yes, Digestive Diseases causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Digestive Diseases is left untreated:
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Digestive Diseases

The following procedures are used to treat Digestive Diseases:
  • Surgery: To remove a part of colon
  • Biofeedback training: To pass stool more easily
  • Fluid replacement: Maintain your electrolyte levels by drinking fruit juices to keep your heart beating

Medicines for Digestive Diseases

Below is the list of medicines used for Digestive Diseases:

Self-care for Digestive Diseases

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Digestive Diseases:
  • Increase fiber intake: Helps increasing increases the weight of stool and speeds its passage through intestines
  • Exercise most days of the week: Helps increasing muscle activity in intestine
  • Drink plenty of fluids: Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Eat semisolid and low-fiber foods
  • Helps in bowel movements return to normal
  • Avoid dairy products, fatty foods, high-fiber foods or highly seasoned foods
  • Consider taking probiotics: Restore a healthy balance to the intestinal tract

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Digestive Diseases

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Digestive Diseases:
  • Use a probiotic such as bifidobacterium: Helps in treating constipation
  • Use a probiotic such as lactobacillus: Helps in treating constipation
  • Acupuncture therapy: May be helpful in treating constipation
  • Intake of zinc supplementation: Helps in treating malnourishment or zinc deficiency

Patient Support for Treatment of Digestive Diseases

The following actions may help Digestive Diseases patients:
  • Education: Helps improving emotional functions
  • Psychosocial support: Help people with COPD and their carers better manage the condition

Time for Treatment of Digestive Diseases

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Digestive Diseases to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Is Digestive Diseases Infectious?

Yes, Digestive Diseases is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • contact with symptomatic persons

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Digestive Diseases.
Celiac Disease
Colonic Diseases
Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis
Intestinal Obstruction
Liver Diseases
Peptic Ulcer
Small Intestine Disorders
Stomach Disorders

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