Digestive Disorders

Digestive Disorders

The digestive system is a system in your body that is made up of the digestive tract, which consists of hollow organs going from your mouth to your anus along with other organs to help break down food and absorb it. When it gets disrupted by your diet, stress, illness or disease, it can make eating ad everyday activities uncomfortable and often painful. There are many different types of digestive disorders, chronic and temporary, that can cause discomfort for you.


One of the most common digestive disorders is reflux. Someone with reflux will experience heartburn, which is a burning sensation in the upper abdomen and throat area. This is a common digestive disorder affecting 6% of people daily and 14% weekly. If you have a hot burning feeling that seems to rise from your abdomen to your chest, it is a sign of reflux. Many things can worsen reflux including pregnancy, alcohol, or eating certain foods. In many cases, no treatment is needed for reflux. Others may get medicine to reduce their body’s acid levels or an inhibitor like Prevacid, Prilosec or Nexium.

Peptic Ulcers

Another type of digestive disorder is called a peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcers are very common, affecting about 25 million people in the United States. Peptic ulcers form when there is a disruption in the protective layer of mucus around the lining of the stomach. This causes pain and discomfort, worsened during certain activities such as eating or laying down. Having a high amount of emotional stress can also aggravate the symptoms. If a peptic ulcer is not properly treated, it can lead to a hole in the intestine or internal bleeding which leads to infection. If you think you might have a peptic ulcer, visit your doctor to get put on a round of antibiotics.


Gallstones are common with about 1 million people each year in the United States being diagnosed with the digestive disorder. Most pass on their own and only about 25% of the cases need further treatment. Gallstones are small pebbles that get caught in the gallbladder causing extreme amounts of pain. They are usually made of bile salts and cholesterol and will pass on their own. Many times, a physical examination is all a doctor needs to find out if you have gallstones. However a secondary form of testing is often done, such as an abdominal ultrasound. If they are causing infection or inflammation, doctors will remove the stones surgically

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is possibly the most common digestive disorder in the United States, affecting about 30 million people. When you’re lactose intolerant, you’re not able to digest milk products due to a missing enzyme. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include gas, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping and bloating. These will take place about 30 minutes after eating or drinking dairy products.

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