Gastrointestinal conditions – symptoms and treatment.

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The role of gastrointestinal tract is to absorb nutrients, minerals, vitamins and fluids. With the help of enzymes and special peristaltic movements, these substances are decomposed until they reach the tiniest particles and as such, transported throughout our body. Digestive tract comprises oral cavity, teeth, tongue, gut, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and intestines.

The most frequent conditions of the digestive tract include gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer, gastritis, and Crohn’s disease.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is usually the condition present in the upper digestive tract. This health problem represents the group of symptoms and endamagements caused by reflux of the gut content back into the gullet. The problem begins when the sphincter weakens and enables the content to be returned back into the gullet. The most frequent symptom of GERD is heartburn – a burning sensation in the chest which may potentially spread to the throat. Apart from heartburn, it can be followed by an acidic taste in the mouth, painful swallowing and a general feeling of having something in your throat.

The treatment of patients suffering from GERD depends on the severity of the condition. Those who suffer from a mild form may be prescribed antacids and antihistamines, or else be advised to lose weight and avoid late meals heavy on the stomach. In case of a more severe condition, proton-pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, are used. If none of the treatments prove effective, a surgical procedure usually yields the best results.

Peptic ulcer is one of the most frequent illnesses of the digestive tract and it is characterized by the presence of ulcer in the gut or on the duodenum. The risk factors include old age, infection caused by Helicobacter Pyilori, or the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac). The symptoms are pain in the stomach after a meal, bloating, heartburn, sickness, and more severe conditions may be followed by hematemesis (vomiting blood).

Gastritis occurs due to the stomach lining inflammation and it can be acute and chronic. Acute gastritis is usually caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, alcohol abuse or toxic bacterial infection. It is followed by the loss of appetite, food aversion, or vomiting. When it comes to chronic gastritis, doctors make a distinction between type A and Type B. Type B is a lot more frequent and the chances of developing it increase with age. Hence, around 70 percent of all patients are usually over 50 year of age. The symptoms of chronic gastritis include pain in the upper left corner of the stomach, burping, bad breath, and bloating. It is extremely important to reduce the acidity of the stomach so doctors usually prescribe ranitidine, famotidine, or omeprazole.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory condition present in the digestive tract. The changes emerge at the end of the small intestine or the colon. Research has shown that genetics are a contributing factor although different bacterial and virus agents also lead to its development. Diarrhea, weight loss, high temperature and stomach pain are only some of the symptoms.