Gastrointestinal disorders are very common. The main disease associated with the same are constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, hemorrhoids, anal fissures and fistulas, colitis, colon polyps, and cancer. Most of these can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise and walking and proper medications. However, advanced stages of these disorders might require a surgery.
The main factors that cause gastrointestinal disorders include the following:
- Consumption of low fiber diet
- No exercise or less physical activity
- Excess consumption of dairy products like cheese or ice cream
- resisting the urge of bowel movement for different reasons including hemorrhoids
- Certain medications including antidepressants, strong pain medicines, antacid medicines etc.
- Overuse of stool softeners that weaken the bowel muscles
- Stressful lifestyle
The different types of gastrointestinal disorders commonly seen are as follows:
Constipation: Constipation means hard and infrequent stools. It is caused mainly due to low fiber diet and less water intake. It is not a very serious condition and can be treated by following a high fiber diet, exercising regularly and moving the bowels on a daily basis.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: irritable bowel syndrome upsets the stomach. The common symptoms are abdominal pain and cramps, gas and bloating, irregular stools such as hard, soft or urgent, constipation and diarrhea. This can be treated with medication, avoiding tea and coffee, increasing high fiber foods and minimising stress.
Anal Disorders: These include hemorrhoids(internal and external), anal fissures and fistulas, colon polyps and cancer, and colitis.
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels at the end of the anus. They are caused by excess pressure during a bowel movement. There are two types – internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids are the blood vessels which fall down into the anus as a result of straining. These can be treated by improving bowel habits. Surgery is only needed if it becomes chronic and very painful. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, is the vein that lies under the skin outside the anus. This turns into pile sometimes and is completely removed.
Anal fissures are cracks in the lining of the anal opening. Hard stools cause the same. It is one of the most painful conditions and can be treated by taking medicines, high fiber food intake and sitting in warm water. A surgery might be needed if it does not improve this way. On the other hand, fistulas cause itching and irritation followed by pain and bleeding. They need a surgery to treated and does not heal on its own.
Colon Polyps and cancer: a surgery is required called colorectal surgery to treat the disease. Early detection stands the best chance of cure.
Colitis: Colitis is of several types causing diarrhea, abdominal cramps. It is treated on the basis of colonoscopy and biopsy.