Your Digestive System Problems Explained

Your digestive system helps with the digestion, absorption, transport and excretion of nutrients needed for growth, good health and survival. The organs of the digestive tract can be adversely affected by illness.

4 of the Most Common Digestive System Diseases

 

Read on to find out more about digestive illnesses and their symptoms:

1. Gastritis

Stomach

 

Gastritis is a general term used to describe inflammation of the mucosa (lining) of the stomach. The two main forms of gastritis are acute gastritis and chronic gastritis

Obvious signs of acute gastritis are vomiting blood and passing blood in the stools.

In chronic gastritis, the inflammation in the stomach is caused by specific inflammatory cells that are generally present in chronic inflammation.

 

2. Colorectal cancer

Colon

 

This cancer, which affects the large bowel (colon) and the rectum, is common in Western countries.
Long-standing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), particularly ulcerative colitis, increases the risk of developing of developing colon cancer.

Up to 25 % of people with colorectal cancer have a family history of the disease. It is therefore vital that people with a family history inform their doctors, as regular screening tests (usually routine colonoscopy) will be able to detect early warning signs.

 

3. Hepatitis

Liver

 

The liver the largest organ in the body by weight and it receives one third of the body’s  blood supply.

The liver has many complex functions. These include the formation of bile to help digestion of food, the production of enzymes to convert food to energy, the production of plasma proteins and blood clotting factors, and the filtering and detoxification of the blood.

Hepatitis” simply means that the liver is inflamed. Hepatitis can be either obstructive or viral.
In South Africa, the hepatitis A, B and C viruses are the most common causes of hepatitis.

Signs that indicate inflammation include, pain in the right upper abdomen, fever, nausea and vomiting and a yellow tinge to the eyes and skin (jaundice).

 

4. Gallstones

Gallbladder

 

The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped pouch. Gallstones form when liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens into pieces of stone-like material.

Many people with gallstones have no symptoms and are unaware they even have them until the stones show up in tests performed for another reason.

When symptoms do develop, it is usually because the gallbladder wall becomes inflamed or the stones have moved out of the gallbladder and blocked the duct connected to the intestine.

A typical gallstone “attack” can happen suddenly and often follows a fatty meal, with symptoms frequently occurring during the night. The attack usually starts as a continuous upper abdomen pain that increases rapidly and lasts from 30 minutes to several hours.

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