The digestive system is an intricate and extensive part of the body. It ranges all the way from the mouth to the rectum. The digestive system helps your body absorb essential nutrients and is responsible for getting rid of waste. Digestion problems can mean more than unwanted symptoms. Minor problems that are left untreated can lead to more serious, chronic illnesses.
Digestive diseases are disorders of the digestive tract, which is sometimes called the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. In digestion, food and drink are broken down into small parts (called nutrients) that the body can absorb and use as energy and building blocks for cells.
The digestive tract is made up of the esophagus (food tube), stomach, large and small intestines, liver, pancreas, and the gallbladder. Some common problems include cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and lactose intolerance. Other digestive diseases include: Gallstones, cholecystitis, and cholangitis.
Chronic constipation indicates a problem with getting rid of waste. This most often occurs when the colon can’t pass or move stools through the rest of the digestive tract. You may experience abdominal pain and bloating as well as fewer bowel movements (which are more painful than usual). Chronic constipation is one of the most common digestive problems in the United States.Getting enough fiber, water, and exercise will likely help curb constipation.
Food intolerance occurs when your digestive system can’t tolerate certain foods. Unlike food allergies, which can cause hives and respiratory problems, an intolerance only affects digestion. Food intolerance is usually diagnosed by keeping and reviewing a food diary. Recording what you eat and when can help you identify which foods are triggering your symptoms.
Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, is one type of food intolerance. It causes digestive problems when you eat gluten (a protein in wheat, barley, and rye). People with celiac disease must follow a gluten-free diet to minimize symptoms and damage to the small intestine.
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