For many of us, there is something awkward and uncomfortable when talking about our digestive problems. Why are stomachs so embarrassing for so many people to discuss? Because of this, many people go day to day suffering in silence. In fact, digestive disorders are placing a “growing burden” on Americans. More and more people are making doctor and hospital visits for their digestive issues, but luckily, there are numerous treatments available for many of these digestive problems.
Here are some of the most common digestive problems today:
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, also known as GERD, occurs when the stomach acids back up into the esophagus. This is a more serious case of acid reflux. Heartburn is common among many people, but those with this disease typically experience heartburn more than twice a week. While heartburn is the largest and most common symptom, some may also experience nausea and regurgitation.
Gallstones are small little pebbles that are made of hardened cholesterol and bile salts, and they present themselves in the gallbladder. Only around one fourth of the people with gallstones will need treatment. Every year, there are almost one million Americans who experience gallstones. Many times, the gallbladder will need to be surgically removed. In fact, it is one of the most common surgeries in the United States.
The gallbladder will usually only need to be removed if the stones inflame or infect gallbladder, pancreas, or liver. This usually occurs if a stone gets stuck between the liver and small intestine, blocking the flow of bile. If this happens, it can be extremely painful and often requires a trip to the emergency room. You may also experience fever, vomiting, nausea, and pain for over five hours. There is no exact cause, but it is believed to be caused by too much cholesterol in the bile, too much bilirubin in the bile, or concentrated bile from a full gallbladder.
There are over 200,000 cases of celiac disease in the United States each year. However, it is also estimated the 83% of people with celiac disease aren’t aware that they have it.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease and affects people whose bodies can’t tolerate gluten. Gluten is found in many foods like wheat, rye, and barley. If you eat gluten and have this disease, your body will begin to attack itself – primarily the small intestine, which absorbs nutrients from the foods we eat.
Abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and weight loss are some of the symptoms in children. However, adults may also experience anemia, fatigue, bone loss, depression, and seizures. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease – unless you completely cut out gluten. On the other hand, brown rice, quinoa, lentils, soy flour, corn flour, and amaranth are other delicious alternatives to gluten.
25 million Americans will experience a peptic ulcer at some point in their life. Peptic ulcers are painful, but the worst thing you can do is to take a painkiller for the pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs can actually worsen the pain. Experts aren’t exactly sure how ulcers are caused, but they do have an idea of a few various factors: alcohol, stress, anti-inflammatory drugs, smoking, radiation, Helicobacter pylori, and stomach cancer.
If you have a peptic ulcer, you may experience a burning sensation in your abdominal area, from the naval to the chest. The pain affects everyone differently. Sometimes, the pain can be so intense that it wakes you up in the middle of the night. However, some people may not show any symptoms early on.
Here are some common symptoms:
- Changes in appetite
- Bloody or dark stools
- Weight loss
- Chest pain
Diverticulitis occurs when the small pouches along the large intestine become infected and inflamed, and it is seen predominantly in those over forty years old. Some of the symptoms include severe lower left side abdominal pain, constipation, fever, and nausea. Most people who have diverticulitis are told to avoid nuts and popcorn to ensure they won’t get lodged in one of the pouches. Some doctors think that a low-fiber diet might cause diverticulitis.
Digestive & Liver Disease Center of San Antonio
If you are suffering from any type of digestive problem, rest assured that you will find the help you need at the Digestive & Liver Disease Center of San Antonio. Our specialists will be able to perform an evaluation, provide a diagnosis, and offer treatments. Your digestive problems shouldn’t slow you down or keep you from doing the things you love. Call our team at (210) 941-1662 to set up an appointment today!