Digestive diseases are disorders of the digestive tract. The digestive tract is made up of the stomach, large and small intestines, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and the esophagus. At the Digestive and Liver Disease Center of San Antonio, they offer patient education and advanced diagnostic methods for a wide range of digestive and liver diseases. There are many different types of digestive diseases such as:
- Rectal problems: hemorrhoids, anal fissure, and rectal prolapse.
- Esophagus Problems: stricture and achalasia.
- Stomach Problems: gastric ulcers and gastritis.
- Liver Problems: hepatitis B, hepatitis C, cirrhosis, liver failure, and alcoholic hepatitis.
- Intestinal Problems: cancer, infections, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, perticulitis, malabsorption, short bowel syndrome, and intestinal ischemia.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
There are many signs of digestive disease, here are the first signs:
- Nausea and Vomiting: nausea is feeling the urge to vomit, and vomiting is forcing the contents of the stomach up through your esophagus and out of your mouth. This early warning sign can be for:
- Bleeding: may occur inside the body when blood leaks from blood vessels or organs. It can also occur outside of the body when blood flows through a natural opening or a break in the skin.
- Bloating: this is a condition when the abdomen feels full and tight. Your stomach may look swollen. Some common causes include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
- Lactose intolerance and problems digesting other foods.
- Small bowel bacterial overgrowth.
- Constipation: occurs when people have hard stools or have problems passing stools.
- Diarrhea: this is when you pass loose or watery stool. It may be caused by bacteria or parasites found in food and water.
- Heartburn: this is a painful burning feeling just below or behind the breastbone. Most of the time it comes from the esophagus, and the pain often rises in your chest from your stomach. If you have it very often, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Heartburn may be more likely if you have a hiatal hernia: a condition which occurs when the top part of the stomach pokes into the chest cavity.
- Abdominal Pain: pain you feel anywhere between your chest and groin. Because almost everyone has pain in the abdomen at some point, there are four different ways you can describe this pain:
- Generalized pain: you feel it in more than half of your stomach. This pain can typically indicate a stomach virus, indigestion, or gas. If it becomes more severe, it can be a sign of a blockage in the intestines.
- Localized pain: found in only one area of your stomach. More likely to be a sign of organ problems such as the appendix, gallbladder, or stomach.
- Cramp-like pain: not severe most of the time but can be caused by gas or bloating and often followed by diarrhea.
- Colicky pain: this pain comes in waves. It very often starts and ends suddenly and can be severe. Kidney stones and gallstones are common causes of this stomach pain.
- Weight gain: unintentional weight gain is when you gain weight without trying to do so, and there is no change in your drinking or eating habits. Some causes can be drugs, lower metabolism, hormone changes, bloating, or swelling.
- Weight loss: a decrease in body weight unintentionally. Some causes can be cancer, chronic infections, and illnesses, drugs, stress or anxiety, eating disorders, overactive thyroid gland, and diabetes. Inflammatory Bowel Disease and many other diseases are known to cause rapid unintended weight loss. Chronic digestive system problems that decrease the number of calories and nutrients your body absorbs are diarrhea, chronic swelling in the pancreas, removal of the small intestine, and overuse of laxatives.
There are different ways you can test for digestive problems such as getting a colonoscopy, upper GI endoscopy, capsule endoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and endoscopic ultrasound. If surgery is needed, most procedures are performed on the digestive tract.
Out of all the signs of digestive disease, the top four can be any one of the symptoms listed above. It depends on the severity of the symptom and the diagnosis from a healthcare professional. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms contact the Digestive Liver Disease Center of San Antonio to get help today!