People may keep it a secret from the crowd, but digestive issues are as common as the cold in many. Many symptoms are embarrassing, thus not only being kept quiet from friends and family, but not told do your Primary Care Physician (PCP) as well. More often than not, your PCP will refer you to a gastroenterologist to diagnose, treat and monitor any issues you may be having. We have put together a list of the five most common digestive conditions. Don’t worry, you are not alone if your particular conditions isn’t in our most common list. Some are more serious than others, and visiting your physician is the most important step in beginning your path to wellness. Take a look:
1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): “A burning sensation in the middle of the chest.” Quite possibly the most heard complaint from a patient in a gastroenterologist’s office across the country. When acid backs up into your esophagus, a condition called acid reflux occurs. Often, this occurs after meals or at night when an individual is laying down. From time to time, it’s not uncommon to experience some acid reflux or heartburn. When the condition effects the quality of life, stronger measures are needed. More often than not, avoiding foods and beverages that cause an individual’s heartburn is the answer to relief. In some cases, physicians will perform an esophageal manometry test to assist with the diagnosis the condition.
2. Gallstones: Hard deposits that form in your gallbladder, gallstones effect twenty million Americans annually. When too much cholesterol or waste in your bile or your gallbladder doesn’t empty properly, painful gallstones occur. The pain is usually in the upper right abdomen and only relieved by medication to dissolve the stones or surgery to remove the gallbladder.
3. Celiac Disease: According to the Foundation for Celiac Awareness, 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease. What’s more shocking, a whopping 83% who have the condition don’t even know it. All over the country now we see gluten free food, and that’s exactly a response to celiac disease and our growing knowledge of the disease. Signs include weight loss, abdominal pain and bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia and depression. The only treatment is to cut out gluten foods altogether, thus the popularity of gluten-free substitutes hitting the market.
4. Crohn’s Disease: Crohn’s disease is a part of a group of digestive diseases called Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, an estimated 700,000 Americans may be affected. Crohn’s disease most often affects the end of the small intestine called the ileum, but it can affect any part of the digestive tract. Topical pain relievers, immunosuppressants, and surgery are the most likely treatments depending on the symptoms.
5. Ulcerative Colitis: Another disease in the group that makes up IBD. As with Crohn’s Disease, 700,000 are estimated to be affected. When your immune system mistakes food or other materials for invaders, sores of ulcers develop in the colon’s lining. Symptoms include frequent and urgent bowel movement, pain with diarrhea, blood in your stool and abdominal cramps. Treatment includes medications that suppress inflammation, and cutting out foods that cause discomfort. In severe cases, surgery to remove the colon is required.
If you feel you have any of the above conditions, don’t hesitate to contact us and see a physician today.