The gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which runs from the mouth to the anus, may be affected by gastrointestinal diseases. It is a very complex and extensive organ system. Therefore, there is a really large spectrum of more or less serious diseases and disorders that affect individual organs. GI disorders and diseases can occur physiologically with or without organic changes in the body.
Functional and organic disorders of the gastrointestinal tract
GI diseases that cause organic changes in the body symptoms by anatomical, histological, biochemical, or endoscopic findings include in particular:
- organ inflammation
- food intolerance
- autoimmune diseases
- cancer stomach
- ulcers liver
- cirrhosis and others.
FUNCTIONAL DISORDERS OF THE GI
All GI disorders without organic changes are collectively called dyspepsia. These are functional disorders of the regulation (changes in motility, tone, and disorders of hormonal regulation). Their occurrence is very common – almost every person encounters them in some form during their life. Difficulties of this type are not easy to diagnose because they are caused by many interacting factors without a single cause. Links to psychosocial conditions and nervous dysfunction are also common. The most common disorder in this category is irritable bowel syndrome.
GI functional disorders are divided according to the time course into:
- acute – often caused by food load or toxic effects
- chronic – lasting longer than 3 months
Upper and lower dyspepsia
Upper dyspepsia is a disease of the oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, duodenum, gallbladder, and bile ducts.
The most common symptoms are:
- easily localizable pressure pain in the upper abdomen
- bad taste in the mouth
- gargling feeling full of stomach or feeling “stomach on water”
Lower dyspepsia refers to disorders of the small and large intestine and rectum.
The symptoms are as follows:
- worse localizable pain in the lower abdomen
- emptying disorders
- diarrhea / constipation
Causes of GI disorders
The onset of the disease is usually due to a combination of many different factors that we can more or less influence.
Nervous instability and prolonged stress are often the triggers for many GI diseases. An unhealthy lifestyle also contributes greatly to the disease – inappropriate eating habits, smoking, alcohol, lack of exercise, as well as impaired body immunity, and poor hygiene habits. Of course, the undeniable influence of genetics cannot be mentioned.
The most common symptoms of GI disease
All disorders and diseases of the GI are equally presented by digestive problems. The most common include cramps, diarrhea, loss of appetite, constipation, or flatulence. In more serious diseases, such as inflammation or cancer, bleeding often occurs, which can lead to anemia if the condition is underestimated and a longer course of action.
Symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders in general:
- Uncomfortable stomach (bloating, pain or cramps)
- Weight loss that occurs unintentionally.
- Nausea and vomiting are common side effects.
- Appetite loss is common.
- Constipation and diarrhea (or sometimes both)
- Incontinence of the feces.
- Reflux of acid (heartburn)
Treatment and prevention of GI disorders
In case of recurrent difficulties, it is first necessary to rule out serious tumors and other serious diseases of the GI using a medical examination and subsequent laboratory analysis. If a disease with organic changes is demonstrated, appropriate treatment and pharmacotherapy, as suggested by the treating gastroenterologist, should be started as soon as possible.
In the case of any GI disease, it is necessary to focus on strengthening the immune system, as well as adjusting and subsequently following a proper lifestyle. Sufficient exercise and mental well-being are also important. Similar principles must be followed to prevent these difficulties. Concerning the type of disease, it is very often necessary to follow a special diet or eliminate selected groups of foods. In the chronic state, it is appropriate to support pharmacotherapy with natural preparations based on medicinal herbs.
Help in nature
Herbs have long been a great helper in the fight against diseases of various kinds. In the field of gastrointestinal disorders, this is clearly true.
There are a number of herbs that serve to prevent the disease or help alleviate its course. Herbs can also be an adjunct to conventional pharmacological treatment. Let’s take a look at the most important ones.
Read here for Home Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disease