Digestive System Diseases and Disorders

There are a number of organs in the digestive system including the liver, pancreas,and digestive tract (in other words the esophagus, stomach and intestines) that have a role to play in the digestive process, and the functioning of the digestive system can be affected by many different conditions disorders and diseases.

Common conditions like indigestion can make you feel uncomfortable but you can usually get better with little or no treatment. On the other hand there are diseases that can affect parts of the digestive system which can have a long lasting impact on the functioning of the system. An example of this kind of disease is inflammatory bowel disease, also known simply as IBD. If a person has IBD, a specialist called a gastroenterologist is called upon to help them deal with the disease.

There are three common conditions that individual can have that affect the esophagus: Tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia are congenital conditions. These conditions are usually detected soon after birth and both require surgery in order for the digestive systems to work in babies with these conditions.

Esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus and is a noncongenital condition. Those people who suffer from esophagitis usually have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which causes the esophagitis. GERD can sometimes be healed with lifestyle changes such as by making changes in food selection but usuallythe patient needs medication to bring relief. Sometimes taking a certain medication or an infection can cause esophagitis.

Most people at one time or another experience diarrhea and constipation. One not so common stomach and intestinal disorder is Celiac disease, which is caused by an abnormal response that the immune system has to a protein called gluten found in certain foods that we eat. When people with Celiac disease eat foods that contain gluten, damage can be done to the lining of the intestines. Symptoms that they may experience include abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.

Gastritis a condition in which the lining of the stomach becomes irritated or inflamed and peptic ulcers (sores or holes) form in the lining of the stomach or duodenum causing pain and/or bleeding. Both of these conditions can be relieved with medication.

A chronic inflammation of the intestines that affects older kids, teens, and adults is an inflammation of the intestines. There are two types of IBD – ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both types are treated with medication, and if needed surgery to remove inflamed or damaged parts of the intestine.

Most people have heard of Cystic fibrosis, a chronic, inherited disease in which production of thick mucus blocks the ducts in the pancreas. This blockage prevents digestive juices from entering into the intestines. Without these juices it is difficult to break down and digest fats and proteins. When these ingredients are not digested the body can’t use them and they pass through the body without being used.

Liver damage is a possibility when people contract hepatitis, which is a viral infection of the liver.

Cholecystitis is when the gallbladder becomes inflamed and gallstones can develop. Teens can get cholecystitis particularly if they have sickle cell anemia or if they have been treated with certain long-term medications.

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