If you suffer from stomach or bowel ailments, you may need to seek medical advice. A number of gastrointestinal diseases may cause health problems. Finding the reason behind your stomach or bowel problem is important for staying healthy. The gastrointestinal system consists of the stomach, intestines and a number of other organs in the body. Disease may affect any of these organs. Understanding the different types of diseases that affect this system may help you prevent, locate or treat potential health problems.
Diseases of the Esophagus
The esophagus is the tube that leads from the throat to the stomach. Everything you eat or drink travels through the esophagus in order to reach the stomach. Diseases that affect this area may prevent you from doing these necessary functions. Smoking cigarettes or drinking excessive alcohol may (but not always) cause esophageal cancer. This is also one of the gastrointestinal diseases that may not present symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms do show, you may experience painful swallowing as well as coughing up blood. Doctors may treat esophageal cancer with surgery to remove damaged tissue or radiation therapy to kill cancerous cells.
Diseases of the Stomach
Your stomach has acids that help break down food. When your stomach acids get out of control, you may have problems that cause bleeding or sores. Gastrointestinal diseases caused in the stomach may cause intense pain, bleeding and cramps. These symptoms may be treatable if found in the earliest stages. Common disorders of the stomach include acid reflux disease and indigestion. You may treat these problems with over-the-counter medications. However, it may be best to see your doctor if these problems persist. There can be more serious problems for prolonged symptoms.
Diseases of the Colon
The colon consists of the small and large intestines. It turns food into energy and sends the nutrients to every organ of the body. When the system becomes affected by cancer, your body does not receive the nutrition it needs to be healthy. Colon cancer is one of the gastrointestinal diseases that may lead to death if left untreated. It begins in the large intestine and spreads to other areas. Most colon cancers begin in the benign stage, which means non-cancerous. However, it can become malignant (cancerous) and spread rapidly to the rectum. You may experience problems producing bowel movements. You can also see bleeding from the rectum, pain in the abdomen and unexplained weight loss. Treatment may include radiation therapy to kill any cancerous tissue.
Gastrointestinal diseases may affect you if you have a family history of cancer. Eating healthy foods may help keep the stomach and intestinal systems free of cancerous cells. Getting plenty of exercise may also help. Remember to drink the recommended amount of water to help keep the intestines working properly. Water helps prevent constipation and regulates the breakdown of nutrients in the intestinal tract.
Tips and comments
If you experience bleeding or pain, consult a physician. Also, report any abnormal swelling in the abdominal region. Getting regular checkups may help locate potential gastrointestinal diseases that may or may not present any symptoms.
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