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Gastrointestinal Diseases: Symptoms, Treatment & Causes

What are gastrointestinal diseases?

Gastrointestinal diseases affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the mouth to the anus. There are two types: functional and structural. Some examples include nausea/vomiting, food poisoning, lactose intolerance and diarrhea.

What are functional gastrointestinal diseases?

Functional diseases are those in which the GI tract looks normal when examined, but doesn’t move properly. They are the most common problems affecting the GI tract (including the colon and rectum). Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea, food poisoning, gas, bloating, GERD and diarrhea are common examples.

Many factors may upset your GI tract and its motility (ability to keep moving), including:

  • Eating a diet low in fiber.
  • Not getting enough exercise.
  • Traveling or other changes in routine.
  • Eating large amounts of dairy products.
  • Stress.
  • Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement, possibly because of hemorrhoids.
  • Overusing anti-diarrheal medications that, over time, weaken the bowel muscle movements called motility.
  • Taking antacid medicines containing calcium or aluminum.
  • Taking certain medicines (especially antidepressants, iron pills and strong pain medicines such as narcotics).
  • Pregnancy.

What are structural gastrointestinal diseases?

Structural gastrointestinal diseases are those where your bowel looks abnormal upon examination and also doesn’t work properly. Sometimes, the structural abnormality needs to be removed surgically. Common examples of structural GI diseases include strictures, stenosis, hemorrhoids, diverticular disease, colon polyps, colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.


Constipation, which is a functional problem, makes it hard for you to have a bowel movement (or pass stools), the stools are infrequent (less than three times a week), or incomplete. Constipation is usually caused by inadequate “roughage” or fiber in your diet, or a disruption of your regular routine or diet.

Constipation causes you to strain during a bowel movement. It may cause small, hard stools and sometimes anal problems such as fissures and hemorrhoids. Constipation is rarely the sign that you have a more serious medical condition.

You can treat your constipation by:

  • Increasing the amount of fiber and water to your diet.
  • Exercising regularly and increasing the intensity of your exercises as tolerated.
  • Moving your bowels when you have the urge (resisting the urge causes constipation).

If these treatment methods don’t work, laxatives can be added. Note that you should make sure you are up to date with your colon cancer screening. Always follow the instructions on the laxative medicine, as well as the advice of your healthcare provider.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (also called spastic colon, irritable colon, IBS, or nervous stomach) is a functional condition where your colon muscle contracts more or less often than “normal.” Certain foods, medicines and emotional stress are some factors that can trigger IBS.

Symptoms of IBS include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps.
  • Excess gas.
  • Bloating.
  • Change in bowel habits such as harder, looser, or more urgent stools than normal.
  • Alternating constipation and diarrhea.

Treatment includes:

  • Avoiding excessive caffeine.
  • Increasing fiber in your diet.
  • Monitoring which foods trigger your IBS (and avoiding these foods).
  • Minimizing stress or learning different ways to cope with stress.
  • Taking medicines as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
  • Avoiding dehydration, and hydrating well throughout the day.
  • Getting high quality rest/sleep.


Hemorrhoids are dilated veins in the anal canal, structural disease. They’re swollen blood vessels that line your anal opening. They are caused by chronic excess pressure from straining during a bowel movement, persistent diarrhea, or pregnancy. There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external.

Internal hemorrhoids

Internal hemorrhoids are blood vessels on the inside of your anal opening. When they fall down into the anus as a result of straining, they become irritated and start to bleed. Ultimately, internal hemorrhoids can fall down enough to prolapse (sink or stick) out of the anus.

Treatment includes:

  • Improving bowel habits (such as avoiding constipation, not straining during bowel movements and moving your bowels when you have the urge).
  • Your healthcare provider using ligating bands to eliminate the vessels.
  • Your healthcare provider removing them surgically. Surgery is needed only for a small number of people with very large, painful and persistent hemorrhoids.

External hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids are veins that lie just under the skin on the outside of the anus. Sometimes, after straining, the external hemorrhoidal veins burst and a blood clots form under the skin. This very painful condition is called a “pile.”

Treatment includes removing the clot and vein under local anesthesia and/or removing the hemorrhoid itself.

Anal fissures

Anal fissures are also a structural disease. They are splits or cracks in the lining of your anal opening. The most common cause of an anal fissure is the passage of very hard or watery stools. The crack in the anal lining exposes the underlying muscles that control the passage of stool through the anus and out of the body. An anal fissure is one of the most painful problems because the exposed muscles become irritated from exposure to stool or air, and leads to intense burning pain, bleeding, or spasm after bowel movements.

Initial treatment for anal fissures includes pain medicine, dietary fiber to reduce the occurrence of large, bulky stools and sitz baths (sitting in a few inches of warm water). If these treatments don’t relieve your pain, surgery might be needed to repair the sphincter muscle.

Perianal abscesses

Perianal abscesses, also a structural disease, can occur when the tiny anal glands that open on the inside of your anus become blocked, and the bacteria always present in these glands causes an infection. When pus develops, an abscess forms. Treatment includes draining the abscess, usually under local anesthesia in the healthcare provider’s office.

Anal fistula

An anal fistula – again, a structural disease – often follows drainage of an abscess and is an abnormal tube-like passageway from the anal canal to a hole in the skin near the opening of your anus. Body wastes traveling through your anal canal are diverted through this tiny channel and out through the skin, causing itching and irritation. Fistulas also cause drainage, pain and bleeding. They rarely heal by themselves and usually need surgery to drain the abscess and “close off” the fistula.

Other perianal infections

Sometimes the skin glands near your anus become infected and need to be drained, like in this structural disease. Just behind the anus, abscesses can form that contain a small tuft of hair at the back of the pelvis (called a pilonidal cyst).

Sexually transmitted diseases that can affect the anus include anal warts, herpes, AIDS, chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Diverticular disease

The structural disease diverticulosis is the presence of small outpouchings (diverticula) in the muscular wall of your large intestine that form in weakened areas of the bowel. They usually occur in the sigmoid colon, the high-pressure area of the lower large intestine.

Diverticular disease is very common and occurs in 10% of people over age 40 and in 50% of people over age 60 in Western cultures. It is often caused by too little roughage (fiber) in the diet. Diverticulosis can sometimes develop/progress into diverticulitis

Complications of diverticular disease happen in about 10% of people with outpouchings. They include infection or inflammation (diverticulitis), bleeding and obstruction. Treatment of diverticulitis includes treating the constipation and sometimes antibiotics if really severe. Surgery is needed as last resort in those who have significant complications to remove the involved diseased segment of the colon.

Colon polyps and cancer

Each year, 130,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the second most common form of cancer in the United States. Fortunately, with advances in early detection and treatment, colorectal cancer is one of the most curable forms of the disease. By using a variety of screening tests, it is possible to prevent, detect and treat the disease long before symptoms appear.

The importance of screening

Almost all colorectal cancers begin as polyps, benign (non-cancerous) growths in the tissues lining your colon and rectum. Cancer develops when these polyps grow and abnormal cells develop and start to invade surrounding tissue. Removal of polyps can prevent the development of colorectal cancer. Almost all precancerous polyps can be removed painlessly using a flexible lighted tube called a colonoscope. If not caught in the early stages, colorectal cancer can spread throughout the body. More advanced cancer requires more complicated surgical techniques.

Most early forms of colorectal cancer do not cause symptoms, which makes screening especially important. When symptoms do occur, the cancer might already be quite advanced. Symptoms include blood on or mixed in with the stool, a change in normal bowel habits, narrowing of the stool, abdominal pain, weight loss, or constant tiredness.

Most cases of colorectal cancer are detected in one of four ways:

  • By screening people at average risk for colorectal cancer beginning at age 45.
  • By screening people at higher risk for colorectal cancer (for example, those with a family history or a personal history of colon polyps or cancer).
  • By investigating the bowel in patients with symptoms.
  • A chance finding at a routine check-up.

Early detection is the best chance for a cure.


There are several types of colitis, which are conditions that cause an inflammation of the bowel. These include:

  • Infectious colitis.
  • Ulcerative colitis (cause unknown).
  • Crohn’s disease (cause unknown).
  • Ischemic colitis (caused by not enough blood going to the colon).
  • Radiation colitis (after radiotherapy).

Colitis causes diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps and urgency (frequent and immediate need to empty the bowels). Treatment depends on the diagnosis, which is made by colonoscopy and biopsy.


Can gastrointestinal diseases be prevented?

Many diseases of the colon and rectum can be prevented or minimized by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, practicing good bowel habits and getting screened for cancer.

A colonoscopy is recommended for average-risk patients at age 45. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, a colonoscopy may be recommended at a younger age. Typically, a colonoscopy is recommended 10 years younger than the affected family member. (For example, if your brother was diagnosed with colorectal cancer or polyps at age 45, you should begin screening at age 35.)

If you have symptoms of colorectal cancer you should consult your healthcare provider right away. Common symptoms include:

  • A change in normal bowel habits.
  • Blood on or in the stool that is either bright or dark.
  • Unusual abdominal or gas pains.
  • Very narrow stool.
  • A feeling that the bowel has not emptied completely after passing stool.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Anemia (low blood count).

Other types of gastrointestinal diseases

There are many other gastrointestinal diseases. Some are discussed, but others are not covered here. Other functional and structural diseases include peptic ulcer disease, gastritis, gastroenteritis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, gallstones, fecal incontinence, lactose intolerance, Hirschsprung disease, abdominal adhesions, Barrett’s esophagus, appendicitis, indigestion (dyspepsia), intestinal pseudo-obstruction, pancreatitis, short bowel syndrome, Whipple’s disease, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, malabsorption syndromes and hepatitis.

Diverticulitis Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid for Prevention or Treatment

Fiber is your friend when it comes to good digestive health. It promotes good bacteria, keeps the digestive track clean, and helps bulk the stool so it’s easier to pass.

If you’re looking to ward off or manage diverticulitis, here are some of the best high-fiber foods to eat, and how many grams (g) of fiber each serving has:

  • Bran cereal (1/3 cup): 8.6g
  • Kidney beans (1/3 cup): 7.9g
  • Lentils (½ cup): 7.8g
  • Black beans (½ cup): 7.6g
  • Chickpeas (½ cup): 5.3g
  • Baked beans (½ cup): 5.2g
  • Pear (1 medium): 5.1g
  • Soybeans (½ cup): 5.1g
  • Sweet potato, with skin (1 medium): 4.4g
  • Green peas (½ cup): 4.4g
  • Bulgur (½ cup): 4.1g
  • Mixed vegetables (½ cup): 4g
  • Raspberries (½ cup): 4g
  • Blackberries (½ cup): 3.8g
  • Almonds (1 ounce): 3.5g
  • Spinach, cooked (½ cup): 3.5g
  • Vegetable or soy patty: 3.4g
  • Apple (1 medium): 3.3g
  • Dates, dried (5 pieces): 3.3g

For many years, doctors advised people with diverticulosis not to eat nuts, seeds, or popcorn, which they believed could block the openings of diverticula and lead to flare-ups of diverticulitis. (3)

But research has never proven that eating these foods increases the risk of developing diverticulitis, and doctors no longer make this recommendation.

Because foods that are high in fiber are typically also high in vitamins and other nutrients, it’s best to get the fiber you need from food.

But if dietary restrictions prevent you from consuming all the fiber you need at meals, your doctor may recommend fiber supplements.

  • Psyllium, which is present in supplements like Metamucil and Konsyl, is one fiber option. This supplement may be sold as a powder or liquid, in granules, capsules, or as a wafer. (4)
  • Methylcellulose-based supplements, like Citrucel, are typically sold in powder or granular form.
  • Chicory root fiber, inulin, oligofructose, and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) may increase good bacteria and improve immune function. (5,6)

Other Foods to Help Prevent Diverticulitis

Fiber and good bacteria are key components of a healthy digestive tract. Fiber itself helps promote good bacterial growth, but there are also foods containing active cultures that promote good digestion and prevent constipation that drives diverticulosis. (7,8)

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Kombucha

3 Key Difference Between Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Treating Crohn’s and Colitis

It’s important to know that neither Crohn’s nor ulcerative colitis can be cured, though doctors will work with patients to manage symptoms. The two illnesses are generally treated with the same types of medication, although each patient may respond differently to the same drug. The goal of treatment is to reduce the inflammation, which in turn reduces symptoms, allows your body to repair damaged tissue, and helps slow the progression of the disease.

Today, many patients get a relatively new class of drugs, called biologics, which are live antibodies that are given to patients to help their immune cells fight the inflammation. Other classes of drugs include immunomodulators, which help tamp down the immune system’s inflammatory response, and aminosalicylates, the oldest class of drugs, which are used to help keep the disease in remission. According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, immunomodulators can take up to six months to become fully effective, so doctors usually prescribe them along with fast-acting steroids that patients will ideally go off of once the immunomodulators reach their full potential. “I absolutely think that with these new drugs, it’s a new era in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease,” says Dr. Cohen.

Diet is also an important factor in managing flare-ups of both diseases. High-fiber vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, uncooked produce, and unpeeled fruit are foods that people with IBD have difficulty digesting. Dairy and fatty or greasy foods can also trigger symptoms. Try eating cooked vegetables, nut butters instead of whole nuts, and lean meats and fish. But each body is different. Working with a dietitian can help you determine which foods you should avoid

When Surgery Is Needed

If medication isn’t reducing the inflammation and IBD progresses, surgery may be needed. This is where people with ulcerative colitis tend to fare better.

“If the colon gets bad enough in ulcerative colitis, it’s removed and replaced with an internal pouch, which functions like a colon,” says Cohen. According to the Mayo Clinic, colectomy surgery — whether partial or full — usually requires additional procedures that reconnect the remaining portions of the digestive system so they can     still rid the body of waste.

However, things are looking up. A study published in December 2019 in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery found that due to advances in medicine and medical care for IBD patients over the past decade, the number of hospitalized patients with ulcerative colitis who require a colectomy decreased by nearly 50 percent between 2007 and 2016.

According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, proctocolectomy with ileal pouch–anal anastomosis — usually called J-pouch surgery — is the most common surgery performed on people with UC who have not responded to medication. Surgeons remove the rectum and colon and then create a temporary opening in the abdomen, called a loop ileostomy, which will allow waste to move from the small intestine into an ostomy bag that sits outside the body while the digestive system heals from the surgery. In some cases a stoma, or permanent opening in the abdomen that funnels waste into an external bag, is required, notes the Mayo Clinic.

Since Crohn’s can occur anywhere in the digestive tract, simply removing the colon won’t cure the disease. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 70 to 80 percent of people with Crohn’s disease will eventually require surgery. Typically in people with Crohn’s, smaller pieces of the colon will be removed to try and preserve as much of the healthy intestines as possible. This requires more frequent surgeries.

In severe cases, Crohn’s can cause tears or holes in the bowel, causing a fistula, or a tunnel that leads from one section of the bowel to another. Fistulas are serious and need to be repaired. About one-half of Crohn’s patients will require surgery within 10 years of diagnosis, compared with about 10 to 30 percent of adults with ulcerative colitis. But treating both Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis early and effectively may slow the progression of the diseases, and delay the need for surgery.

Additional reporting by Kaitlin Sullivan.

Do You Have EPI or Something Else?

Conditions That Cause EPI-Like Symptoms

EPI’s symptoms mirror those of many other digestive health problems, including:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome: IBS is marked by abdominal pain, bloating, bouts of diarrhea or constipation, and flatulence. People with IBS will see mucus in their stool, says Dr. Anderson, rather than fat. (Fatty stools, or steatorrhea, are a telltale sign of EPI.) Like those of EPI, IBS symptoms tend to occur after eating, but IBS may also be triggered by stress, infection, and other factors.
  • Crohn’s disease: A type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s is marked by chronic inflammation of the GI tract, such as the end of the small intestine. As with EPI, notes Anderson, people who have Crohn’s often experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, steatorrhea, and weight loss. But, she adds, Crohn’s also typically causes bloody stools, fever, and anemia, a decrease in red blood cells that can cause fatigue. People with Crohn’s also often suffer from loss of appetite and may experience inflammatory symptoms outside the gut, such as rashes or joint pain.
  • Ulcerative colitis: People with either EPI or ulcerative colitis can experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss, but Anderson says that ulcerative colitis doesn’t typically cause bloating, flatulence, or steatorrhea, though it can trigger mucus — not fat — in stools. Ulcerative colitis is more similar to Crohn’s, in that it’s an IBD, but with colitis, inflammation is located in the large intestine. The two conditions also share symptoms such as anemia, loss of appetite, and bloody stools, as well as some that affect the skin, eyes, and joints.
  • Celiac disease: Celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity, and EPI arguably have the most symptoms in common, says Anderson. Like those with EPI, people with celiac disease experience abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, steatorrhea, and weight loss but may also have anemia, and some — about 10 percent of the people she treats, Anderson says — will feel constipated. Another difference is that the diarrhea caused by celiac disease tends to be more watery. While you may primarily notice symptoms of EPI after eating foods that contain fat, people with celiac disease experience symptoms when eating breads, pastas, cereals, and other foods that contain gluten.
  • Infections: In some instances, bowel problems may be a sign of excess bacteria in your small intestine. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) shares many of the symptoms of EPI.

How EPI Is Diagnosed

According to Anderson, physicians have historically used stool collection studies during the diagnostic process for EPI. During these tests, designed to assess the ability of the pancreas to produce and secrete fat-digesting enzymes, people who are suspected to have EPI would be instructed to consume a high-fat diet — more than 100 grams of fat a day, equal to a stick of butter — for two or three days.

Doctors would then measure the amount of fat in the stool. If there was more than 7 grams of fat in the stool over a 24-hour period, it would be considered malabsorption and thus signal EPI.

The problem with this test is that Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis may also cause problems with fat absorption, so they would also provide a positive test result — and that doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong with their pancreas, says Anderson.

Fecal elastase tests are also used to diagnose EPI. Elastase is one of the enzymes produced by the pancreas to help the body digest fat. Low levels of the enzyme in the stool mean the pancreas is not producing sufficient amounts to digest fat — a condition, of course, that results in EPI.

“If elastase levels are low, we know the problem is in the pancreas and it’s not something else,” Anderson explains.

On the other hand, Anderson notes, if you see blood in your stools, it would indicate that you might have a condition other than EPI. “Bloody stools [indicate] ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, or maybe even an underlying cancer — not EPI,” she says.

Still, Anderson emphasizes that people who suspect they may have EPI can — and should — influence their doctor’s decision to test for it, simply by using their own judgment.

“I always ask my patients, ‘Do you see fat in the toilet after you go to the bathroom?’ If they look at their stool and see fat globules or an oily sheen, as opposed to thick, yellow mucus or red blood, that’s a pretty specific sign that they have EPI instead of another disease, she says. “It’s not always an easy or comfortable conversation to have, but it can be the key to a timely diagnosis.”

Simple Ways to Manage Digestive Problems and Gastrointestinal Complications


Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “It’s About Eating Right.”

AHRQ: “Treatment Options for GERD or Acid Reflux Disease: A Review of the Research for Adults.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Antidiarrheal Medicines: OTC Relief for Diarrhea.

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Heartburn.”

American College of Gastroenterology: “Acid Reflux.”

American College of Gastroenterology: “Probiotics for the Treatment of Adult Gastrointestinal Disorders.”

American Family Physician: “Effective management of flatulence.”

American Gastroenterological Association: “Understanding Heartburn and Reflux Disease.”

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: “Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.”

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists: “Cimetidine.”

Brahm, N. The Consultant Pharmacist, April 2011.

Canadian Society of Intestinal Research: “Exercise helps pass gas.”

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh: “Organs: small and large intestine.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Constipation.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Diarrhea.”

Cleveland Clinic: “The Fiber Lifestyle.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Gas.”

Cleveland Clinic: “GERD.”

Cleveland Clinic: “GERD and Asthma.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Heartburn.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Heartburn Treatment.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Hemorrhoids.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Probiotics.”

FDA: “Possible Increased Risk of Bone Fractures with Certain Antacid Drugs.”

Harvard School of Public Health: “Fiber.”

Harvard Health: “Hemorrhoids and what to do about them.”

Hye-kyung J. Journal of Neurogastroenterol Motility, January 2010.

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: “Exercise & GI Symptoms.”

Katz, P. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2013.

National Institutes of Health: “Gas in the Digestive Tract.”

National Institutes of Health: “Hemorrhoids.”

National Institutes of Health: “Symptoms and Causes of Constipation.”

National Institutes of Health: “Your digestive system and how it works.”

NHLBI: “What are the symptoms of a heart attack?”

NIDDK: “Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Adults.

Thompson, W. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

Bowel disorders: Symptoms, causes, and treatment

Bowel disorders affect the organs in the digestive system, including the small and large intestines. These conditions can prevent the body from properly digesting and absorbing nutrients from food. This can cause symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation.

If a person does not seek treatment for them, bowel disorders can contribute to other health complications, including joint inflammation, malnutrition, and anemia.

Keep reading for more information about different types of bowel disorder, their symptoms, and how to treat them.

Share on PinterestA person with a bowel disorder may experience abdominal pain and cramps.

Bowel disorders affect the organs in the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as the small and large intestines.

The intestines digest food and absorb vital nutrients into the bloodstream. Conditions that affect these organs cause many symptoms that affect digestion.

Some common symptoms of bowel disorders include:

There are several types of bowel disorder, including:

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) refers to a number of symptoms that affect the digestive system. These symptoms include:

  • intermittent abdominal discomfort or pain
  • diarrhea
  • constipation

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), IBS is a type of functional GI disorder that increases gut sensitivity and changes how the muscles in the bowels react to stimuli.

Increased gut sensitivity can cause stomach pain and bloating, while changes in intestinal contractions can lead to diarrhea or constipation.

Learn about how to cope with the symptoms of IBS here.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term that describes several conditions that can cause inflammation in the digestive system.

Inflammation in the digestive tract causes severe abdominal pain, cramps, and diarrhea. It also impairs the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. If a person does not seek treatment for it, over time, IBD can lead to further complications, such as malnutrition and anemia.

The two types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract but usually involves the small intestine. Ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine and rectum.

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that damages the small intestine. Autoimmune conditions cause the immune system to attack the body.

In celiac disease, the body launches this attack when a person ingests gluten, which is a protein present in wheat, rye, and barley. Ingesting gluten triggers an immune response that attacks the villi in the small intestine.

The villi help transport nutrients from food into the bloodstream. Continual damage to the villi can lead to malnutrition, a variety of digestive symptoms, skin rashes, and many other nondigestive symptoms, including irritability and bone loss.

Over time, celiac disease can even start to affect organ systems outside of the GI tract, such as the reproductive and nervous systems.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the inflammation caused by celiac disease may increase the risk of small intestine or esophageal cancer.


Diverticulosis causes inflammation in the colon, which results in the formation of small sacs in the walls of the colon.

Although diverticulosis can cause symptoms similar to those of other bowel disorders, most people with diverticulosis do not experience symptoms.

However, people may notice blood in their stools if one of the sacs becomes inflamed and swollen. If one of these bursts, it can cause severe pain and may lead to sepsis.

People with diverticulosis may develop an infection or inflammation in one or more sacs, resulting in a condition called diverticulitis.

Intestinal obstruction

Intestinal obstructions occur when a blockage forms in the intestines, preventing the normal passage of stools.

Learn more about intestinal obstruction here.

The exact cause of a bowel disorder depends on the condition itself.

Numerous factors can contribute to the development of bowel disorders. These include:

  • genetics and family history
  • changes in the gut microbiome, such as an overgrowth of harmful microbes
  • lifestyle factors, such as smoking, diet, and exercise levels
  • certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

It is possible to experience digestive symptoms without having a specific bowel disorder. The sections below describe two other possible causes of bowel-related symptoms.


A hernia develops when there is a weakness in the abdominal wall. Sections of the intestines, as well as abdominal fat inside the abdominal wall, can push through this weakness when people strain to pass a stool or lift something heavy.

Loops of intestine can sometimes get stuck, which can cause pain. If this cuts the blood supply off, it may also lead to other, more serious consequences.


Undergoing a surgical procedure that involves the lower GI tract can lead to the development of scar tissue, which can also develop into an intestinal obstruction.

People recovering from any surgical procedure may experience constipation related to their medications or a lack of physical exercise.

Surgery takes a significant toll on the body, and people may risk reopening an incision if they strain to pass a stool. Some ways to safely manage constipation after surgery include:

  • getting light exercise, if possible
  • staying hydrated
  • eating foods rich in fiber
  • avoiding foods that can cause constipation, such as processed foods and dairy products

People can also take laxatives to help soften stools and promote bowel movements. However, not all laxatives are suitable for people recovering from surgery. Be sure to consult a doctor about laxative use following surgery.

Learn more about constipation after surgery here.

Healthcare providers can use a combination of physical exams and laboratory tests to diagnose bowel disorders.

People who experience symptoms of a bowel disorder on a regular basis should make an appointment with a healthcare provider. At the appointment, they will ask about the type and duration of the symptoms the person has been experiencing.

Occasionally, a healthcare provider will use the Rome IV criteria to diagnose or rule out functional GI disorders such as IBS. According to the NIDDK, they may diagnose IBS if a person experiences:

  • pain that either worsens or improves after bowel movements
  • noticeable changes in bowel movement frequency
  • noticeable changes in the appearance of their stools

Specialized tests and scans may aid in the diagnose of IBD and intestinal obstructions. These can include:

  • blood and stool tests
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans
  • upper endoscopy, to examine the inside of the upper digestive tract
  • colonoscopy, to examine the inside of the colon

Treatment plans vary depending on which bowel disorder a person has. A healthcare provider may recommend making lifestyle and dietary changes in addition to taking medication and trying other medical treatments. This may include surgery, though this is rare.

Lifestyle and dietary changes

Depending on their condition, a person may be able to manage their symptoms and reduce their risk of flare-ups by making the following lifestyle and dietary changes:

  • avoiding gluten
  • avoiding foods that are difficult to digest, including meat, dairy, and beans
  • exercising regularly
  • reducing stress


A healthcare provider may also prescribe medication to help treat IBS and IBD. They may also suggest medications to treat the specific symptoms of these conditions, such as diarrhea and constipation.

Some examples of medications that a healthcare provider may prescribe to help treat bowel disorders include:

  • immunosuppressants
  • corticosteroids
  • antibiotics
  • biologics
  • antidiarrheal medication
  • stool softeners or laxatives

Bowel disorders can cause many symptoms, depending on which type a person has. In general, they can cause gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

Some people may be able to control their symptoms by taking certain medications and making lifestyle changes. Those who can manage their symptoms not only decrease their risk of flare-ups, but they may also lower their risk of developing additional health complications.

People can speak with their healthcare provider if they suspect that they have a bowel disorder, or if they want to learn more about the long term outlook and treatment options for their specific diagnosis.

Large Bowel Disorders & Treatment

The large bowel, also known as the colon or large intestine, begins at the region just at or below the right waist and continues from the small intestine and up the abdomen. The major function of the large intestine is to absorb water from the remaining indigestible food matter and transmit the useless waste material from the body.

Many disorders can affect the large intestine or colon, including:

Signs and symptoms of large bowel disorders

The types of symptoms that can occur with a large bowel disorder are dependent on what part of the large bowel is affected. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, as well as come and go with periods of flare-ups.  In addition, bowel problems can accompany other symptoms, which can vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Some of the more common symptoms of large bowel disorders include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling, distension or bloating
  • Bloody stool (blood may be red, black, or tarry in texture)
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills
  • Gas
  • Inability to defecate or pass gas
  • Nausea with or without vomiting

Other symptoms may be present with a large bowel disorder which can affect a patient’s general health and wellness such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Malnutrition
  • Skin and hair conditions
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Diagnosis of large bowel disorders

In order to diagnose what type of large bowel disorder a patient is experiencing or the severity of the disorder, your doctor will first conduct a complete medical history and physical examination. Diagnostic tests may also be used to assist in developing a treatment plan for your condition, and may include: 

  • Barium enema. Also known as a lower GI series; a barium solution is placed into the colon, and x-rays are taken.
  • Barium swallow. Also known as an upper GI series; the barium solution is used to coat the inner lining of the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine, and x-rays are taken.
  • Blood tests
  • Breath tests with lactose. A safe, simple and non-invasive method of assessing absorption. The test uses a nutrient that contains radioactive material which is measured in the breath.
  • Colonoscopy: A thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope is used to look at the inner lining of the large intestine. This test helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding. Tissue samples can be collected (biopsy) and abnormal growths can be taken out. This test can also be used as a screening test for cancer or precancerous growths (polyps) in the colon or rectum.

  • Less-invasive testing. Blood tests are available to help with a diagnosis. The Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is a newer version of the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) that detects minute traces of blood in the stool. 

  • Capsule endoscopy may be performed to provide an enhanced view of the lower digestive tract which may not be visible with a traditional colonoscopy.
  • Sigmoidoscopy:  A procedure used to see inside the rectum and the area of the large intestine nearest the rectum.
  • Imaging tests. X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, MRI, PET scans
  • MRI
  • Radio-nucleotide imaging: Typically used for diverticulitis and detection of gastrointestinal bleeding. A radioactive substance is injected into a vein. If there is intestinal bleeding, the radioactive substance will leak into the intestine together with the blood.
  • Ultrasound: Good for the detection of large intestinal tumors.

Treatment of large bowel disorders

In some cases, your physician may suggest a few simple measures to determine if your symptoms will subside, such as: 

  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid foods that trigger the symptoms
  • Exercise 
  • Increase dietary fiber 
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Medications (i.e., over-the-counter or prescription medications)

Some conditions, such as C difficile infection, will be treated in collaboration with other Summa clinicians, including our colorectal surgeons and infectious disease specialists.

As an advanced treatment measure, your specialist may recommend surgery. Summa surgeons perform many large bowel procedures including:

To schedule an appointment with a Summa physician to discuss treatment for your gastrointestinal condition, click or call 234.867.7965.


“Who irritates the intestines?”

Your child began to complain of abdominal pain, loose stools or, on the contrary, constipation. What to do? Of course go to the doctor.

And now you hear the diagnosis: Irritable Bowel Syndrome. What is it, and who annoys him? Previously, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was diagnosed only in adults, more and more often IBS is determined in children.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a so-called functional disorder of the colon.The term “functional” indicates that your child does not have an organic lesion in the intestines, ie. no inflammation, ulcers, cracks, worms, etc. But at the same time, the child complains of abdominal pain and has problems with stool.

By definition, functional impairment is a varied combination of gastrointestinal symptoms without structural or biochemical impairment. That is, the regulation of the organ’s activity is disrupted – it does not work correctly. The most studied mechanisms of disorders of nervous regulation, caused either by autonomic dysfunctions, often associated with psychoemotional and stress factors, or organic damage to the central nervous system and autonomic dystonia.In this case, organ motility is impaired in the case of IBS – the colon. The intestine begins to contract chaotically, regardless of the movement of the contents along it. Because of this, a person has a stomach ache, constipation or diarrhea appears. Remember people with “bear disease” – when before exams, interviews, etc. there is an uncontrollable desire to run to the toilet, while not always going to the toilet ends “fruitfully”. And some children from anxiety “forget” to go to the toilet and they have constipation. Over time, the condition worsens, as dense feces injure the intestines, children are afraid to empty their bowels.

Our children have a very tense life schedule – lessons at school, homework, extra classes, computer games, sports, as a result, children are afraid of being late, not completing a task, getting a bad grade, falling behind friends and, as a result, chronic stress. At the same time, the children do not have to complain to you. The child becomes more irritable, does not fall asleep well, or vice versa gets tired quickly during the day, lethargic, wakes up with difficulty in the morning. Suddenly a small (or already “big”) man begins to complain before school about abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea.Someone immediately calls a doctor, and someone, on the contrary, considers all this to be the inventions of a “lazy person”. But he DOES have a stomach ache, and in fact EVERYTHING goes away as soon as you leave him at home.

What to do if you notice these symptoms in a child. First of all, do not worry and consult a pediatrician or gastroenterologist.

Do not be surprised when the doctor starts asking about the first year of your baby’s life (even if the “baby” is fifteen years old). Patients with IBS in the first year of life often have severe colic that does not go away from simple regime activities.The doctor will carefully ask how many times a day the child has stool, in the morning or in the evening, because of what the stomach hurts (from hunger, after eating, before school, exams, etc.), how the child sleeps, eats, studies. Do not be surprised, as already mentioned, the cause of abdominal pain may not lie in the organ that “hurts”, ie. intestine, and far beyond. Then the doctor will prescribe various tests and examinations for your child, including endoscopic – examination of the intestine from the inside. To clarify the diagnosis, you may need to consult a neuropathologist or neuropsychiatrist, a gynecologist for girls and other specialists.Only after making sure that the child does not have inflammation, worms, infection, etc. a doctor can diagnose irritable bowel syndrome.

If your child has lost weight, his temperature periodically rises without signs of SARS, there was blood in the stool, pay attention to these symptoms, any of them excludes the diagnosis of IBS!

Therapy of a patient with irritable bowel syndrome is a complex step-by-step process. At the beginning, it is necessary to normalize the child’s day regimen. Compliance with the daily regimen is one of the main links of therapy in these children.The child should not stay up late, before going to bed, be sure to have a soft shower, airing the room. These children should eat at the same time. Parents should monitor the child’s bowel movements on a daily basis, while not only a preschooler, but also a younger student, and at an older age, they should regularly ask their child whether he had stools today, what consistency, were there any impurities (blood, mucus, not overcooked food).

Review your child’s workload.After consulting a neuropsychiatrist, determine how many days a week your child can study, how many hours a day to study on the computer and watch TV. Don’t forget to take daily walks and exercise.

Try to identify what worries the child, what he is worried about.

Complex drug therapy for irritable bowel syndrome. The doctor will prescribe drugs that normalize stool consistency, correct intestinal motility, etc.

Do not forget that the correction of neurological disorders is one of the important links in the chain of IBS therapy.Do not neglect the prescriptions of a neuropsychiatrist. If you have any questions about the prescribed drugs, you are afraid to give them to your child, be sure to talk with your doctor – he will either replace the drug or explain its necessity and safety.

In conclusion, I would like to remind you that the disease is easier to prevent than to cure. Do not forget that a large number of activities can bring your child not only benefit, but also harm, calculate in advance the capabilities of your baby, and then your little man will be not only smart, but also healthy.Be healthy.

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Bowel diseases – articles on gastroenterology


A disease of the gastrointestinal tract familiar to almost everyone can be either an independent disease or a symptom of another, more serious pathology.


What is enterocolitis? The general name for inflammatory diseases of the small and large intestines. We can say that this is not a diagnosis, but a group of diseases.

Ulcerative colitis (UC)

Severe disease of unknown etiology. This is thought to be an autoimmune problem. So far, only a surgical operation allows you to completely get rid of it.

Intestinal polyps

Polyps on the intestinal walls rarely present themselves as symptoms, but over time they can turn into malignant neoplasms. Therefore, if polyps are found, it is better to get rid of them.

Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is a fairly rare diagnosis, in part because it can be difficult to recognize.The cause of the disease is the malfunctioning of its own immunity, which attacks the gastrointestinal tract, which leads to chronic inflammation. They can talk about the disease: weakness, recurrent, persistent abdominal pain, nausea, fever and mouth ulcers.

Intestinal colitis in adults

Pain, rumbling, bloating and a feeling of fullness in the intestines may indicate colitis. It is better not to ignore such symptoms. After all, untreated colitis sometimes causes severe complications, such as ulcers.Fortunately, colitis can be cured if you see your doctor in time and adjust your diet.

Abdominal pain: possible causes

Problems with the intestines are a very delicate topic that is not widely discussed.

Traveler’s diarrhea

Diarrhea, or, more simply, diarrhea, awaits us, especially in underdeveloped countries with low levels of hygiene.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition associated with recurrent abdominal pain, stool disorders, and bloating.The disorder can occur spontaneously, with a certain frequency, causing great discomfort. This condition can and should be controlled, treated, and preventive measures taken. Below is detailed information about its causes, symptoms and treatment.

Intestinal obstruction

Intestinal obstruction is a condition in which the movement of food through the intestines is seriously disturbed or completely stopped.

Colon diverticulosis

Colon diverticulosis is a disease in which small, up to one or two centimeters in size, saccular protrusions (diverticula) form in the intestinal wall.

Gas formation: causes and consequences

Increased gas formation is a very delicate problem that it is not customary to talk about even to the closest ones, and they rarely go to a doctor. In this case, flatulence can cause discomfort and accompany serious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

When the intestines require attention

Irritability of others can ruin our mood for a long time. But it is much worse when your own intestines are irritated and, instead of well-coordinated work, it gives out pain, stool disturbances and bloating, which overtake at the most unexpected moments.

Preparing for bowel studies

The better the bowel is cleansed, the more information will be obtained during the study, and the best cleaning is provided by correctly placed enemas.

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The non-obvious connection between the brain and the intestine: how it affects health

The human body is amazing. Even the most persistent people with nerves of steel can be outwardly calm, but feel that the stomach is cramped or twisted from stress.This sensation is based on the work of a huge network of neurons located in the intestine.

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It will not work by itself: what to do if the stomach is constantly rebelling

Problems with digestion – abdominal pain, cramps, flatulence, stool disorders – according to statistics, occur in 15% of the population. The figure is impressive, but even more surprising is that two-thirds of patients suffering from functional intestinal disorders do not seek medical help, trying (often unsuccessfully) to cope with difficulties on their own.Therefore, it is likely that the actual number of people with irritable bowel syndrome is much higher.

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Remedy for diarrhea

Summer (especially if you are on vacation in hot countries) is rightfully considered the season of sunburn, heatstroke and food poisoning. So a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen and diarrhea remedy should be purchased in advance. And it’s better if all of them are modern.

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How much does healthy digestion cost, or the truth about microbes

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that restore, normalize and maintain the composition of the intestinal microflora.The most famous probiotic cultures are bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, they account for up to 90% of the intestinal microflora. A wide range of probiotic-based products are available in pharmacies. But which probiotic should you choose?

Bowel disease in women: symptoms and treatment

Official data and statistics once again confirm that more than 50% of pathological processes in the gastrointestinal tract of women (hereinafter referred to as the gastrointestinal tract) are directly related to the intestines. Hence the conclusion: in order not to get sick, every woman needs to know about the symptoms of intestinal diseases and which doctor to contact.

Symptoms of various bowel diseases

How to recognize a bowel disease? Right! According to the characteristic symptoms, of which there are 4 main ones:

1. Abdominal pain.

They can be of different nature and intensity. For example, pulling and sharp, localized in the umbilical region, indicate problems with the small intestine. While pains in the lower abdomen, radiating to the side, subsiding and reactivating, speak of functional disorders of the large intestine.Usually, the pain in the abdomen will subside after passing gas and emptying. The relationship between food intake and pain in bowel disease is not always evident.

2. Constipation or diarrhea.

What is constipation anyway? This is a disturbed stool in which a woman does not regularly go to the toilet. Less than three times a week. Also – the process of defecation requires excessive straining, and the feces themselves are dense in consistency. Constipation is a clear sign of colon disease and a wake-up call to the fact that you need to immediately contact a professional gastroenterologist.For example, to the clinic ATsMD-MEDOX. The causes of gastrointestinal disorders can be age-related changes (in women during menopause), stress, improper diet, hormonal imbalance in the female body.

Having diarrhea is also a warning sign. Frequent and fluid bowel movements are not normal for a healthy woman with normal bowel movements. Diarrhea (when abundant rare feces are observed with a frequency exceeding 3-5 times per day) signals the development of an inflammatory process in the intestine.

You should also be alerted by bloody diarrhea. This is a formidable symptom that cannot be ignored. He can talk about the defeat of the intestinal mucosa by the inflammatory process, the presence of erosions, ulcers (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis), intestinal tumors (both benign and malignant).

3. Flatulence.

Flatulence is the process of increased formation of gases in the intestines, which are also manifested in colic and bloating.It is believed that the normal volume of gas in the gastrointestinal tract of a woman is 200-300 ml. If more (especially when eating low-quality products or those that cause fermentation – fermented milk, grapes, peas, etc.), then the person feels discomfort. When the symptoms do not disappear with the refusal of these food groups and home treatment, an urgent need to consult a doctor. Diseases of the large and small intestines, IBS, pancreatitis, obstruction, gastroduodenitis, – meterialism can signal serious illnesses.

4. Bleeding.

An admixture of mucus or bloody discharge in the feces can indicate a wide variety of diseases of the female intestine: from hemorrhoids or Crohn’s disease to colorectal cancer (a tumor of the colon and epididymis).

Treatment of intestines in women

If you find abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea or other symptoms, immediately answer the question: “Do I know the reason why this could have happened?” If you have not found the reasons (for example, you have not eaten fast food for the last three days), then it is better to contact a good gastroenterologist .

Qualified doctors work, for example, in the clinic ACMD-MEDOX. They will not only find out the exact cause of the ailment, diagnose with the help of special medical equipment, but also adjust the diet (if the latter really refers to the catalysts due to which the patient has a medical problem).

Be healthy!

Irritable bowel syndrome: symptoms, treatment

Are you suffering from abdominal pain, cramps and persistent stool disturbances? Unpleasant sensations in the intestinal area can ruin all plans, so we use various drugs to relieve abdominal discomfort.But these measures can only temporarily get rid of the symptoms of a serious illness, which come back again and again. What if these symptoms have a single cause – irritable bowel syndrome? What is this disease, what are its signs and how to cure it, we will tell you in this article.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

This is a bowel disorder and abdominal discomfort during bowel movements. The syndrome itself is not a disease, but rather a collection of symptoms that often occur for an unknown reason.Unfortunately, such a disorder can significantly reduce the quality of a person’s life, forcing him to stay in an uncomfortable state: digestion is disturbed, metabolic processes in the body deteriorate, and the saturation of the human body with nutrients decreases.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a very common occurrence among people between the ages of 25 and 40. Statistics show that at least once in their life, every third person experienced unpleasant symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Self-medication in this case can be very dangerous to health. The fact is that the syndrome is treated comprehensively and under the close attention of the attending physician. The consequence of self-medication can be intestinal obstruction and numerous chronic gastrointestinal diseases. With the first signs of irritable bowel syndrome, it is worth contacting a therapist, who will refer you to a narrower specialist – a gastroenterologist. The diagnosis is usually made only after the exclusion of tumors, inflammatory changes in the intestine.

In the intestines, the process of digesting food and receiving nutrients by the body takes place. When food enters the intestines, it travels along the intestines. This progression process is achieved through the work of smooth muscle cells in the intestinal wall. The cells alternately contract and relax. But when IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) appears, the work of cells is disrupted. Food begins to pass through the intestines either too quickly or too slowly.The result is discomfort and constipation or diarrhea.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

  • nausea and the presence of a gag reflex;
  • flatulence with profuse gas;
  • abdominal pain or cramps;
  • persistent bloating;
  • stool disorders – constipation or diarrhea;
  • cuts in the lower abdomen;
  • sleep disturbance;
  • increased heart rate;
  • increased fatigue;
  • long digestion of food;
  • the appearance of mucus in the stool;
  • false urge to defecate;
  • Loss of appetite.

Also, the disease is often accompanied by symptoms that at first glance are not characteristic of intestinal pathologies: headaches, discomfort in the spine and muscles, weight loss and abdominal swelling. All these symptoms are not permanent, they can disappear, and reappear with the lapse of time. Unpleasant sensations most often appear after each meal, and then become less pronounced.

Reasons for the development of a pathological phenomenon

  1. Power supply.Eating fried, salty, sweet and fatty foods, as well as alcohol containing beverages, negatively affects digestion. In addition, modern man is constantly snacking on the run. That also has a negative effect on the bowel function.
  2. Hormonal failure. More often, this reason is characteristic of women during such periods of life as carrying a child, breastfeeding, menopause, and the menstrual cycle. As for the menstrual cycle, during this period, the amount of chemicals changes, and the problem begins to manifest itself more clearly.
  3. Intestinal motility disorders. If the motor skills are working at an accelerated rate, it leads to indigestion and diarrhea. In contrast, slowed bowel motility can cause constipation. As a result, the painful sensations lead to a sharp contraction of the muscles.
  4. Emotional stress: stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue.
  5. Past diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Infections that cause diseases of the gastrointestinal tract can subsequently affect the functioning of the entire intestine.

Diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome

If you have all of the above symptoms of the disease, see a physician. He will conduct an initial examination and refer you to a gastroenterologist. The purpose of primary diagnostics is to exclude the presence of other life-threatening diseases: tumors, inflammatory processes, growths, infectious diseases.

At the doctor’s appointment, you must provide a complete medical history, report the presence and frequency of symptoms, tell about the presence of chronic diseases.After examination and palpation (feeling), the specialist will refer you to laboratory tests, including:

  • Complete blood count. The analysis allows you to determine whether there is an inflammatory process in the body, as well as to establish possible anemia.
  • General urine analysis. Determines the presence or absence of blood and parasites in the patient’s body, which allows us to talk about the development of a number of intestinal diseases, other than irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Blood test for celiac disease.A specific blood test that allows you to identify a disease of the digestive system (celiac disease), in which the intestines cease to normally digest incoming food, which is accompanied by diarrhea.
  • Colonoscopy. This is an examination of the colon from the inside using a special apparatus (colonoscope).
  • Magnetic resonance imaging of the pelvis and abdomen. This is a non-invasive examination method that allows you to study the structure and condition of the pelvic organs and tissues in men and women using magnetic waves.

After all the studies have been carried out and all other bowel diseases have been excluded, the doctor proceeds to treatment and prescribes complex therapy, based on the patient’s medical history.

Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome

IBS therapy should be performed in a complex manner in several stages. The treatment regimen depends on the individual characteristics of the organism, the degree and duration of the pathology. Most often, drug therapy is prescribed, which is complemented by a special diet.In the absence of comprehensive treatment, symptoms will reappear from time to time.

Medicines that the doctor prescribes for the treatment of IBS not only eliminate painful symptoms, but also improve the condition of the digestive system, as well as prevent relapses and complications. When treating diarrhea syndrome, medications with antimicrobial properties are prescribed. They relieve irritation of the intestinal tissues, stop excess flatulence and restore normal bowel function.

In the treatment of IBS with constipation, the use of natural medicines is shown that eliminate the difficulties with defecation, gently affect the inflamed intestinal tissue and relieve it of feces. May be in the form of chewable tablets or rectal suppositories.

If the appearance of IBS is associated with neurological disorders, antidepressants are prescribed – they normalize the functioning of the nervous system, improve the psycho-emotional state.

Pain relievers and antispasmodics are used to relieve pain – they relax muscle fibers and tissues that are in hypertonicity.

Diet for irritable bowel syndrome

The diet for IBS depends on what symptoms accompany the pathology. With frequent constipation, dry, salty foods should be excluded from the diet. With diarrhea, liquid dishes, vegetables, fruits are excluded.

If you are tormented by flatulence, you should limit dairy products, nuts, and beans.With severe pain in the intestines, fatty, salty, heavy foods are not allowed.

At the Medyunion clinic you can undergo a complete examination and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. We employ practicing doctors with at least 10 years of work experience. In the diagnostic room, you can pass all tests and undergo hardware examination in a comfortable environment. For our clients there is a special offer “doctor at home”. If you are unable to visit our medical center on your own, a doctor will come to you and conduct an examination at home.

Take care of your health and make an appointment at the Medyunion multidisciplinary medical center right on our website.

Irritable bowel syndrome – causes and treatment of IBS, drugs, diet, prevention

Table of Contents

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is included in the ICD and is extremely widespread: according to average estimates, one fifth of the world’s population suffers from the disease.

There are no specific symptoms that make it possible to accurately diagnose this disease, so most patients either try to find the causes of discomfort in organic defects, or do not consider themselves sick.

The disease is systemic in nature and delivers a lot of unpleasant sensations to those who have encountered it: various eating disorders, dyspeptic phenomena, functional abnormalities in the work of the gastrointestinal tract are obligatory companions of this disease.

Modern medicine believes that at the basis of the development of functional pathology, it is not so much organic anomalies that play a role as lifestyle factors: disturbances in the regime, stress, and malnutrition.

Accordingly, when prescribing treatment, first of all, regime moments, diet and lifestyle will be taken into account.

What is IBS?

The cause of irritable bowel syndrome in adults is a functional disorder of the digestive system, manifested in pain, flatulence, diarrhea or, conversely, constipation and arising without previous organic pathologies (developmental abnormalities, tumor lesions, etc.).etc.).

Since there are no organic lesions in this condition, it is reversible and disappears without a trace if the root cause is eliminated.

At the same time, disorders of the normal functions of the gastrointestinal tract (primarily motility) do not exist in isolation: the syndrome is accompanied by dyskinesias throughout the entire tract, the process involves the large and small intestines, duodenum, all parts of the stomach and esophagus. Against the background of IBS, duodenal reflux develops – the reflux of bile from the duodenum into the pyloric part of the stomach, and GEBR (gastroesophageal reflux disease) – the reflux of fluid from the stomach into the esophagus.Both diseases can lead to serious consequences: as a result of the irritating action of digestive juices, the gastrointestinal mucosa becomes inflamed and injured, which provokes the gradual development of gastritis, esophagitis and, finally, ulcers.

Both children and adults are susceptible to IBS, but more often the disease is diagnosed in people over 20 years old, in women more often than in men.


Among the most likely causes of this kind of disorder, gastroenterologists call:

  • Neurological: depression, stress, anxiety, insomnia
  • Social: insufficient or unbalanced nutrition (fatty foods, lack of dietary fiber, strong teas, coffee, broths), overeating, lack of a normal daily routine, sufficient physical activity (weak muscles of the anterior abdominal wall), chronic fatigue
  • Biological: imbalance in the intestinal bacterial flora – lack of lactobacilli, excess putrefactive microflora, frequent infections.Sometimes the process is triggered by a previous OCI (acute intestinal infection) 90 180
  • Hormonal disorders in women are one of the causes of the disease – it was noted that exacerbations of IBS were associated with the phases of the menstrual cycle 90 180
  • Hereditary: IBS in a parent increases the likelihood of developing it in a child 90 180

Irritable bowel symptoms

There are three main forms of the disease, which are characterized by the following complexes of symptoms:

  • IBS with a predominance of diarrhea – manifested by frequent urge to use the toilet, especially after or during meals, pain along the intestines, loose stools several times a day, which can alternate with constipation.Often the pathology is accompanied by a feeling of incomplete emptying, tenesmus 90 180
  • IBS with constipation – the patient has an irregular stool, with delays of up to a week. Regular stools can be of the character of “sheep feces”, contain impurities of mucus and even droplets of fresh blood (if the mucous membrane of the large intestine is damaged by sharp fecal stones). May also present with distal bowel pain 90 180
  • IBS with flatulence – the patient is worried mainly about bloating, heaviness and distention, frequent passing of gases.Shortness of breath and tachycardia are the result of the constantly elevated state of the dome of the diaphragm, which puts pressure on the overlying organs. Reflux develops in such patients more often than in other forms. Stool can maintain normal consistency and regularity 90 180

Signs that should alert

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and its treatment are not costly or overwhelming, but patient discipline and regularity.If you notice the symptoms in time and consult a doctor, you can avoid the serious consequences that develop when IBS goes into a chronic form.

A doctor diagnoses irritable bowel syndrome and starts treating it if at least two of the following symptoms are present:

  • Persistent change in the nature of the stool and the act of defecation (urgency, incomplete emptying)
  • Permanent bloating
  • Presence of mucus in feces
  • Intensification of symptoms during or immediately after eating or drinking

But since these symptoms are characteristic of a number of pathological processes, it is important not to miss a serious illness.Irritable bowel syndrome is not characterized by:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Severe pain during bowel movements
  • Increase in body temperature to high values ​​
  • Onset of symptoms in an elderly person

When joining at least one of these symptoms, it is necessary to consult a specialist as soon as possible.


Since IBS often masks more serious pathologies, effective treatment of irritable bowel syndrome is possible only after a complete examination.It will include the following laboratory and instrumental methods:

  • Clinical blood test – will help establish the presence of allergic reactions (for differential diagnosis with lactose intolerance or celiac disease, additional specific tests can be performed), inflammatory processes (which can be indirectly judged by an increase in ESR and leukocyte count), anemia (with a reduced level of hemoglobin and / or erythrocytes) 90 180
  • Coprological analysis (composition of feces) – will help determine the degree of digestion of food, the presence of fat with steatorrhea or blood in case of damage to the gastrointestinal tract
  • Bacteriological analysis of feces – will show the quantitative ratio of bacteria in the intestine, the presence of pathogenic microflora
  • Endoscopic examinations – FGDS (fibrogastroduodenoscopy) and colonoscopy (endoscopy of the colon mucosa) – will give an idea of ​​the state of the gastrointestinal mucosa, help to exclude neoplasms, ulcers, cracks
  • Intestinal fluoroscopy – examination of the intestinal tube from the outside for anatomical defects and functional impairment

Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome in adults

As with all lifestyle diseases, the causes and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome will be inextricably linked: the basis of therapy will be the correction of diet, work and rest, and the achievement of psychological balance.It should be remembered that medications are only an auxiliary link during an exacerbation and without another component of therapy, their effect will not last for a long time.

Drug therapy:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. Treatment will consist of normalization of peristalsis with astringent and coating agents, as well as drugs that reduce the activity of intestinal motility 90 180
  • Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation.Treatment of constipation is carried out, depending on its severity, with mild herbal preparations, laxatives based on lactulose or saline solutions of osmotic action. The goal of therapy is to increase peristalsis in order to accelerate the movement of feces 90 180
  • Irritable bowel syndrome with flatulence. Treatment includes carminative agents and drugs that normalize peristalsis – antispasmodics, prokinetics. In the presence of an imbalance of microflora or pathogenic bacteria, bacterial preparations and antibiotics are prescribed 90 180
  • For severe depression, neurasthenia, increased excitability and anxiety, sedatives or antidepressants are prescribed 90 180

An irritable bowel syndrome diet will be a powerful tool for drug therapy:

  • The inclusion of large amounts of vegetables in boiled, steamed or baked form will enrich the diet with missing dietary fiber, which is very important for IBS with constipation
  • For diarrhea, eating slimy rice, avoiding coarse vegetables, cereals and whole milk will help slow emptying
  • Eliminating muffins, sugar, grapes and fresh vegetables from the diet will help solve the problem with flatulence

A detailed diet, taking into account the individual needs and characteristics of the disease, will be prescribed by a gastroenterologist or nutritionist.


With the transition of the process into a chronic form, over time, such diseases and conditions may develop:

  • Gastritis, esophagitis, GEBR
  • Duodenitis, gastroduodenal reflux
  • Cholecystitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Enterocolitis, spastic intestinal obstruction, hemorrhoids
  • Ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract mucosa of any location

With constant functional irritation of the gastrointestinal mucosa, all digestive organs are gradually involved in the process.

However, timely diagnosis and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, followed by adherence to regimens and the prescribed diet, avoids such complications.


Treatment and nutrition for irritable bowel syndrome are closely related. Timely intake of moderate food (not smoked, not spicy, not fried), quitting smoking, and a reasonable approach to drinking alcohol will help prevent illness. A strict daily regimen and mandatory physical activity at least twice a week (especially on the abdominal area), as well as daily walks and a positive attitude will significantly reduce the risk of getting sick.

Advantages of the procedure in MEDSI:

  • Reception of leading gastroenterologists and nutritionists in Moscow
  • Comprehensive examination in the clinic: all types of research necessary for the diagnosis of IBS
  • Innovative low-dose fluoroscopy units
  • Own laboratory
  • Feedback with a specialist during treatment, timely correction of prescriptions

It is easy to sign up for a consultation – just call 8 (495) 7-800-500 (calls are accepted around the clock).

Skin problems? Check your intestines!

The ancient thinkers were right a thousand times when they said, “We are what we eat.” You don’t need to be clairvoyant to tell your love for buns, chocolates and burgers by your face. Would you say that all this is complete nonsense, that our body does an excellent job of cleansing on its own? You will be right. But only partially.

Choosing a doctor

If you are immersed in biohacking – you eat right, get enough sleep, breathe clean air and drink enough clean water – your body works like a clock, your skin shines even on gray November days.But living in a metropolis according to all the rules of a healthy lifestyle is difficult. And to be honest, each of us has our own top bad habits. If you, without sparing your intestines, prefer fast food to healthy food, work a lot and sleep little, you should not be surprised if something is wrong with your skin. The skin will always let you know if the body is out of order. As soon as they noticed that she had changed not for the better, she became very dry or too oily, rashes and itching appeared, the complexion became dull, it’s time to turn to … no, not to a beautician, but to a dermatologist.An experienced specialist will diagnose and, if he realizes that the cause of bad skin is hidden inside the body, he will refer you to a gastroenterologist or coloproctologist.

What has the intestines to do with it?

A healthy person has about 500 types of bacteria in the intestines. Normally, they all maintain a balance – some are antagonists of others and prevent diseases from developing, others work in tandem and prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Beneficial bacteria help us digest food, enrich the body with nutrients, and help strengthen immunity.They constantly work and regulate bowel function, help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and even synthesize some vitamins. And what is most interesting, they even affect the hormonal and nervous system! In the vicinity of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, disease-causing bacteria live, which are just waiting for the right moment to remind of themselves. Pathogenic flora can be activated with a weakening of the immune system, frequent stress, a violation of the diet or exacerbation of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. So, due to a violation of the intestinal microflora, the absorption of nutrients may decrease, and thus the digestion process will be disrupted.Leftover undigested food will cause rumbling, bloating, swelling – and skin problems are inevitable. “The effect of the intestines on the skin is beyond question – the two organs are inextricably linked due to their common origin. Even in utero, the intestines and skin develop together and at the same time, in order to become a reflection of each other in the process of life, – says Vasily Firsov. – The simplest example: with dysbiosis, the absorption of vitamins and minerals is disturbed, and the less they reach the skin, the worse its protective properties: it becomes unnecessarily pale, acquires a gray tint, will be dry, flabby, dries out faster from the wind or air conditioner, susceptible to infections.These are common signs. There are also typical ones. If the absorption of vitamins of the B2 group is disturbed in the intestine, rashes appear in the corners of the mouth in the form of papules, which can get wet and crack. With a lack of sulfur intake in the body, seborrheic dermatitis develops (the lack of vitamin B2 is also related to this process). There may be various disorders in the form of petechiae, purpura with a lack of vitamin K or a violation of its absorption. Deficiency of vitamins can provoke iron deficiency, and then the face becomes very pale. “

Second opinion. “Now we are actively studying and conducting laboratory research on how our lifestyle affects the intestinal microflora,” says Inna Tulina. – If we talk about the skin, then often its problems are associated with external factors – poor ecology, dry air and the influence of all kinds of radiation. But do not forget that we also receive an adverse effect from the inside – chlorinated water, products with preservatives – they also affect the skin in a bad way. ”

Do you need a detox?

The phrase “skin detox” is loved not only by readers of fashion magazines, but also by cosmetologists and manufacturers of cosmetic products.Many people believe in this and even practice detox as a remedy for beautiful skin. But honest experts say that skin detox is nothing more than an advertising gimmick. A healthy body can independently carry out the detox procedure. The liver and intestines work to eliminate toxins and toxins to a greater extent, and when they fail, the body begins to attract its reserve to the elimination, the very first of which is the skin. “However, if the main pathways fail, an attempt to get rid of endotoxins can lead to the emergence of various skin manifestations, because the skin is not adapted to the elimination of decay products,” says Vasily Firsov.- That is why there are inflammatory reactions of the sebaceous and sweat glands. The situation is complicated by the fact that endotoxins can have a direct damaging effect on the epithelium of the ducts of the sebaceous and sweat glands. These are the so-called antigen-antibody complexes, which the body must remove when an allergen enters – for example, with food. Basically, this function is taken over by the intestine, it can remove large molecules due to its area, but if the path is closed, the skin will remove the molecules. And since they are aggressive in themselves and have a damaging effect on cells, inflammation will occur on the skin. “

Second opinion. “It is important to understand that there is no such direct way as if you ate an apple and began to look good, or if you smoke and look bad, there is no way. Between the skin and the intestines there is a large buffer of various regulatory systems, including hormonal, nervous, endocrine, hematopoietic, etc. This buffer in some people may be very wide, in others, on the contrary, it is too narrow. And the smaller it is, the stronger the external manifestations on the skin, ”says Inna Tulina.

Permitted procedures

“If we only suspect a connection between the skin and the gastrointestinal tract, then we must clearly establish it and enable related specialists to carry out diagnostics,” says Vasily Firsov.- Standard studies: a blood test for various inflammatory changes, studies of the biochemical composition of the blood (microelement composition, study of the content of vitamins, the level of hormones affecting the digestive processes, the level of glucose in the blood). Research for systemic infections is mandatory. In some cases, you can even carry out an ultrasound of the skin to determine the nature of the disease. The extreme option that we resort to is a skin biopsy to detect psoriatic processes, chronic dermatoses or atypical inflammatory changes in the skin, which are most often also caused by processes occurring in the body.And only when the cause of skin problems is finally identified, treatment is prescribed according to the principle “do not irritate the irritated.” For relief of acute inflammation on the skin, soothing lotions, applications of glucocorticoid and external agents with GCS are used. In general, everything that will calm the process. Treatment and rehabilitation are aimed at preventing the formation of hypertrophic changes in the skin.

The task of a dermatologist is to prevent the replacement of collagen and elastin fibers with connective tissue and prevent the development of fibrosis in the skin.Otherwise, it will lead to a violation of the appearance. In this situation, you can apply skin care procedures and masks. Next, you need to help skin cells to effectively perform their function. To solve this problem, rehabilitation programs are used, which do not belong to programs for solving inflammatory problems. For example, you can use high-protein preparations – creams that contain protein (everyone is hearing placental, but this is not necessary). With preparations containing vitamin complexes, the situation is twofold.It makes no sense to add trace elements to them. Even if we apply zinc to the skin, which is the most important trace element for beauty, it will still not get inside. Therefore, for the rehabilitation of the processes that have occurred on the skin, preparations containing collagen and hyaluronic acid are useful. ”

Second opinion. “From the symptoms on the skin, we cannot identify the cause of the intestinal problems and make a diagnosis. But it is quite possible to maintain intestinal health in order to cope with cosmetic problems, – says Inna Tulina.- For this I recommend everyone to lead an active lifestyle. Movement maintains the performance of all regulatory systems, including the normal functioning of the intestines. This is a good prevention of hemorrhoids, constipation, imbalance of microflora – all those problems that affect the skin. Proper nutrition is imperative, perhaps even with episodes of fasting. Now there is a diet that mimics fasting, which is being tested under experimental conditions. The point is that when a person does not eat for a long time, say from 12 to 16 hours, the human microbiome – the composition of the microflora – is regulated.And this is due to the condition of the skin. In the choice of products, plant foods with a small amount of protein (meat, fish, poultry), excluding sugar, dairy and bakery products, especially baked goods, are preferable. ”

Source: KIZ.ru

90,000 Popular foods that cause intestinal problems named


Popular foods that cause intestinal problems named

Popular foods that cause intestinal problems named

State University scientists Georgia in the US named foods that cause intestinal inflammation.The research is published in the journal PLOS One. RIA Novosti, 08.05.2020

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discoveries – RIA Science


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MOSCOW, May 8 – RIA Novosti.Scientists from Georgia State University in the United States have named foods that cause intestinal inflammation. The study, published in the journal PLOS One, analyzed the results of the US’s annual National Health Survey and concluded that people who regularly consume cheese, cookies, fries, and soda and energy drinks are more likely to suffer from intestinal inflammation. these foods can lead to the development of colitis and Crohn’s disease, the study said.For the prevention of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, scientists advised to diversify the diet with fruits and vegetables, as well as dishes made from unpolished cereals and whole grain flour.



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