The digestive system begins at the mouth and ends at the anus and also includes the esophagus, stomach and intestines. The digestive system has a role to convert food and fluids into nutrients to provide energy or turn them into waste products that get expelled by bowel movements. However, this normal process may sometimes fail due to different diseases and disorders. Given below are common disorders of the digestive system.
Cancer of the colon and rectum is called colon and rectal cancer or colorectal cancer. This cancer develops due to abnormal cell growth in the colon or rectal area of the body. The colon and the rectum are parts of the large intestine.
Colorectal cancer is the second major cause of death caused by cancer in the United States. However, due to sigmoidoscopic screening and procedures for polyp removal incidence of colorectal cancer has decreased in recent years.
Cancer of the stomach is also known as gastric cancer. This type of cancer was diagnosed in around 21,700 people in the United States in 2001. Stomach cancer mostly affects people over 60 years of age. Infection with Helicobacter pylori increases the risk of stomach cancer as well as consumption of foods high in starch and low in fiber, smoked and salted foods, pickled vegetables and drinks containing nitrates and nitrites.
Diarrhea is a medical term for watery stool or increased frequency in bowel movements. Diarrhea can be a temporary condition due to bacterial or viral infection or chronic issue caused by certain functional disorders or disease of the intestine.
Diverticular disease is a condition characterized by inflammation or infection in the pouches of the large intestine or colon. The risk factors for diverticular disease are advanced age, diet low in fiber, obesity and male gender.
Gas in the Digestive Tract
Gas in the digestive tract can occur due to air swallowing or breakdown of certain foods by bacteria naturally found in the large intestine. Everyone has gas and it is eliminated by burping or passing it through the rectum. Gas is passed approximately 14 times a day.
Heartburn is featured by burning sensation in the chest. It occasionally affects everyone. However, it can be also chronic caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Hepatitis is a disease caused by a virus that leads to inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis can be acute or chronic and is classified into six types.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) is a disease of the intestine marked by bloating, gas, cramping and bowel habit changes.