Does it feel like your stomach is consistently aching, whether it’s throughout the day or at specific times? Do you find yourself feeling nauseous or throwing up more than the average person, or dealing with issues like diarrhea or constipation? There are a lot of digestive issues that can linger for a long time and even last throughout your life that you should be aware of.
However, for the vast majority, there are potential cures and treatments to alleviate those symptoms as well. As such, it’s important to be aware of the different digestive problems you could be facing and what can be done about them.
Like the regular flu, stomach flu is caused by a viral infection. However, in this case, the virus hits the stomach and it can hit it hard. The stomach flu can start with chills and a fever. However, as it progresses, you can develop nausea and a sore stomach that then turns into vomiting and diarrhea. There’s no cure for stomach flu. Antibiotics will not work, unfortunately. As such, the best approach is to manage your symptoms until it has run its course and is out of the body. Staying hydrated is crucial as your body will constantly lose fluids throughout, so drinking water and sports drinks, and avoiding caffeinated drinks are recommended. It’s recommended that you don’t take medication that’s much stronger than Advil or Tylenol when it comes to relieving aches and pain.
Constipation will affect the vast majority of us at some point in our life or another. To put it simply, this is when too much waste begins to build up in the bowels and isn’t being expelled in the usual way quick enough. As such, this can lead to building pressure on the colon, which can also be painful. The best way to deal with constipation at the moment is with an over-the-counter option like milk of magnesia and laxatives. However, overuse of laxatives can make them less effective, so they should be used with care. If you’re dealing with constipation on a regular basis, you should try to focus on preventative measures, like getting more fluid and fiber in your diet and staying active.
To put it simply, reflux is when the contents of the stomach are urged to move upwards. As such, acid and bile can rise in the throat, leading to the painful symptom of heartburn, a foul taste in your mouth, and sometimes even vomiting or spitting up. Also known as GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, acid reflux isn’t just inconvenient and painful. It can also damage the esophagus and increase your risk of esophageal cancer, so it’s recommended that you take measures to avoid it, such as exercising to fight obesity, finding and cutting off your trigger foods, and perhaps even talking to a doctor about surgery in severe cases. A lot of people experience heartburn now and then, but if it’s frequent, you should look at what you can do to prevent it.
If you’ve heard of someone being treated for gallstones before, then you’ve likely heard about just how painful they can be. Fortunately, fewer than a quarter of people with gallstones require any kind of treatment for them. The symptoms of gallstones, which are small pebbles comprised of bile salts and cholesterol that form in the gallbladder, can include very sharp pain in the abdomen. There are medications that can be prescribed to help dissolve the gallstones, which leads to them then being passed out naturally via urination. However, if that doesn’t work, surgery to remove the gallbladder may be required next.
When it comes to how the body reacts to food, there are two conditions that are frequently mistaken for one another. Food allergies and food intolerance are not the same things. Food intolerance is usually caused by an inability to process a certain kind of food properly, so it doesn’t get broken down and causes digestive issues. A food allergy is caused by the response of the immune system to certain food triggers, with the most common being nuts, fish, eggs, nuts, and shellfish. The symptoms can be similar, including stomach pain, diarrhea, and nausea. However, stronger allergic reactions caused by the release of histamine can also be included. As such, it’s important to make sure you have a food allergy or intolerance diagnosed rather than assuming it’s one or the other.
Lactose intolerance is a kind of food intolerance, meaning that it’s not the same thing as a milk allergy as mentioned above. Instead, it’s caused by the body’s inability to digest the primary sugar in milk, because they lack the enzyme that does precisely that. As well as stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea, lactose intolerance can result in bloating, cramping, and gas, all of which can make you even more uncomfortable. There are over-the-counter medications can help you replace the enzyme that processes lactose, but most people with the condition tend to live with lactose-free substitutes for dairy products, such as soy milk or almond milk. There are plenty of ways to treat and live with lactose intolerance.
Whilst considered similar to an intolerance, celiac disease is actually an autoimmune disease. However, the symptoms of lactose intolerance and celiac disease are all very similar, including nausea, bloating, vomiting, and abdominal pain. However, celiac disease can also present as chronic diarrhea and constipation. The cause of the celiac disease is that the body is unable to process gluten properly, found in a range of grain foods, which then leads to their small intestine suffering from an autoimmune response. Going with a gluten-free diet is the most effective way to treat the disease as there is no cure. People tend to become more sensitive to gluten and less able to process it effectively as they get older as well, so there is no telling when or if you might develop celiac disease.
Some people are prone to chronic irritable digestive tracts and find that they experience stomach pain and discomfort on a much more regular basis than others. If you experience it three times a month for multiple months in a row, then it could be that you are experiencing irritable bowel syndrome, which affects over 10% of all people across the planet. IBS can be hard to diagnose effectively at first due to how the symptoms can differ from person to person. Some people experience diarrhea, some people experience hard stool that is tough to pass, and some people experience bloating. A person with IBS may experience one of them one day and one of them the next. The causes of IBS are not fully known, but there is a range of ways to treat it, including reducing fat and increasing fiber in your diet.
This is considered one of the forms of irritable bowel syndrome, or irritable bowel disease. The cause of Crohn’s disease is not also fully known, though it may be the case the family history and genetics are involved. Alongside the other symptoms of IBS, people with Crohn’s disease, which can affect any part of the digestive tract, can experience weight loss, fever, and rectal bleeding. There are topical pain relievers that can be used to treat Crohn’s disease, but in more severe cases, surgery may also be recommended. This is one of the most common forms of IBS.
Another inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s disease, it also has very similar symptoms to the other. However, the main difference is that ulcerative colitis primarily affects the large intestine or colon. Like Celiac disease, it’s due to an autoimmune response, but it is not caused primarily by gluten. It results in painful ulcers developing on the lining of the colon, which can lead to pain with diarrhea, blood in the stool, cramps, and more. There is a range of medicines that can suppress it, and finding and eliminating your trigger foods may also help. However, as with Crohn’s disease, surgery may be recommended in the most severe cases, which would mean removing the colon in this instance.
Unlike many of the other conditions named above, urinary tract infections (and their closely related bladder infections) are not issues of the digestive system. They are, in fact, caused by the presence of bacteria like E.coli that profligate in the urethra or bladder, causing an infection. The most common symptoms are painful urination, a lingering burning or stinging pain, and cloud-strong smelling urine. However, they can also come with symptoms of pressure and pain in the lower abdomen, so it can be easy to confuse them for other causes of stomach pain.
If you are continuously having digestive problems, then before you take any of the tips to alleviate them as mentioned above, you should make sure you know what you’re dealing with, first. Get the diagnosis then make your plan of attack.