Signs that your digestive system is not as strong as it should be

Everyone has digestive problems from time to time, but when symptoms become regular, it may mean you have a digestive problem. According to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseasess, 60-70 million Americans live with digestive diseases, and knowing the signs is vital for faster diagnosis and treatment. Eat this, not that! Health spoke to me Dr. Suhail SalemMD, Gastroenterologist with Dignity Health Northridge Hospital and United Medical Doctors which shares what you need to know about your digestive system and the signs that indicate a problem. As always, consult your doctor for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss them Sure signs you already had COVID.

1

Why your digestive system is important

eating a bagel

Dr. Salem tells us, “Your digestive system is made up of all the organs necessary for your body to consume food, break it down, absorb all the nutrients, and store and remove waste. It starts with swallowing food esophagus to your stomach Acid and enzymes in your stomach help break down food and push it into the small intestine. Nutrients from food are then absorbed in the small intestine and the remaining waste is carried to the large intestine. In large intestine, water and electrolytes continue to be absorbed, leaving undigested waste to be transported and eliminated from the large intestine. The liver, gallbladder, and pancreas also secrete important fluids into the intestinal tract to facilitate digestion. Your system is important for extracting energy and nutrients to make sure the rest of your body can grow and even function only throughout life”.

2

Don’t ignore the symptoms

Man in doctor's office.

Man in doctor’s office.

Dr. Salem says, “The digestive system is a complex, intricate system that works in harmony. For the most part, it works incredibly well, especially if it’s well cared for, but even then most people will experience some digestive symptoms over time. Most of these symptoms are not a sign of serious illness, but it is important to discuss them with your doctor.Depending on your medical history, additional tests or treatment may be necessary, but for many people, diet and lifestyle changes can is enough.”

3

Causes of digestive problems

“Many different things can have a negative impact on your digestive system, such as an unhealthy diet or lifestyle, gastrointestinal infections, inflammatory conditions, medical conditions such as diabetes, drug side effects, cancer, or surgery,” states Dr. Salem.

4

Take care of the health of your digestive system

woman eating fruit

woman eating fruit

Dr. Salem reminds us, “Being proactive about your digestive health can help prevent disease or troublesome digestive symptoms. Eating a healthy, high-fiber diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can keep your gut healthy.” you healthy while also taking time to avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or eating too much red meat.In addition, cancer screenings can help eliminate cancers before they develop in many patients, so it’s important to participate in programs screening’.

5

Diarrhea or loose stools

Bathroom toilet paper

Bathroom toilet paper

Dr. Salem explains, “Diarrhea can be a sign of a problem with your digestive system. A fiber supplement like psyllium husk is always a good start, but medical tests for conditions like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease can help in identifying the cause and what specific measures would be most useful to each individual’.

6

Small, hard pellet like stool / Constipation

woman-belly-stomach-pain-bloating

woman-belly-stomach-pain-bloating

“Most of the time this indicates a slow movement of the digestive system, and the accumulation of waste in the large intestine can cause symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain,” says Dr. Salem. “Again, supplementing with fiber is a good first step in this case, although it may not work for everyone. Depending on your age, a colonoscopy may be needed to make sure there is no physical blockage or colon cancer. .”

7

Abdominal pain

Senior man with stomach ache

Senior man with stomach ache

Dr. Salem shares, “Abdominal pain is a sign that something may be wrong with your digestive system. Pain in your abdomen can indicate a problem with any of your digestive organs, including your stomach, gallbladder, small or colon or pancreas. It is important to be evaluated to determine the cause of the pain as best as possible, so specific treatment may be prescribed.”

8

Blood in the stool

Dr. Salem emphasizes, “Blood in the stool is a red flag that should be evaluated. There are many serious causes of internal bleeding, including peptic ulcers and colon cancer, among many others. Endoscopy and colonoscopy can help identification of the cause and help facilitate the best treatment’.

9

Swallowing problem

woman experiencing severe neck pain

woman experiencing severe neck pain

Dr. Salem shares, “If food sticks when swallowing, this could indicate a problem in the esophagus. There are some benign conditions like acid reflux or allergic conditions that can cause this symptom, but in some patients it can be a symptom of a cancer in the esophagus. An endoscopy may be done to diagnose the cause.”

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