Digestive conditions you may not know you have

It’s not easy and perhaps sometimes not polite to discuss digestive issues between friends. It’s certainly not your average dinner conversation. Maybe this is why so many suffer in silence. The stigma around digestive issues is changing and more people are opening up about their experiences and solutions, which sometimes are as easy as a few dietary changes.

Here are five common digestive problems you could have:

1. Reflux
The most common symptom of reflux is heartburn. Many people suffer from this for a number of days, or even weekly. If you are experiencing this regularly it could point to a greater issue, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, which can cause damage to your oesophagus.

There are a number of medications available to reduce acid levels, but sometimes you’ll require a minor surgery to reduce the flow of acid.

2. Gallstones
Gallstones can be picked up on ultrasound and are stone-like pieces of cholesterol and bile. To remove them often a patient’s entire gallbladder must be removed.

Gallstones are very common and the procedure to remove a gallbladder has become relatively unobtrusive, without external incisions being necessary.

3. Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis is caused by bulges in the wall of the intestinal tract becoming infected. These bulges are called diverticula. This causes abdominal pain and sometimes other symptoms such as a fever.

In most cases a good antibiotic will do the trick.

4. Crohn’s disease
This is an IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and causes your digestive tract to become inflamed. Symptoms are diarrhoea, fatigue, fever, nausea and abdominal pain.

Treatment can range from antibiotics to surgery and there is no cure yet. The aim of medication is to control the inflammation.

5. IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome is very common and affects the large intestine. It’s a chronic condition that must be managed.

You’ll usually notice abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constipation, gas, bloating and food intolerance.
Often the best solutions involve dietary changes including cutting out fibre, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol among other things.

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