The digestive system is made up of many moving parts. This leaves plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong. If you’ve been suffering from digestive issues and aren’t sure what might be going on, here are some ailments and typical treatments to consider.
Inflammatory bowel disease
According to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, inflammatory bowel disease is not one specific disorder but a group of chronic intestinal complications. And they can be painful. Three of the most common types of IBD are Crohn’s disease, indeterminate colitis, and ulcerative colitis. Each of these issues pops up as a response to inflammation and can have a significant negative effect on a person’s daily life.
While there are a number of treatments for IBD, a promising supplement known as CBD has garnered attention lately. CBD, which is a compound derived from cannabis, offers a number of benefits for the gastrointestinal tract. It is an anti-inflammatory that can potentially help the body regulate. This may reduce symptoms of IBS and other digestive problems. When combined with an anti-inflammatory diet and other self-help methods, CBD may be effective against IBD.
Diverticulitis is a severe form of colitis, one of the many inflammatory bowel diseases. However, diverticulitis deserves attention on its own. Left untreated, it can cause an infection that may require surgery, according to Everyday Health and medically reviewed by Dr. Kareen Sassi. Diverticulitis is essentially inflamed diverticula, abnormal pouches in the digestive tract. And it sends more than 200,000 people to the hospital every year.
Severe diverticulitis that results in infection requires medical treatment and a course of antibiotics. However, there are natural methods that can keep this condition at bay. This includes healthy lifestyle choices and the elimination of foods that irritate the gut. Dr. David Jockers of Georgia’s Exodus Healthcare lists refined sugars, grains, legumes, dairy, and corn among foods that can trigger or exacerbate diverticulitis. By balancing the gastrointestinal system, it is believed that one can effectively manage the symptoms of diverticulitis. Interestingly, there are those who claim (and studies to support) that CBD can help control gastrointestinal inflammation and heal the gut.
Gallstones are possibly one of the most painful gastrointestinal disorders. They are hardened deposits that develop within the gallbladder, which is a small – and underappreciated – organ that sits just below the liver. Gallstones cause the gallbladder to become inflamed and irritated. Fever and jaundice can occur. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that gallstones are most common in women, those with diabetes, and people of Native American descent.
One of the easiest ways to prevent gallstones is to simply stay hydrated. Magnesium supplements, vitamin C, and fiber will also keep the digestive tract functioning in peak condition.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is an extremely common ailment that can make eating a nightmare. GERD can best be described as persistent heartburn that results in a buildup of gastrointestinal juices which are forced up into the throat. People with GERD may experience pain after eating a large meal or laying down flat.
While there are minimally invasive medical treatments, diet and exercise are perhaps most effective. Losing excess weight around the belly, which is thought to push against stomach acid, and avoiding foods that trigger heartburn, such as tomatoes, peppermint, and chocolate, can help.
Hippocrates famously said, “All disease begins in the gut.” and though he may not have had science to back him up, he wasn’t wrong. Gastrointestinal health doesn’t just affect the stomach. The body has numerous support centers that dictate overall health. The brain, heart, lungs, and stomach work in unison to keep a body healthy. When any one of these gets out of whack, everything goes downhill. Gut health is also linked to mental health and an unhealthy balance of bacteria can make virtually all physical illnesses worse.
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