According to a study that included a survey of more than 71,000 participants, nearly two-thirds of Americans reported gastrointestinal symptoms. The most commonly reported issues were:
- Heartburn/reflux (30.9%)
- Abdominal pain (24.8%)
- Bloating (20.6%)
- Diarrhea (20.2%)
- Constipation (19.7%)
These symptoms are shared across a variety of various common digestive disorders, however, and it’s essential to know which one you’re suffering from. That’s because a proper diagnosis will allow you to implement the right treatment for yourself. In some cases, incorporating natural supplements like CBD drops into your daily routine may provide the relief you need, while others will require a more aggressive and doctor-assisted approach.
In this article, we’re going to review some of the most common digestive disorders affecting Americans according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Hopefully, this will help you better understand what’s happening with your body so you can work to develop a treatment plan that is properly suited to your needs.
Suffering from chronic constipation means having fewer than three bowel movements per week for several weeks or longer. And when bowel movements do occur, it is usually difficult to pass stools. Generally, constipation is considered a symptom of another, more severe issue. These can include:
- Blockages in the colon or rectum
- Problems with the nerves around the colon or rectum
- Problems with the muscles involved in bowel movements/elimination
- Conditions affecting hormones in the body
Finding the cause of your chronic constipation will help you get relief. In the meantime, there are several over-the-counter options that your pharmacist may be able to suggest.
Abdominal Wall Hernia
An abdominal wall hernia is a weakness in the abdominal wall muscles that may cause pain and lead to bits of the small intestines bulging through your abdominal wall. When this happens, and portions of your small intestines slip out through the abdominal wall, it can cause a pinch or restriction, which will negatively affect your digestive system. Hernias of this sort often cause constipation, bloating and other digestive issues. Generally, these are easily repaired with minor surgery.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common digestive disorders in the U.S., affecting up to 45 million Americans a year. It’s a condition that mainly affects the large intestine and comes with cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation.
IBS is considered a chronic condition, meaning you’ll need to manage it for your entire life. One relatively safe way to do it with few known side effects is by using CBD capsules or other CBD products daily to help control inflammation, nociception and other GI tract issues related to IBS.
Gallstones are hardened, pebble-like deposits of bile that develop in your gallbladder. Your gallbladder, in case you didn’t know, is a little pear-shaped organ with an important job. It’s located to the right of your abdominal area, just below the liver. It stores bile from your liver and releases it into your small intestine to help break down and absorb fats from the food you eat. But when gallstones form, these can obstruct this process and cause you a lot of pain. If you’re suffering from gallstones, you may end up needing surgical intervention. The best offense here, however, is a good defense that relies on lowering your risk for gallstones by maintaining a healthy weight, proper diet and solid nutrition.
Hemorrhoids occur when the veins that sit below the mucous membranes of the rectum and the anus become swollen and painful. They can also be internal or external, though the external ones are generally the most painful, making it hard to sit comfortably. Hemorrhoids are often a secondary symptom to other digestive disorders, as they typically form due to heavy strain or pushing during bowel movements. This is why many people who suffer from constipation also have hemorrhoids. With all this talk of pushing, it should also be no surprise that hemorrhoids are common among pregnant women, especially after giving birth.
Treatment is usually quite simple and involves over-the-counter creams and painkillers to help mitigate the symptoms while the other issues that caused the hemorrhoids are addressed and remedied. However, for especially severe cases, doctor intervention may be necessary.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux is when, after burping, you have an acid taste in your mouth or suffer from heartburn. It happens when the esophageal sphincter is over relaxed and allows stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. That’s the super crucial muscular tube that connects your mouth to your stomach and transports food.
This issue becomes labeled as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) when the symptoms grow more severe and begin to interfere with your daily life. In addition to acid regurgitation and tasting your food after eating it, other common symptoms include difficulty and pain when swallowing and spontaneous and excessive saliva production. Some signs that might be confused with being sick include a persistent cough and sore throat, inflammation of the gums, constant bad breath and the formation of cavities.
Treatments for GERD are wide-ranging. Over-the-counter or prescription medicine might be recommended to help control acid production in the stomach. However, surgical intervention to tighten or secure the junction between the esophagus and stomach may be needed in severe cases.
The Importance of Taking Care of Your Gastrointestinal Health
If you’re suffering from one digestive disorder, the chances are you are suffering from many. Perhaps, until now, you haven’t realized it due to not being able to name the disorder. Our hope is that you’re a little bit better equipped to do so now. But if none of these digestive disorders sound familiar, you may want to explore others and look into the following:
- Diverticular Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Peptic Ulcer Disease
- Viral Hepatitis
At the end of the day, taking care of your gastrointestinal health is paramount. Research has shown that maintaining a healthy gut is crucial in ensuring immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. When you address these issues, you’re taking care of yourself and ensuring a longer and happier life.