Digestive Diseases

Digestive Diseases

Digestive diseases, also known as gastrointestinal diseases, are disorders that affect your esophagus, stomach and small and large intestines. The symptoms of digestive diseases vary widely depending on which part of your digestive system is affected. Generally symptoms can be blood in your stool, a change in bowel habits, pain, weight loss or heartburn that is not relieved by antacids. See you doctor if you have any of these signs of digestive disease.

Recently Answered

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    AMichael Albertson, MD, Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    Blunting of the villi in the small intestine can be caused by autoimmune diseases including thyroid disease and diabetes.
     
    Certain medications can cause blunting of the villi as well. These include some blood pressure medications and some antibiotics. It's usually temporary, however. When you're off the medications, the villi can come back.
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    AMichael Albertson, MD, Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    Doctors can diagnose unexplained intestinal bleeding in two ways:
    • If your stomach and colon are clear, your intestines can be examined with enteroscopy. In this procedure, a thin tube with a camera on the end is passed through your mouth while you are sedated and into your stomach and small intestine. A scope also can be passed through your rectum to examine your lower intestines.
    • With capsule endoscopy, you can swallow a pill camera, which is a little disposable camera with lights on it. You swallow the pill camera, put on a little vest in the morning and go about your day, and then take the vest back to the doctor in the afternoon. The vest is then attached to a computer. The doctors run the capsule picture series through the computer and can see what's in the small intestine.
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    ANancee Jaffe, RD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    The symptoms of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) are mainly gas and bloating. However, SIBO can also lead to macronutrient malabsorption, which affects the absorption of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. SIBO can also cause inflammation in the body and lead to vitamin deficiencies, particularly B12.
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    ANeal Rakov, MD, Gastroenterology, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida
    When there is no physical diagnosis of an ulcer, upper gastrointestinal issues are called non-ulcer dyspepsia. These issues, including chronic pain, bloating, cramps and acid reflux, are often associated with more stress in one’s life. Feeling stressed out from juggling many professional and personal tasks can take its toll on your stomach.

    There are dozens of over-the-counter medications to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and ulcers. But there is no clear treatment for non-ulcer dyspepsia, one of the most common and recurring upper-gut disorders that has no clear physical cause, and for which there is no diagnostic test (it is a clinical diagnosis).

    A clinical diagnosis usually means that nothing comes up after in-depth diagnostics, such as an endoscopy, colonoscopy and abdominal ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scanning that can be traced to the symptoms. That is, there are no objective signs of the commonly diagnosed causes of dyspepsia, such as duodenal ulcer, stomach ulcer, inflamed esophagus (esophagitis) and inflamed stomach (gastritis).
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    ARobynne Chutkan, MD, Gastroenterology, answered
    What is aerophagia?

    Aerophagia refers to air swallowing, which is one of the most common causes of bloating. In this video, integrative gastroenterologist Robynne Chutkan, MD, explains some of the activities that could cause you to swallow air, rather than breathe it. 


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    ATasneem Bhatia, MD, Pediatrics, answered
    How does methylation impact my health?

    Methylation is the body's inability to process certain nutrients, hormones and neurotransmitters effectively. Watch as integrative medicine expert Tasneem Bhatia, MD, explains how a methylation defect could contribute to a variety of illnesses. 

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    AManuel Torres, MD, Family Medicine, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida
    Gastroenteritis is something we see very often throughout the summertime. It’s something we see very often. This leads to another point, which is that eating habits change during the summer months. Typically, kids who are out of school may not be following the same diet as they do during the school year. Also, the foods they eat when traveling may be outside their normal diet and foreign travel may possibly also lead to intestinal infections. Summer eating habits might increase the number of cases but gastroenteritis is something that is commonly seen during the entire year.
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    ARoshini Rajapaksa, MD, Gastroenterology, answered
    What are the warning signs of a serious digestive issue?

    The warning signs of a serious digestive issue include rectal bleeding or vomiting blood, weight loss, or a sudden change in your bowel pattern. Watch gastroenterologist Roshini Raj, MD, explain why it's important to be aware of these symptoms. 

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    ARobynne Chutkan, MD, Gastroenterology, answered
    There's still much to be learned, but diet, chronic stress, certain medications and bacterial imbalance seem to play important roles. Eating a diet high in refined sugar can lead to overgrowth of yeast species, which has been associated with leaky gut. Preservatives and chemicals in processed foods can damage the lining, and so can consumption of gluten -- a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

    Chronic stress can lead to a weakened immune system, affecting your ability to fight off invading bacteria and viruses and worsening the symptoms of leaky gut. Medications like aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) that can damage the lining of your gut, as well as antibiotics that kill off your essential good bacteria are also associated with increased intestinal permeability. In fact, an imbalance between beneficial and harmful species in your gut called dysbiosis is one of the leading theories about what causes increased intestinal permeability. Excessive alcohol consumption, infection with parasites, radiation and chemotherapy can damage the lining of the intestine and are also risk factors.
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    ARobynne Chutkan, MD, Gastroenterology, answered
    Leaky gut can be a difficult diagnosis to establish for a number of reasons: It's associated with a wide range of seemingly unconnected symptoms; it has a lot of different causes; there's no specific test to confirm it; and evidence tying it to other conditions can be murky. As a result, there’s a fair amount of skepticism in the mainstream medical community about the legitimacy of leaky gut as a diagnosis. But as the evidence that this is indeed a real and recognizable condition grows, opinions are slowly changing. That's a good thing, because leaky gut is likely to emerge as one of the most significant medical concepts of our time.