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.

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    Doctors generally diagnose viral gastroenteritis based on the symptoms and a physical examination. Your doctor may ask for a stool sample to test for rotavirus or to rule out bacteria or parasites as the cause of your symptoms. No routine tests are currently available for the other types of viruses.

    This answer is based on source information from National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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    Most medications can be continued as usual if you're getting an upper endoscopy, but some medications can interfere with the preparation or the examination. Inform your doctor about medications you're taking, particularly aspirin products or antiplatelet agents, arthritis medications, anticoagulants (blood thinners such as warfarin or heparin), clopidogrel, insulin or iron products. Also, be sure to mention any allergies you have to medications.
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    An upper endoscopy, which is a medical procedure to visually examine the esophagus, the stomach and part of the duodenum, is commonly used to help identify the causes of abdominal or chest pain, nausea and vomiting, heartburn, bleeding, or swallowing disorders. Abnormalities can also be treated through the endoscope: polyps (usually benign growths) can be identified and removed, and tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken for analysis. Procedures such as stretching narrowed areas, removing swallowed objects, or treating bleeding from the upper digestive system can also be performed as part of an upper endoscopy. Endoscopy can also help identify inflammation, ulcers, and tumors.
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    Although complications can occur after upper endoscopy, they are rare when doctors who are specially trained and experienced in this procedure perform the test. Bleeding can occur at a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed, but it's usually minimal and rarely requires follow-up. Perforation (a hole or tear in the gastrointestinal tract lining) may require surgery but this is a very uncommon complication. Some patients might have a reaction to the sedatives or complications from heart or lung disease. Although complications after upper endoscopy are very uncommon, it's important to recognize early signs of possible complications. Contact your doctor immediately if you have a fever after the test or if you notice trouble swallowing or increasing throat, chest or abdominal pain, or bleeding, including black stools. Note that bleeding can occur several days after the procedure. If you have any concerns about a possible complication, it is always best to contact your doctor right away. 
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    Using recommended sanitary precautions will help you to avoid stomach flu. Thoroughly wash your hands after you use the bathroom and before you eat, do not share personal items like towels and eating utensils, and avoid contact with those who may be infected. If you are travelling in other countries, take precautions to avoid contaminated water and food. When you are looking for a daycare for a child or a home for an elderly relative, pay special attention to their sanitation practices. You can get a vaccination for the rotavirus, which is the most common cause of the stomach flu.

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    Prevention is the best way to avoid viral gastroenteritis. Two vaccines are available for viral gastroenteritis, RotaTeq and Rotarix. Both oral vaccines are approved by the US Food and Drug adminstration for infants aged 6 to14 weeks. Otherwise, you can avoid infection by:

    Washing your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after using the bathroom or changing diapersWashing your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before eatingDisinfecting contaminated surfaces such as countertops and baby-changing stationsNot eating or drinking foods or liquids that might be contaminated

    The answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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    A , Gastroenterology, answered

    If diagnosed with functional dyspepsia (FD) -- persistent upper abdominal pain or discomfort for which there is no identifiable cause -- you may have to perform lifestyle modifications.

    Make good eating choices

    • Avoid foods that trigger symptoms.
    • Eat small portions and avoid overeating.
    • Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
    • Chew your food slowly and completely.
    • Avoid activities that result in swallowing excess air, such as smoking, eating quickly, chewing gum, and drinking carbonated beverages.
    • Don't lie down within two hours of eating.
    • Keep your weight under control.
    Reduce stress
    • Use stress reduction techniques, including relaxation therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy, or exercise.
    Reduce fatigue
    • Get enough rest.
    • Go to bed and get up at the same times each day.
    • Avoid caffeine after noon.
    Exercise
    • Perform aerobic exercise three to five times a week for 20 to 40 minutes per session.
    • Don't exercise immediately after eating.
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    Some illnesses increase the risk of developing a viral gastrointestinal infection. Any disease that limits or weakens the immune system will increase the risk. In fact, some viruses that don't normally cause gastroenteritis, cytomegalovirus and enterovirus, for example, will cause the disease in people with compromised immune systems.

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    The best thing you can do to manage your diverticulitis is eat a high-fiber diet. A high-fiber diet softens stool so that it can pass through the intestines easier, reducing stress that can sometimes cause diverticulitis. By adding fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet, you will reduce the complications and symptoms associated with diverticulitis. Additionally, exercising regularly and managing your weight can help reduce symptoms.

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    Some types of viral gastrointestinal infection occur more frequently in children than in adults. Rotavirus is the most common virus affecting infants and young children, and is much more severe than in adults. Treatment varies somewhat as well. Children are much more vulnerable to dehydration, and don't respond as well to water for hydration as adults do. They have less body mass, and they turn over fluids and electrolytes faster than do adults.

    Intussusception, which usually affects children 6 months to 2 years old, is believed to have a viral origin in some cases.