Intestinal Disorders

Intestinal Disorders include any medical conditions or health complaints that afflict or originate in the small or large intestines, the sections of the digestive system primarily concerned with absorption of nutrients and water. These organs are essential to digestion, and any loss of function of these organs can have very serious health consequences.

Bile Reflux

Occurs bile flows upward from the small intestine into the Stomach and Esophagus. Bile is digestive fluid that is produced by the Liver. Bile Reflux often accompanies Acid Reflux, where Stomach acid flows back up into the Esophagus, and alone or together they cause burning sensations and pain in the upper chest and throat.

Either of these conditions can potentially increase the risk of esophageal cancer. Unlike Acid Reflux, Bile Reflux cannot normally be usually controlled with diet or lifestyle changes. In most cases, Bile Reflux can be treated is medications, but it may require surgery in severe cases.

Blind Loop Syndrome

Also called Stasis Syndrome or Stagnant Loop Syndrome, this occurs when part of the small intestine is bypassed and cut-off from the flow of digestive juices and food, causing increased bacterial growth in the cut-off section of the small intestine. These bacteria can then interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients, and this can lead to diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition.

The condition is often a complication of abdominal surgery, but it can also result from defects in the Colon and also by some diseases. Antibiotics are usually sufficient to treat the condition, but in some cases surgery is required.

Celiac Disease

A digestive disorder which is triggered by the consumption of gluten, a protein commonly contained in bread, cookies, crackers, pasta, pizza crust, and many other foods containing wheat, barley, oats, or rye. After someone with Celiac Disease consumes gluten, the protein causes an immune reaction in the small intestine, which causes damage to the surface of the small intestine and reduces its ability to absorb certain nutrients.

Eventually, the reduced absorption of nutrients can cause vitamin deficiencies in the brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, Liver, and other organs of the body, and this can leave the body open to a range of illnesses and also cause a range of potentially serious health complications. Currently, there is no cure for Celiac Disease. The main treatment option for managing the condition is dietary changes.

Cyclospora Infection

An uncommon intestinal infection caused by a microscopic, single-celled parasite, which occurs as a result of consuming contaminated water and produce. The infection can cause a range of symptoms, such as frequent and often very explosive and watery diarrhea, which may alternate with periods of constipation.

The main treatment option is antibiotics combined with improved food-hygiene practices.

Intestinal Obstruction

Blockage that prevents food and fluid from passing through the small intestine or Colon. The blockage occurs because of adhesions, which are fibrous bands of tissue in the intestine, or as the result of hernias or tumors. The condition can cause a range of symptoms, such as abdominal pain, swelling of the abdomen, nausea, and vomiting.

If left untreated, the condition can cause the blocked parts of the intestine to die, causing severe infection kin the body which can be potentially fatal. The condition requires prompt medical care.

Lactose Intolerance

The inability to fully digest the sugar (lactose) contained in milk and dairy products. The condition is not usually life threatening, but it can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms, such as diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, bloating, and has. Lactose Intolerance is caused by the lack of lactase, an enzyme produced by the lining of your small intestine that breaks down lactose so that it can be absorbed into your bloodstream. As such, Lactose Intolerance is not a food allergy, and it does not involve the immune system.

The best treatment for the condition is limiting the amount of milk and dairy products in the diet. To avoid developing a calcium deficiency, due to decreased milk and dairy consumption, vitamin supplements should also be taken.

Shigella Infection

Also called Shigellosis, this is an intestinal infection caused by a family of bacteria known as shigella. The condition can cause a range of symptoms, such as abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Not all people with shigella in their gut will develop symptoms.

The bacteria are often transmitted by direct contact with the bacteria via stool, such as when a person does not wash their hands properly after changing diapers, or as the result of consuming contaminated food or drinking, or by swimming in contaminated water. The condition is most common in developing nations where there is poor sanitation and a lack of clean water. The condition is treated with antibiotics, in conjunction with improved food and hygiene standards, and obtaining access to clean water.

Whipple’s Disease

Also called Intestinal Lipodystrophy, this is a rare bacterial infection that reduces the gastrointestinal system’s ability to breakdown foods, such as fats and carbohydrates, and reduces the small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients. The bacteria can also infect other organs of the body, such as the brain, eyes, heart, and joints.

As a result of such wide spread infection, Whipple’s Disease can cause a very wide range of symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, weight loss, inflamed ankle, knee, and wrist joints, fatigue, weakness, memory loss, confusion, fever, cough, loss of balance, seizures, and other symptoms. A lengthy course of antibiotics is required to treat the condition. Without proper treatment, the condition can be fatal.

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