Do you use the Bristol Stool Chart? It’s a human-poop evaluation guide developed at the British Royal Infirmary in 1997. It can help you determine if your feces are normal. The Bristol Stool Chart—also called the Bristol Stool Scale—s widely used in clinical settings, especially with patients battling irritable bowel … Read More
Everyone experiences upset stomach, gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. Occasional, and even chronic, conditions can be controlled with medications, diet or surgery.
Symptoms can range from mild annoyances, or more serious conditions affecting the digestive system, which is made up of the stomach, esophagus, intestines, and gallbladder. For instance, appendicitis is a condition that causes the appendix—a small pouch attached to the large intestine—to become inflamed. The most common appendicitis symptoms include pain in the abdomen, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, and a low fever. Appendicitis is treated with antibiotics, and/or surgery to remove the appendix.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a burning feeling in the chest, which occurs when acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus. Medicines that block acid production or neutralize existing stomach acid can help with symptoms, but surgery is an option if these conservative treatments don’t work.
Too much stomach acid can also contribute to ulcers—sores in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine. Pain, burning, bloating, and vomiting are some hallmark ulcer symptoms. Bacteria called H. pylori cause ulcers; antibiotics can treat the infection. Other medicines reduce the amount of acid in the stomach.
The gallbladder is a small organ in the upper right side of the abdomen. It’s main job is to store bile, a fluid that helps with digestion. A number of problems can affect the gallbladder, including stones and inflammation—called cholecystitis.
Sometimes small pouches, called diverticula, form in the walls of the large intestines. They’re caused by pressure on the intestinal walls, such as from straining while having bowel movements. A condition called diverticulitis occurs if these pouches become inflamed or infected. Diverticulitis is common in older adults, affecting almost everyone over age 80. Antibiotics can clear the infection, but if diverticulitis doesn’t get better, surgery may be an option.
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“Heartburn” isn’t actually a medical term, but it’s one of the most commonly used words to describe symptoms of the upper gastrointestinal tract. An estimated 20 to 40 percent of adults report having chronic heartburn. Yet most people are confused by the symptom and how it differs from indigestion, reflux, … Read More
It’s easy to reach for antacids or prescription medications when the fiery pain of heartburn strikes. But you may find more relief by changing your diet and lifestyle instead. Heartburn is just one symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition that is often related to the foods you eat … Read More
Once you’ve reached your senior years, there’s a better-than-average chance you have diverticulosis, the development of small pockets, or diverticula, in the muscular layers of the colon (large intestine). Sounds serious, right? Not always. In fact, most of the time these pockets are harmless. But, about four out of 100 … Read More
An impacted bowel is one of the more unpleasant digestive issues you can experience. Bowel obstruction symptoms occur when a mass of dry, hard stool will not pass out of the colon or rectum. Bowel impaction can become a serious issue if not treated, and in extreme cases may even … Read More
Acid-blocking proton pump inhibitor drugs (the little purple pills), antacids, and other heartburn medications work by reducing stomach acid levels. But sometimes heartburn and indigestion are not caused by high stomach acids levels at all. In fact, these unpleasant symptoms can be triggered by low stomach acid levels.
This startling assertion … Read More
Your digestive system can experience a myriad of ill effects: stomachache, ulcer, bloated stomach, constipation. But what is GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease?
If you have regular bouts of GERD symptoms, also known as “heartburn”—that sharp, burning sensation in the chest—do not necessarily dismiss them as something you ate. You may … Read More
The liver doesn’t actually contain nerves, so the organ itself can’t feel pain. Even so, the sensation of liver pain can occur because the layer of tissue that surrounds the organ—it’s called Glisson’s Capsule—does contain nerves. Any diseases affecting the liver that increase its size can result in what feels … Read More
Gallstones are solid deposits in the gallbladder, a small pear-shaped organ that sits beneath the liver. The gallbladder has a simple function: to store and concentrate bile, a digestive enzyme made by the liver. In the United States, between 1 and 3 percent of adults develop gallstones each year and … Read More