Gastro health: Expert lists most common digestive illness and their treatments

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New Delhi: Gastrointestinal or digestive problems are very common and can affect individuals of all ages. This article aims to provide insights into the common causes, symptoms, and treatments for these issues, helping people become more informed about their digestive health.

Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, Consultant Bariatric and Laparoscopic Surgeon, MetaHeal- Laparoscopy and Bariatric Surgery Center, Mumbai, Saifee, Apollo and Namaha Hospitals, Mumbai, said, “By understanding the common gastrointestinal issues, their symptoms, and treatment options, individuals can take proactive steps towards better digestive health. Early intervention, proper diagnosis, and adopting healthy habits can significantly improve overall well-being and quality of life. Remember to prioritise your digestive health for a happier and healthier life.”

Most common gastrointestinal issues

Acidity, Acid Reflux, and Heartburn: Characterized by a burning sensation in the chest or throat. In severe cases it can lead to change in voice or asthma like symptoms due to reflux of the stomach contents into the wind-pipe.

Bloating, Gas, and Flatulence: This is a very common complaint and results in discomfort, a feeling of fullness in the abdomen and flatulence.

Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhoea: These may result after an infection or indigestion and are often accompanied by loose motions and an upset stomach.

Abdominal Pain: Ranges from mild discomfort to severe cramping.

Colitis and Appendicitis: Inflammation of the colon or appendix, causes pain and digestive disturbances.

Ulcer-Related Problems: Including gastric ulcers and peptic ulcers, leading to acidity, abdominal pain and discomfort. In severe cases it can also lead to perforation of the ulcer causing a life-threatening emergency.

Gallstone Disease: Formation of stones in the gallbladder, causing pain and digestive issues.

Hernia: Abnormal bulging of organs through weakened muscles, resulting in discomfort and complications.

Constipation: Difficulty passing stools, often associated with hard stools and infrequent bowel movements.

Piles, Fissure, and Fistula: Conditions affecting the anal region, causing pain and discomfort during bowel movements.

Symptoms and seeking Medical Attention

These gastrointestinal/digestive issues can manifest in various symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and constipation. “Persistent or worsening symptoms should not be ignored, and it’s crucial to seek medical attention to identify the underlying cause,” the expert added.

Diagnostic tests

Doctors may recommend diagnostic tests like complete blood count, liver function test, urine and stool analysis, ultrasound of the abdomen, UGI endoscopy, colonoscopy, or other imaging studies to aid in diagnosis. The type of tests will vary from patient to patient.

Treatment approach

The approach to treating gastrointestinal issues varies depending on the specific condition and may include medications, dietary adjustments, lifestyle modifications, and occasionally surgical intervention. It is crucial to maintain a balanced diet, stay well-hydrated, engage in regular physical activity, and effectively manage stress.

Dr Bhasker said, “The traditional Indian diet, characterized by its richness in spices, oils, and carbohydrates, can sometimes contribute to digestive problems like acidity, bloating, and indigestion. It’s important to avoid consuming spicy foods, fried items, and irregular meals. Additionally, poor sanitation and hygiene practices can also lead to digestive issues, making it imperative to refrain from frequent consumption of outside food. Establishing a daily exercise routine is beneficial for maintaining digestive health.”

If symptoms persist, it’s recommended to seek professional medical advice rather than relying on internet sources for solutions. Consulting a qualified healthcare provider is essential for receiving accurate guidance and appropriate treatment.

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