The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a long, multifaceted tube whose ultimate purpose is to break down ingested food particles into usable nutrients and absorb them into the body. The GI tract is made up of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine, each of which may be affected by conditions such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), colitis, colon polyps and others. Prevention or relief from these conditions can often be achieved by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and good bowel habits.

Symptoms of gastrointestinal problems can include bloating, constipation, diarrhea, changing bowels consistency, vomiting, abdominal pain, belching or GI bleeding. Some common GI disorders include acid reflux, constipation, peptic ulcers, lactose intolerance, gallstones, diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Many patient suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Frequently patients experience bloating, gassiness, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pains. The condition is frequently mistaken for gluten sensitivity and is usually caused by abnormal bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. This can frequently be controlled with dietary modifications and sometime antibiotics. Associated conditions can include rosacea, fibromyalgia, refractory acne, post-menonpausal hot flashes, hives, fatigue and many other nonspecific symptoms.

 

Additional Expert Sources:

American College of Gastroenterology
US News & World Report

 

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