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9 Digestive Disorders That You Should Never Take Lightly

Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava


Digestive disorders are common conditions that can affect anyone at any time. Although most people are aware of these medical issues, yet they tend to overlook them when their bodies manifest the symptoms. This causes a delay in the treatment and can even lead to worsening of the condition. 

To avoid such a situation, continue reading to learn about the nine digestive disorders, their causes, symptoms, and some preventive measures.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD or chronic acid reflux is a condition in which you experience persistent burning pain in the centre of your chest.

This digestive disorder occurs when stomach acid travels back to the oesophagus (the muscular duct that carries food and fluid from the mouth to the stomach) and causes acid reflux.

Acid reflux is a common condition that affects almost everyone at some point and can go away on its own. However, if the episodes of acid reflux are frequent, you must seek medical intervention as it can lead to more serious problems. 

Causes of GERD

    • Hiatal hernia
    • Frequently having large meals
    • Lying down or sleeping immediately after having a meal 
    • Overeating 
    • Being overweight or obesity
    • Smoking
    • Pregnancy
    • Fried foods or beverages (soda, coffee, or alcohol)

Symptoms of GERD

    • Nausea 
    • Chest pain
    • Persistent heartburn
    • Pain when swallowing something
    • Inability to swallow 
    • Chronic cough
    • Bad breath
    • Hoarse voice

GERD preventive measures

    • Stop smoking
    • Avoid spicy foods and alcohol
    • Have your meals 2 to 3 hours before sleeping
    • Take measures to lose weight
    • Avoid wearing tight clothes
    • Get sufficient sleep (at least 7 to 8 hours)
    • Have healthy meals throughout the day
    • Consult your doctor if the symptoms are constant


The gallbladder is a small organ located under the liver which stores and secretes bile to aid digestion. Bile also helps in removing waste products created during metabolism.

This functioning is obstructed when cholesterol or bilirubin harden and form small solid pieces inside the gallbladder, called gallstones.

Depending on the severity, the size of a gallstone can range from that of a sand grain to a golf ball.

Causes of gallstones

    • High cholesterol levels
    • An increased amount of bilirubin
    • Can be inherited
    • Obesity
    • Unhealthy diet & sedentary lifestyle
    • Diabetes & liver complications
    • Pregnancy

Symptoms of gallstones

    • Pain in the upper belly, mostly on the right side under the ribs
    • Pain in the right shoulder or back
    • Prolonged upset stomach 
    • Frequent episodes of digestive complications, indigestion, heartburn, and gas
    • Prolonged belly pain
    • Fever and chills
    • Dark urine & light coloured faeces

Gallstone preventive measures

    • Increase fibre intake
    • Stay active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle
    • Avoid fried foods
    • Manage diabetes and improve liver health
    • Have more fresh fruits and green vegetables
    • Increase the intake of whole-grain foods
    • Choose low-fat dairy products

Celiac disease

It is an autoimmune condition in which the body becomes gluten intolerant. In other words, when a person with celiac disease consumes any food which contains gluten, their immune system starts attacking the walls of the small intestine.

Causes of celiac disease

    • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
    • Type 1 diabetes
    • Down syndrome
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Symptoms of celiac disease

    • Abdominal pain and bloating
    • Bone or joint pain
    • Constipation or diarrhoea
    • Gas or heartburn
    • Unintentional weight loss and tingling of hands or feet

Note: To manage this condition, the best way is to stick strictly to a gluten-free diet and consult your doctor whenever you feel necessary.

Crohn’s disease

To understand Crohn’s disease, you should first know about inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD, in simple terms, is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract or a part of it.

Crohn’s disease affects different parts of the digestive tract (the colon and the last part of the small intestine), making them swollen or irritated. This is a life-long condition that has no cure and can even become life-threatening if left untreated.

Causes of Crohn’s disease

    • Smoking 
    • Autoimmune disorder
    • Genetically inherited

Symptoms of Crohn’s disease

    • Abdominal pain
    • Chronic diarrhoea & loss of appetite
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Anal fissure & fistula

Crohn’s disease preventive measures

    • Quit smoking
    • Eat a healthy and low-fat diet
    • Exercise regularly
    • Take measures to manage stress

Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is another form of IBD. The condition is similar to Crohn’s disease and mainly targets the colon (lower end of the digestive tract) by causing ulcers inside them.

The condition usually arises when the immune system is unable to function properly and targets the organs.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis

    • Diarrhoea, urgent bowel movements & severe abdominal pain
    • Fatigue, nausea & weight loss
    • Skin rashes & mouth sores
    • Joint pain & liver complications
    • Visible blood, mucus or pus in bowel movements

Ulcerative colitis preventive measures

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Avoid emotional stress
  • Exercise regularly
  • Consult your doctor for medicines

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Also termed spastic colon or irritable colon, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects the large intestine.

The condition does not cause life-threatening symptoms but can have a prolonged effect on your life, such as unwillingness to take part in daily activities.

Causes of IBS

    • A family history of IBS
    • Emotional stress
    • Anxiety or depression
    • Excess of bad gut bacteria
    • Food intolerance

Symptoms of IBS

    • Repeated episodes of diarrhoea
    • Constipation, gas, or bloating
    • Lower belly pain or cramps
    • Fatigue, heartburn, and indigestion
    • Mucus in the poop

IBS preventive measures

    • Avoid caffeine
    • Drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water every day
    • Quit smoking
    • Take measures to reduce stress
    • Increase the intake of fibrous foods


Haemorrhoids or piles cause swollen veins inside the rectum. It is a common condition in adults that also leads to severe discomfort and the occurrence of blood that is visible on faeces.

Causes of haemorrhoids

    • Obesity 
    • Pushing hard to pass the poop, such as during constipation
    • Heavy weightlifting
    • Pregnancy 
    • Prolonged sitting

Symptoms of haemorrhoids

    • Itchy anus
    • Hard & tender lumps near the anus
    • Pain in the anus while sitting
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Pain in the anus while walking

Haemorrhoids preventive measures

    • Drink plenty of water (at least 2 – 3 litres every day)
    • Increase fibre intake
    • Soak anus area in warm water for around 30 minutes
    • Stay active
    • Avoid lifting heavyweights


Three important terms can help you understand diverticulitis:

    • Diverticula: Usually unharmful, diverticula are tiny pouches that can form in the digestive tract
    • Diverticulosis: The presence of diverticula in the intestines
    • Diverticulitis: It is a condition that causes infection and inflammation of the diverticula

Causes of diverticulitis

    • Being overweight
    • Smoking
    • A sedentary lifestyle
    • Poor dietary choices such as having lots of fat

Symptoms of diverticulitis

    • Severe abdominal pain on the left side
    • Nausea and bloating
    • Chills and fever
    • Constipation or diarrhoea

Diverticulitis preventive measures:

    • Increase fibre intake
    • Drink sufficient water
    • Exercise regularly
    • Avoid refined foods

Anal fissure

An anal fissure is a condition that causes tiny breaks or tears in the lining of the anus. It is usually a non-serious condition that can be treated at home. However, surgical intervention is important if the condition occurs frequently or gets aggravated.

Causes of anal fissure

    • Straining during childbirth
    • Having IBD
    • Decrease blood flow to the anus
    • Engaging in anal sex

Symptoms of anal fissure

    • A visible tear in the skin near the anus
    • Pain while passing stool
    • Visible blood on the stool
    • A small lump near the tear

Anal fissure preventive measures

    • Keep the anal area dry
    • Gently cleans the area
    • Drink plenty of fluid and have fibre rich foods
    • Taking measures to treat diarrhoea immediately

Final thoughts

The above-mentioned are nine common digestive disorders that can impact your overall well-being significantly.

Therefore, you should be aware of them to take measures that can help manage the condition and promote your health. 

Moreover, you should also frequently opt for stomach screening. This health check can provide you with vital insights to prevent the onset of stomach ailments. In case you are already afflicted, it can help you to take necessary preventive measures to control the aggravation.

Book The Complete Stomach Screening Test Today!

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