Having a digestive disorder can be a double whammy. Not only do you feel unwell but you can also feel uncomfortable discussing your symptoms. But we’re here to tell you that digestive disorders are very common and there are treatments available that can help.
So, no matter how embarrassed you feel about visiting your doctor, there really is no need to suffer in silence.
Common Digestive Disorders
Here is a top to toe guide to some of the most common conditions that people experience with their digestive system:
(1) Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD)
GORD is a chronic digestive disease that is caused by stomach acid backing up into the oesophagus. This causes a burning pain in the centre of your chest that can feel worse after meals or when lying down. GORD is more severe than acid reflux or heartburn, which is an occasional burning sensation in the chest linked to indigestion.
People with GORD experience symptoms two or three times a week, including: pain in the chest or upper abdomen, difficulties swallowing or breathing, persistent heartburn, bad breath or nausea.
The condition occurs when the muscles at the base of the oesophagus become weaker allowing stomach acid to leak into the oesophagus, which can cause damage over the longer-term. It is important to monitor GORD as it is linked to an increased risk of cancer of the oesophagus.
(2) Barrett’s Oesophagus
Acid reflux and GORD can lead to the development of Barrett’s oesophagus, which is a condition that causes the cells in the oesophagus to grow abnormally. The symptoms are similar to that of GORD, particularly heartburn, and there is an increased risk of cancer so it needs to be monitored carefully.
Gallstones are very common although not everyone will develop symptoms. Gallstones are hard deposits that form in your gallbladder when there is too much cholesterol or waste in your bile, or if your gallbladder doesn’t empty properly. They can cause a sharp pain in the upper righthand part of your abdomen.
(5) Bowel Cancer
There are now screening tests that make it possible to detect the early signs of bowel cancer even before any symptoms develop. When diagnosed at an early stage, treatment of this type of cancer can be very successful.
IBS – or Irritable Bowel Syndrome – is believed to affect up to 20% of people in the UK. Symptoms vary widely and can include constipation, diarrhoea and bloating. Once you have received a diagnosis we can discuss the most appropriate course of treatment.
(7) Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
These are two of the most common conditions associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, weight loss and fever. There is currently no cure but symptoms can be managed following diagnosis.
(8) Haemorrhoids, Anal Fissures and Rectal Bleeding
Although these conditions cause physical discomfort and, often, embarrassment, they are commonplace and we offer a range of discreet and effective treatments.
There are several different types of hernia that can cause varying levels of pain and discomfort. An inguinal hernia occurs when part of your bowel or fatty tissue pokes through into your groin at the top of your inner thigh. Femoral hernias are similar but much less common. They tend to be associated with ageing. Umbilical hernias occur when fatty tissue or a part of your bowel pokes through your abdomen near your belly button. With hiatus hernias, part of your stomach pushes up into your chest by squeezing through an opening in your diaphragm.
Your doctor will be able to assess if you are suffering from a hernia, and its type and condition. He will make recommendations for treatment which may include surgery.