Research shows that at least 4 in 10 people suffer from digestive disorders that can disrupt their daily routine. From aches to chronic diseases, stomach conditions affect people of all ages, exhibit a myriad of symptoms, and are accompanied by mild to severe discomfort. Depending on the severity, certain changes in diet and lifestyle can help manage the symptoms. In severe cases, a combination of medications and treatment is recommended by medical professionals.
Here’s an overview of the four common stomach conditions and their causes:
Bloating and gas
This is, undoubtedly, one of the most common stomach conditions and digestive problems among both men and women. One may feel extremely bloated and pass gas regularly in this condition. In fact, it is not uncommon for a person to pass gas up to 21 times a day, indicating normal digestive activity. Gas is nothing more than a byproduct of food that the body releases during digestion. Veggies like asparagus, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and onions can cause gas to form during digestion, and the resulting buildup can also lead to bloating.
Also known as heartburn, it is one of the more severe stomach conditions that results in a painful burning sensation from the upper part of the stomach all the way up to the chest. Overeating, consuming extra spicy foods, excess caffeine or alcohol consumption, stress, and even general inactivity after a heavy meal can cause reflux and lead to heartburn. Making changes in the daily diet can help a person manage the discomfort associated with heartburn, but one must avoid eating fatty, greasy, and fried foods and stay away from carbonated beverages like sodas and other bubbly drinks.
Constipation is persistent discomfort that results in a person having fewer or difficult bowel movements. The frequency of bowel movements is limited, and one might experience difficulty passing stools regularly. In some cases, people with constipation may have less than three regular bowel movements in a week. Several things cause constipation, including blockages in the rectum or colon, problems with the nerve endings that control these muscles, and conditions that prompt hormonal changes in the body. Pregnant women and people with diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism may be more susceptible to constipation due to these conditions causing hormonal imbalances in the body.
Diarrhea is the exact opposite of constipation, as an individual is unable to control the frequency of bowel movements. People with diarrhea experience bowel movements multiple times a day. The condition can be acute or chronic, depending on the severity of its associated trigger. Bacteria from water, certain viruses or parasites, food sensitivity or intolerance, and side effects of medications are some of the possible triggers of diarrhea. It is one of the more common stomach conditions that affect millions of people each year.