Health & Wellness, Health Conditions, Important Facts

Top 10 Digestive Disorders

Top 10 Digestive Disorders

The digestive system is responsible for breaking down food and absorbing the necessary nutrients required to provide energy to the body. However, many individuals experience digestive problems that affect the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Conditions that disrupt the normal process of digestion are called digestive disorders, causing symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and bloating.

If you have ever experienced digestive discomfort or issues, this article is a must-read. We have carefully selected a list of the most common digestive diseases, providing you with useful information on their causes, symptoms and available treatments. Whether you want to learn about a specific digestive disorder or expand your knowledge on the topic, this post can help. Explore the realm of digestive health and learn about the top 10 digestive disorders you should be aware of. Let’s dive in!

Complete details on Digestive Disorders.

1. GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is one of the chronic digestive disorders that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. In individuals with GERD, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) weakens or relaxes abnormally, allowing stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus.


This condition, known as acid reflux, can cause

  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing due to the backward flow of stomach acid.


  • Obesity
  • Hiatal hernias
  • Pregnancy
  • Lifestyle choices such as smoking

If left untreated, GERD can lead to esophagitis, esophageal strictures, and a higher risk of esophageal cancer.


Although there is no cure for GERD, it can be controlled with lifestyle changes, including

  • Dietary adjustments
  • Weight loss
  • Avoiding trigger foods.
  • Medications such as Antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and H2-receptor blockers

2. IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the serious prevalent digestive disorders that affects the large intestine. This can cause cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain.


The exact causes of IBS are unknown, changes in bowel movements and gut-brain connections are thought to be involved. Risk factors include family history, youth, female gender, and psychological stress.


IBS symptoms can vary from person to person, making diagnosis challenging. Constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and abdominal cramping are common symptoms. Individuals may experience mucus in their stool, a sensation of incomplete bowel movement, and an urgency to have a bowel movement.


Treatment for IBS seeks to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. These usually include lifestyle changes, dietary changes, medications, and stress management techniques. Regular exercise, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and stress management are some examples of lifestyle changes. Some examples of dietary changes include identifying and avoiding trigger foods, increasing fibre intake, and avoiding large meals. Medications such as antispasmodics, laxatives, and some antidepressants may be used to treat certain symptoms.

3. Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the consumption of gluten causes damage to the small intestine. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 100 people worldwide are affected by this.

Causes and Symptoms:

Celiac disease is caused by an abnormal immune response to the gluten protein gliadin, present in wheat, barley and rye. The immune system of people with celiac disease attacks the small intestine because it perceives gliadin as a threat, causing inflammation and damage to the villi lining of the small intestine.

Common symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and bloating 
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pale, foul-smelling stool
  • Growth delay in children
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis (gluten-induced skin rash)

Symptoms usually begin in childhood with the introduction of gluten-containing foods. However, celiac disease can appear at any age. Some people may have problems such as anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, neurological disorders and more in place of abdominal symptoms.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

A lifelong strict, gluten-free diet is the only proven treatment for celiac disease. This includes avoiding all gluten-containing foods and products such as rye, barley and wheat. Those with celiac disease should read labels carefully and be aware of potential hidden sources of gluten. In some cases, additional nutritional supplements may be required to compensate for dietary deficiencies resulting from poor absorption of nutrients from the gut. Regular consultation with a medical professional is essential to check the condition and ensure that a gluten-free diet is being followed.

4. Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that primarily affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is characterized by chronic inflammation that can occur anywhere in the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation usually spreads through the entire thickness of the affected bowel wall and can cause a variety of symptoms.


Although the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, genetic, environmental, and immune factors are believed to be involved. It is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system inadvertently attacks the GI tract, causing chronic inflammation. Other factors such as an overactive immune response to intestinal bacteria, a compromised intestinal barrier, and a family history of the disease may also affect its development.


  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Fever
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Feeling of incomplete evacuation

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Laboratory tests, endoscopy, CT or MRI scans, and biopsy are used to diagnose Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease cannot be cured, but various treatments can significantly reduce symptoms and induce remission. Treatments are:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids
  • Immunosuppressive drugs
  • Biologics that specifically target inflammatory proteins
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Antibiotics
  • Surgery to remove severely damaged parts of the intestine
  • Alternative medicine techniques such as acupuncture

5. Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that results in ulcers and chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. The main symptom is frequent abdominal pain and diarrhea that may contain blood or pus.

Causes and Symptoms:

Although the exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, it is thought to be related to an abnormal immune response that causes inflammation in the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Important signs and symptoms include:

  • Bloody or loose diarrhoea
  • Cramps and soreness in the abdomen
  • An urge to urinate
  • Fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • appetite loss
  • Fever
  • Anemia

Symptoms range from mild to severe and come and go in cycles called flares. Although ulcerative colitis can occur at any age, it usually begins between the ages of 15 and 30.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Diagnosis involves a medical history, physical examination, blood tests, stool sample analysis, and a colonoscopy to check for inflammation. Although there isn’t a recognised treatment for ulcerative colitis, there are ways to significantly lessen symptoms. Choices consist of:

  • Immunosuppressants to lower inflammation
  • Anti-inflammatory medications such as amino salicylates to reduce swelling
  • Biologics that target certain proteins implicated in inflammation
  • Corticosteroids to promptly lower a flare-up
  • Surgery to remove the colon if medications are ineffective

Achieving long-term remission and lowering inflammation during flare-ups are the main goals of treatment. Most patients with ulcerative colitis can lead active lives if their condition is properly managed.

6. Diverticulitis

one of the common digestive disorders called diverticulitis is caused by inflammation or infection of tiny pouches called diverticula in the colon’s wall. Fever, constipation, and stomach pain can all be brought on by this inflammation.

Causes and Symptoms:

Diverticula, which are tiny sacs or pockets in the colon’s wall, are the source of diverticulitis. These pockets develop when weak areas in the colon’s wall are forced outward by internal pressure. A low-fiber diet, persistent constipation, or straining during bowel motions can all contribute to this pressure.

Diverticulitis is the term for the illness that develops when the diverticula becomes inflamed or infected. Diverticulitis’s primary symptoms include:

  • Pain in the lower left abdomen
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Tenderness surrounding the lower left abdomen

Diverticulitis can cause aching, continuous pain, or intermittent episodes. It could be minor or really serious.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Diverticulitis is diagnosed through a physical examination, medical history, blood tests, and imaging tests such as a CT scan or colonoscopy. Antibiotics, painkillers, and a liquid diet are typically used to treat mild cases of diverticulitis to give the colon a rest. Hospitalisation, IV antibiotics, bowel rest, and maybe surgery may be necessary in more serious cases.

Patients who experience recurrent episodes of diverticulitis or who develop major consequences such as fistulas, abscesses, perforations, or bowel obstructions may require procedures such as colon resection surgery. Diverticulitis flare-ups can be avoided in the future by adopting long-term lifestyle modifications such as increasing fibre intake, exercising, stress management, and maintaining a healthy weight.

7. Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are painful, bloated, and sometimes bleeding veins in the rectum and/or anus. About 4.4% of Americans suffer from haemorrhoids, making it a very prevalent condition.

Causes and Symptoms:

Hemorrhoids can be caused by numerous conditions, including constipation and straining during bowel movements, prolonged sitting, pregnancy, obesity, a low-fibre diet, and heavy lifting. Symptoms may include:

  • A painful lump or swelling around the anus
  • Blood on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl following a bowel movement
  • Anal itching, pain, irritation, or swelling
  • Feces leaking

External haemorrhoids swell close to the anus opening and are felt, whereas internal haemorrhoids form inside the rectum and are typically invisible. Protrusion during stools and painless bleeding during bowel movements are common symptoms.


Hemorrhoids can often be diagnosed just by examination of the anus. Your doctor may order additional tests like a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to rule out other possible causes.

Initial treatment involves increasing fibre intake, oral fluids, stool softeners, topical ointments, and Sitz baths. Non-surgical techniques including coagulation, infrared coagulation, rubber band ligation, and sclerotherapy can be used for more severe cases. Very big, severe, or persistent haemorrhoids may be candidates for surgery, such as a haemorrhoidectomy.

Modifying one’s lifestyle to include physical activity, avoiding prolonged straining during bowel movements, and managing constipation can help prevent haemorrhoids from forming or worsening. Maintaining a healthy weight and consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fibre can further reduce the risk.

8. Gallstones

The gallbladder, an organ that collects and distributes bile to help with digestion, can develop gallstones, which are hard deposits. Over 20 million Americans suffer from gallstones, which are more common in women, those over 40, and overweight persons.

Causes and Symptoms:

Gallstones form when there is an imbalance in the chemical composition of bile, bilirubin or cholesterol and can solidify into deposits that resemble stones. This imbalance may be caused by an excess of cholesterol in your bile or by improper bile emptying from your gallbladder. Gallstones may go completely unnoticed and can only be found by accident. Among the symptoms are:

  • Abdominal pain in the upper right that develops suddenly and is severe enough to cause shoulder aches
  • Soreness following meals, particularly those high in fat
  • Bloating, vomiting, or nausea
  • Yellowing skin, or jaundice, if a stone obstructs the bile ducts
  • Infection or inflammation caused by gallstones may manifest as fever, chills, or pain

Diagnosis and Treatment:

The initial suspicion of gallstones is frequently based on symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe diagnostic tests such as an MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound to see the stones to be sure. Liver function can also be assessed by blood testing. The size and placement of the stones determine the course of treatment. Medication to dissolve smaller stones or a better diet to avoid attacks can be used to treat them. A cholecystectomy—a procedure to remove the gallbladder—is frequently necessary for larger or more difficult stones. There is a high success rate for resolution with this laparoscopic surgery.

9. Peptic Ulcer Disease

The term “peptic ulcer disease,” often known as “peptic ulcers,” describes excruciating sores that appear in the esophageal, upper small intestine or stomach walls. They occur when the protective layer of mucus in these areas is compromised, allowing the stomach acid and digestive enzymes to damage the underlying tissue. The primary causes of peptic ulcers are prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection.


  • Burning sensation
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating, nausea, vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Severe symptoms such as blood in the stool or vomit


Peptic ulcer treatment methods include both symptom management and addressing the underlying cause. This can entail taking antibiotics in combination to treat the H. pylori infection, drugs such as proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers to lessen the production of stomach acid, and antacids to relieve symptoms. Lifestyle changes such as avoiding stress and trigger foods, quitting smoking, and lowering NSAID use, can also help in managing and preventing ulcer recurrence.

10. Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is most common of the few frequent digestive disorders caused by the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in dairy products.

Causes and Symptoms:

Lactose intolerance occurs when the small intestine does not produce enough of the enzyme lactase to break down lactose during digestion. The undigested lactose goes to the colon, where normal bacteria interact with it and generate symptoms including bloating, stomach cramps, gas, diarrhea, and nausea.

Although it can occur at any age, adults are more likely to acquire lactose intolerance. The causes include:

  • Primary lactose intolerance – Arises when lactase synthesis diminishes after infancy and early childhood.
  • Secondary lactose intolerance – When the small intestine is damaged, as in the case of Crohn’s or celiac disease, the synthesis of lactase is reduced.
  • Congenital lactose intolerance – An extremely rare genetic condition known as congenital lactose intolerance manifests itself from birth.
  • Developmental lactose intolerance – Occurs in premature babies

The severity of symptoms depends on the amount of lactose consumed and the degree of lactase deficiency. While some people may only feel slight pain, others may react more severely.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Lactose intolerance is typically diagnosed through a combination of self-reported symptoms, elimination diets, breath tests, and stool acidity tests.

The major treatment is a dietary adjustment to avoid foods and beverages with lactose, including milk, soft cheeses, and ice cream. Alternatives such as lactose-free or lactose-reduced kinds are available. Lactase enzyme supplements may help in the digestion of trace amounts of lactose in cases of mild intolerance. Primary lactose intolerance cannot be cured, although it can be effectively treated with diet avoidance.