Common digestive diseases include Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome. Common symptoms of these and other digestive conditions include diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, nausea, pain, weight gain or loss, and bloating, however, one may exhibit these symptoms without an underlying disorder.
The cause of digestive issues varies greatly. In conditions such as GERD, the sphincter that constricts the opening between the stomach and esophagus does not close completely and stomach contents leak back into the esophagus. Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome are commonly mistaken for the same condition; however, inflammatory bowel syndrome is known as a "functional condition" and does not have a known cause at this time. Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a disease of chronic inflammation and includes specific conditions such as Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. The cause of many digestive issues is thought to be due to stress and/or abnormalities of the gastrointestinal nervous system. These diseases and digestive health, in general, are very important to recognize as 80% of the immune system lies within the digestive system. Poor digestive health = a poor immune system.
For better digestive health, pay attention to what you are putting into your body. Proper nutrition is key to avoiding symptoms and conditions of the gastrointestinal system. Avoid excess sugar and refined carbohydrates. Good quality probiotics (the good bacteria naturally found in your gut) help to strengthen the immune system and promote absorption by the gut flora. To manage stress, enjoy relaxation-promoting activities such as yoga, meditation, etc. Lastly, make sure to exercise on a regular basis as physical activity also promotes a healthy digestive system. Chiropractic adjustments to the specific segments innervating the digestive system have been shown to greatly improve digestive dysfunction.