Did you know that there are more than 25 different conditions all relating to the digestive system. Some may not last long and could be symptomatic to other things – such as constipation and diarrhoea. However some are long lasting, life changing and need proper medical advice and support to help manage a condition.
A selection of the more common digestive problems are below but if you need further information, or the condition you are concerned about is not apparent, then visit the Patient Information section on the Core website.
Coeliac DiseaseCoeliac disease is caused by a sensitivity to the protein gluten (found in wheat, barley and rye), to the extent that gluten, if ingested, causes harm to the lining of the small intestine. The disease is thought to affect around 1% of people, but many will not experience symptoms – and so in a large proportion of people, the condition will remain undiagnosed. Symptoms of the condition can vary widely, but include: • diarrhoea, • vomiting, • weight loss • or a failure to gain weight, • abdominal pain • mouth ulcers. The best treatment for coeliac disease is simply to abstain from consuming any product containing gluten. Gluten is not an essential protein, and so, with a little planning, can simply be replaced in the diet. If you believe you may have coeliac disease, it is important to visit your doctor for a diagnosis. For further information, contact Coeliac UK – www.coeliac.co.uk
Heartburn and acid reflux
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a medical term given to a collection of otherwise unexplained symptoms relating to a disturbance of the large bowel. At some point in their lives, about a third of the population will be affected and one in ten people seek advice from a GP. It can be both a painful and distressing condition and should be properly diagnosed by a medical professional. Symptoms of IBS can include: • Abdominal pain and spasms, often relieved by going to the toilet. • Diarrhoea, Constipation or an alternation between the two. • Bloating or swelling of the abdomen. • Rumbling noises and excessive passage of wind. • Urgency (An urgent need to visit the toilet). • Incontinence (If a toilet is not nearby). • Sharp pain felt low down inside the rectum. • Sensation of incomplete bowel movement. IBS is more frequently diagnosed in women compared with men, in young compared with old and in western countries compared with the developing world. It is commonly associated with emotional tension, is frequently triggered by life changes, difficult life situations or stressful life events. There is no cure for IBS and as symptoms can be different for people so too can the treatment to help alleviate symptoms. For some changes to diet can help while others take anti-spasmodic drugs. Some people have found benefit from complementary medicine such as acupuncture or homeopathy or taking probiotics. More information, advice and support available from www.theibsnetwork.org