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Let’s talk about the most common gastrointestinal diseases.

Few numbers

Rosstat reportsthat every year about 5000 new cases of diseases of the digestive system are recorded. In 2017, for every 1,000 cases, 34 had some kind of gastrointestinal tract problem.

The United States confirms that digestive diseases are common and very expensive. Every year in the country fix more than 54 million outpatients who first experienced gastrointestinal problems. Americans spend $ 136 billion annually on health care for the digestive system alone.

What do they complain about more often?

Recent poll showedthat the most common symptoms are:

  • heartburn and reflux (30.9%);
  • abdominal pain (24.8%);
  • bloating (20.6%);
  • diarrhea (20.2%);
  • constipation (19.7%);
  • nausea and vomiting (9.5%);
  • dysphagia (5.8%);
  • bowel incontinence (4.8%).

What diseases do these symptoms indicate?

It is unlikely that one of the listed complaints in itself would unequivocally point to a specific diagnosis. The doctor will always have several variants of diseases that will need to be “worked out”. Consider the most common diagnoses.

CDC among the most popular reasons for visiting a gastroenterologist calls gastroesophageal reflux and diseases of the gallbladder and biliary tract.

In Moscow analyzedthat among all diseases of the digestive system, gastritis and duodenitis prevail, followed by diseases of the gallbladder.

If we pay attention to the causes of death from gastrointestinal diseases in Russia, then become leaders gastritis, duodenitis, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer.

Let’s take a closer look at the top five that are highlighted by statistics.


Gastroesophageal reflux is the discharge of acidic stomach contents into the esophagus. This happens because of problems with the sphincter – a muscle ring that works as a “door” between the digestive tract. If it does not close completely, undigested food gets back.

The main symptom of GERD is heartburn, a sour or bitter taste in the mouth. Sometimes symptoms may be limited to a normal cough. The unpleasant sensations are worse after eating or at night when body position is conducive to reflux. Treat the disease with proton pump inhibitors – drugs that reduce acidity.

Gastritis and duodenitis

Gastritis and duodenitis are mucosal inflammation. In the first case, the stomach is damaged. In the second, the duodenum, the part of the small intestine that follows the stomach.

Usually, mucosal inflammation appears after an attack by the microbe Helicobacter pylori. Another option is irritation with drugs, alcohol, spicy food, or the throwing of bile from the small intestine into the stomach. Gastritis can also be autoimmune, when the immune system attacks the stomach’s own cells.

Gastritis and duodenitis are characterized by diffuse pain in the epigastrium – the solar plexus region. They overtake during or immediately after eating. Along with the pain, there is a heaviness from what has been eaten and a feeling of indigestion, expands the upper abdomen.

With autoimmune gastritis, the patient is helped to establish digestion and compensate for vitamin deficiencies. If duodenitis or gastritis is caused by Helicobacter, they get rid of it with combination therapy. This is a complex of three or four drugs, two of which are antibiotics. If reflux is to blame, then they try to eliminate its causes.

Peptic ulcer

An ulcer is also formed due to inflammation of the mucous membrane of the stomach or duodenum. Often the disease appears as a consequence of Helicobacter pylori gastritis. A little less often – as a result of the abuse of painkillers. For example, aspirin or ibuprofen. Very rarely – due to the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, when too much gastrin hormone is synthesized due to the tumor, which stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

A characteristic symptom of an ulcer is paroxysmal periodic pain. The higher the ulcer is, the faster the pain occurs after eating. With the most “distant” ulcer – the duodenal ulcer – cutting pains can appear three hours after eating or at night, on an empty stomach. The attacks are aggravated in spring and autumn.

Peptic ulcer disease is treated by reducing acidity and removing Helicobacter pylori. Eliminate the microbe in the same way as with gastritis.

Diseases of the gallbladder and its ducts

With dyskinesia of the biliary tract, the contraction of the gallbladder, its ducts or the sphincter, which passes bile into the small intestine, is disrupted. As a result, the outflow of secretion is accelerated or, which happens more often, slows down.

In the stagnant bile, harmful microflora can settle and there is an inflammation of the gallbladder – cholecystitis. Also, thick bile can lead to the formation of stones – cholelithiasis. A bile duct blocked by a stone causes a severe pain syndrome – an attack of biliary colic.

These are not the only, but possible causes of disturbances in the functioning of the gallbladder. These diseases are characterized by paroxysmal pain in the right hypochondrium of varying intensity and nausea. Jaundice may appear.

Bile problems are treated with diet, antispasmodics, and deoxycholic acid preparations (Ursofalk or Ursosan).


Yes, you have not seen it in the top of the most common reasons for contacting a gastroenterologist. But gallbladder disease often goes hand in hand with pancreatitis. The fact is that the bile and pancreas have a common excretory duct. If problems arise in the biliary tract, for example, due to a stone, the pressure in the common canal also increases.

This threatens that bile under pressure will flow into the ducts of the pancreas. The pancreas produces enzymes that help dissolve food. These enzymes are activated only in the intestines upon contact with intestinal juice and bile.

If enzymes and bile meet earlier, then it is not the food that begins to dissolve, but the delicate cells of the pancreas. This is how pancreatitis begins. This disease is characterized by constant girdle pain and repeated vomiting, which does not bring relief. An attack of pancreatitis is a serious reason to call an ambulance.



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