Since I specialize in Natural “Digestive Health” in Greenville, SC I thought I would write this blog to talk about the subject matter few ever want to discuss. It is certainly not the topic over lunch or at a dinner party. However, millions of people suffer from these diseases daily and often know very little about them. So what are these conditions?
The Most Prevalent Digestive and Bowel Disorders
According to the National Institute of Health, the top six most prevalent digestive and bowel disorders are:
- Gerd: This refers to when the muscle at the end of the esophagus does not close properly, which allows stomach contents to leak back or reflux, into the esophagus.
- Gallstones: The gallbladder is most likely to cause trouble if something blocks the flow of bile through the bile ducts, usually a gallstone. Gallstones form when substances in the bile harden. Signs of gallstone attacks may include nausea, vomiting or pain in the abdomen, back or just under the right arm.
- Crohn’s Disease: This disease causes inflammation of the digestive system. It can affect any area from the mouth to the anus. It often affects the lower part of the small intestine called the ileum. Common symptoms are pain in the abdomen, bloody diarrhea, anemia, severe tiredness, weight loss, bleeding, sores on the skin and joint pain.
- Ulcerative Colitis: A disease that causes ulcers in the lining of the rectum and colon. Ulcers form where inflammation has killed the cells that usually line the colon.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): IBS is a problem that affects the large intestine, causing abdominal pain, bloating and changes in bowel habits. Some will experience constipation and others diarrhea.
- Chronic Constipation: Three or fewer bowel movements in a week would be considered chronic constipation.
The difference between ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s and irritable bowel is simply how they are diagnosed. Diagnosis is determined through a scope – either a colonoscopy or an endoscopy. What they are looking for is physical damage done to the intestines. The location identifies the diagnosis. If it happens to be in the large intestine then you have ulcerative colitis. If it is in the small intestine you have Crohn’s disease and if they cannot find any physical damage you may be diagnosed with irritable bowel disease.
Statistics on the Above Six Conditions
- Prevalence: 159.2 million people are affected
- Ambulatory care visits: 31.2 million
- Hospitalizations: 4.8 million
- Prescriptions written: 81.1 million (for just those conditions alone)
These are the statistics for the people who go to the doctor. Let’s look at the statistics for those that don’t go to the doctor and self-medicate.
The Top Four Over-The-Counter Medications in 2011 for The Immune And Digestive System Are:
- Cough/ Cold 4.2 Billion
- Anti-Inflammatories 2.3 Billion
- Heartburn/Antacids 1.3 Billion
- Laxatives 875 Million
TOTAL $8.67 Billion
That’s a lot of medications being sold. So what do all of these conditions have in common? STRESS !
Join me for my next blog on Natural Health and learn more about stress and the digestive system. I write monthly on Natural Health from Greenville, SC.
Yours in Good Health!