Although we may feel uncomfortable talking about gastrointestinal problems, they’re incredibly common and affect most everyone at some point or another in their life. In fact, in the United States alone, digestive diseases presently affect an estimated 60 to 70 million people.
But because of the sometimes-embarrassing symptoms associated with digestive diseases and disorders, people avoid seeking treatment. While some of these conditions are simply minor annoyances that can be easily remedied, others have the potential to cause serious, potentially life-threatening damage if left untreated. Read on to learn more about the 12 most common digestive diseases and disorders, including symptoms and treatments of each…
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, oftentimes referred to as GERD or acid reflux for short, is a condition that affects approximately 20 percent of the United States population. It occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter becomes weak or relaxes when it shouldn’t, which allows the stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus.
This commonly triggers heartburn—a burning sensation in the chest that is often accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth. Other symptoms of GERD include wheezing, sore throat, a chronic cough, and difficulty swallowing. Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment can range from lifestyle changes, to medication and possibly surgery.