Functions of the digestive system. • Digestion-mechanical and chemical breakdown of material. • Motility-movement of material from the oral cavity to the. PDF | On Feb 13, , Dana Bartos and others published Anatomy of the Digestive Tract. PDF |: Digestive system is a demonic & Complex process in human body. The digestive tract starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. It is the.
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Functions of the Digestive System. ▫ ingestion – the oral cavity allows food to enter the digestive tract and have mastication (chewing) occurs, and the resulting. tology of the digestive tract (), the regulation of the digestive system () and the peritoneum (). The anatomy and physiology of each section of the. NOTE: The digestive system consists of the: mouth (oral cavity); pharynx; esophagus; Endoderm gives rise to the epithelial lining of the digestive tract, while.
Which organ is the most important organ in the body? Most people would say the heart or the brain, completely overlooking the gastrointestinal tract GI tract. Though definitely not the most attractive organs in the body, they are certainly among the most important. The GI tract is imperative for our well being and our lifelong health. A non-functioning or poorly functioning GI tract can be the source of many chronic health problems that can interfere with your quality of life.
Mucous membranes vary in structure in the different regions of the body but they all produce a lubricating mucus, which is either secreted by surface cells or more usually by underlying glands. The mucous membrane in the mouth continues as the thin mucosa which lines the bases of the teeth. The main component of mucus is a glycoprotein called mucin and the type secreted varies according to the region involved.
Mucin is viscous, clear, and clinging. Underlying the mucous membrane in the mouth is a thin layer of smooth muscle tissue and the loose connection to the membrane gives it its great elasticity. The roof of the mouth is termed the palate and it separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity. The palate is hard at the front of the mouth since the overlying mucosa is covering a plate of bone ; it is softer and more pliable at the back being made of muscle and connective tissue, and it can move to swallow food and liquids.
The soft palate ends at the uvula. At either side of the soft palate are the palatoglossus muscles which also reach into regions of the tongue. These muscles raise the back of the tongue and also close both sides of the fauces to enable food to be swallowed. There are three pairs of main salivary glands and between and 1, minor salivary glands, all of which mainly serve the digestive process, and also play an important role in the maintenance of dental health and general mouth lubrication, without which speech would be impossible.
All of these glands terminate in the mouth. The largest of these are the parotid glands —their secretion is mainly serous. The next pair are underneath the jaw, the submandibular glands , these produce both serous fluid and mucus. The serous fluid is produced by serous glands in these salivary glands which also produce lingual lipase.
The third pair are the sublingual glands located underneath the tongue and their secretion is mainly mucous with a small percentage of saliva. Within the oral mucosa , and also on the tongue, palates, and floor of the mouth, are the minor salivary glands; their secretions are mainly mucous and they are innervated by the facial nerve CN7. There are other glands on the surface of the tongue that encircle taste buds on the back part of the tongue and these also produce lingual lipase.
Lipase is a digestive enzyme that catalyses the hydrolysis of lipids fats. These glands are termed Von Ebner's glands which have also been shown to have another function in the secretion of histatins which offer an early defense outside of the immune system against microbes in food, when it makes contact with these glands on the tongue tissue.
Saliva moistens and softens food, and along with the chewing action of the teeth, transforms the food into a smooth bolus. The bolus is further helped by the lubrication provided by the saliva in its passage from the mouth into the esophagus.
Also of importance is the presence in saliva of the digestive enzymes amylase and lipase. Amylase starts to work on the starch in carbohydrates , breaking it down into the simple sugars of maltose and dextrose that can be further broken down in the small intestine. Lipase starts to work on breaking down fats.
Lipase is further produced in the pancreas where it is released to continue this digestion of fats. The presence of salivary lipase is of prime importance in young babies whose pancreatic lipase has yet to be developed.
As well as its role in supplying digestive enzymes , saliva has a cleansing action for the teeth and mouth.
Saliva also contains a glycoprotein called haptocorrin which is a binding protein to vitamin B When it reaches the duodenum, pancreatic enzymes break down the glycoprotein and free the vitamin which then binds with intrinsic factor. Food enters the mouth where the first stage in the digestive process takes place, with the action of the tongue and the secretion of saliva.
The tongue is a fleshy and muscular sensory organ , and the very first sensory information is received via the taste buds in the papillae on its surface. If the taste is agreeable, the tongue will go into action, manipulating the food in the mouth which stimulates the secretion of saliva from the salivary glands. The liquid quality of the saliva will help in the softening of the food and its enzyme content will start to break down the food whilst it is still in the mouth.
The first part of the food to be broken down is the starch of carbohydrates by the enzyme amylase in the saliva. The tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth by a ligamentous band called the frenum  and this gives it great mobility for the manipulation of food and speech ; the range of manipulation is optimally controlled by the action of several muscles and limited in its external range by the stretch of the frenum.
The tongue's two sets of muscles, are four intrinsic muscles that originate in the tongue and are involved with its shaping, and four extrinsic muscles originating in bone that are involved with its movement. Taste is a form of chemoreception that takes place in the specialised taste receptors , contained in structures called taste buds in the mouth. Taste buds are mainly on the upper surface dorsum of the tongue. The function of taste perception is vital to help prevent harmful or rotten foods from being consumed.
There are also taste buds on the epiglottis and upper part of the esophagus. The taste buds are innervated by a branch of the facial nerve the chorda tympani , and the glossopharyngeal nerve. Taste messages are sent via these cranial nerves to the brain. The brain can distinguish between the chemical qualities of the food. The five basic tastes are referred to as those of saltiness , sourness , bitterness , sweetness , and umami.
The detection of saltiness and sourness enables the control of salt and acid balance. The detection of bitterness warns of poisons—many of a plant's defences are of poisonous compounds that are bitter.
Sweetness guides to those foods that will supply energy; the initial breakdown of the energy-giving carbohydrates by salivary amylase creates the taste of sweetness since simple sugars are the first result. The taste of umami is thought to signal protein-rich food. Sour tastes are acidic which is often found in bad food. The brain has to decide very quickly whether the food should be eaten or not. It was the findings in , describing the first olfactory receptors that helped to prompt the research into taste.
The olfactory receptors are located on cell surfaces in the nose which bind to chemicals enabling the detection of smells. It is assumed that signals from taste receptors work together with those from the nose, to form an idea of complex food flavours. Teeth are complex structures made of materials specific to them.
They are made of a bone-like material called dentin , which is covered by the hardest tissue in the body— enamel. This results in a much larger surface area for the action of digestive enzymes. The teeth are named after their particular roles in the process of mastication— incisors are used for cutting or biting off pieces of food; canines , are used for tearing, premolars and molars are used for chewing and grinding. Mastication of the food with the help of saliva and mucus results in the formation of a soft bolus which can then be swallowed to make its way down the upper gastrointestinal tract to the stomach.
The epiglottis is a flap of elastic cartilage attached to the entrance of the larynx. It is covered with a mucous membrane and there are taste buds on its lingual surface which faces into the mouth.
The epiglottis functions to guard the entrance of the glottis , the opening between the vocal folds. It is normally pointed upward during breathing with its underside functioning as part of the pharynx, but during swallowing, the epiglottis folds down to a more horizontal position, with its upper side functioning as part of the pharynx. In this manner it prevents food from going into the trachea and instead directs it to the esophagus, which is behind. During swallowing, the backward motion of the tongue forces the epiglottis over the glottis' opening to prevent any food that is being swallowed from entering the larynx which leads to the lungs; the larynx is also pulled upwards to assist this process.
Stimulation of the larynx by ingested matter produces a strong cough reflex in order to protect the lungs. The pharynx is a part of the conducting zone of the respiratory system and also a part of the digestive system. It is the part of the throat immediately behind the nasal cavity at the back of the mouth and above the esophagus and larynx.
The pharynx is made up of three parts. The lower two parts—the oropharynx and the laryngopharynx are involved in the digestive system. The laryngopharynx connects to the esophagus and it serves as a passageway for both air and food. Air enters the larynx anteriorly but anything swallowed has priority and the passage of air is temporarily blocked. The pharynx is innervated by the pharyngeal plexus of the vagus nerve.
The pharynx joins the esophagus at the oesophageal inlet which is located behind the cricoid cartilage. The esophagus , commonly known as the foodpipe or gullet, consists of a muscular tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach. The esophagus is continuous with the laryngopharynx. It passes through the posterior mediastinum in the thorax and enters the stomach through a hole in the thoracic diaphragm —the esophageal hiatus , at the level of the tenth thoracic vertebra T It is divided into cervical, thoracic and abdominal parts.
The pharynx joins the esophagus at the esophageal inlet which is behind the cricoid cartilage. At rest the esophagus is closed at both ends, by the upper and lower esophageal sphincters. The opening of the upper sphincter is triggered by the swallowing reflex so that food is allowed through.
The sphincter also serves to prevent back flow from the esophagus into the pharynx. The esophagus has a mucous membrane and the epithelium which has a protective function is continuously replaced due to the volume of food that passes inside the esophagus. During swallowing, food passes from the mouth through the pharynx into the esophagus. The epiglottis folds down to a more horizontal position to direct the food into the esophagus, and away from the trachea. Once in the esophagus, the bolus travels down to the stomach via rhythmic contraction and relaxation of muscles known as peristalsis.
The lower esophageal sphincter is a muscular sphincter surrounding the lower part of the esophagus. The junction between the esophagus and the stomach the gastroesophageal junction is controlled by the lower esophageal sphincter, which remains constricted at all times other than during swallowing and vomiting to prevent the contents of the stomach from entering the esophagus.
As the esophagus does not have the same protection from acid as the stomach, any failure of this sphincter can lead to heartburn. The esophagus has a mucous membrane of epithelium which has a protective function as well as providing a smooth surface for the passage of food.
Due to the high volume of food that is passed over time, this membrane is continuously renewed. The diaphragm is an important part of the body's digestive system.
The muscular diaphragm separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity where most of the digestive organs are located. The suspensory muscle attaches the ascending duodenum to the diaphragm. This muscle is thought to be of help in the digestive system in that its attachment offers a wider angle to the duodenojejunal flexure for the easier passage of digesting material. The diaphragm also attaches to, and anchors the liver at its bare area.
The esophagus enters the abdomen through a hole in the diaphragm at the level of T The stomach is a major organ of the gastrointestinal tract and digestive system. It is a consistently J-shaped organ joined to the esophagus at its upper end and to the duodenum at its lower end. Gastric acid informally gastric juice , produced in the stomach plays a vital role in the digestive process, and mainly contains hydrochloric acid and sodium chloride.
A peptide hormone , gastrin , produced by G cells in the gastric glands , stimulates the production of gastric juice which activates the digestive enzymes.
Pepsinogen is a precursor enzyme zymogen produced by the gastric chief cells , and gastric acid activates this to the enzyme pepsin which begins the digestion of proteins. As these two chemicals would damage the stomach wall, mucus is secreted by innumerable gastric glands in the stomach, to provide a slimy protective layer against the damaging effects of the chemicals on the inner layers of the stomach.
At the same time that protein is being digested, mechanical churning occurs through the action of peristalsis , waves of muscular contractions that move along the stomach wall. This allows the mass of food to further mix with the digestive enzymes. Gastric lipase secreted by the chief cells in the fundic glands in the gastric mucosa of the stomach, is an acidic lipase, in contrast with the alkaline pancreatic lipase. This breaks down fats to some degree though is not as efficient as the pancreatic lipase.
The pylorus , the lowest section of the stomach which attaches to the duodenum via the pyloric canal , contains countless glands which secrete digestive enzymes including gastrin. After an hour or two, a thick semi-liquid called chyme is produced.
When the pyloric sphincter , or valve opens, chyme enters the duodenum where it mixes further with digestive enzymes from the pancreas, and then passes through the small intestine, where digestion continues. When the chyme is fully digested, it is absorbed into the blood. Water and minerals are reabsorbed back into the blood in the colon of the large intestine, where the environment is slightly acidic. Some vitamins, such as biotin and vitamin K produced by bacteria in the gut flora of the colon are also absorbed.
The parietal cells in the fundus of the stomach, produce a glycoprotein called intrinsic factor which is essential for the absorption of vitamin B Vitamin B12 cobalamin , is carried to, and through the stomach, bound to a glycoprotein secreted by the salivary glands - transcobalamin I also called haptocorrin , which protects the acid-sensitive vitamin from the acidic stomach contents.
Once in the more neutral duodenum, pancreatic enzymes break down the protective glycoprotein. The freed vitamin B12 then binds to intrinsic factor which is then absorbed by the enterocytes in the ileum. The stomach is a distensible organ and can normally expand to hold about one litre of food. The stomach of a newborn baby will only be able to expand to retain about 30 ml.
The spleen breaks down both red and white blood cells that are spent. This is why it is sometimes known as the 'graveyard of red blood cells'. A product of this digestion is the pigment bilirubin , which is sent to the liver and secreted in the bile. Another product is iron , which is used in the formation of new blood cells in the bone marrow.
The liver is the second largest organ after the skin and is an accessory digestive gland which plays a role in the body's metabolism. The liver has many functions some of which are important to digestion. The liver can detoxify various metabolites ; synthesise proteins and produce biochemicals needed for digestion. It regulates the storage of glycogen which it can form from glucose glycogenesis.
The liver can also synthesise glucose from certain amino acids. Its digestive functions are largely involved with the breaking down of carbohydrates. It also maintains protein metabolism in its synthesis and degradation. In lipid metabolism it synthesises cholesterol. Fats are also produced in the process of lipogenesis. The liver synthesises the bulk of lipoproteins. The liver is located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen and below the diaphragm to which it is attached at one part, This is to the right of the stomach and it overlies the gall bladder.
The liver produces bile , an important alkaline compound which aids digestion. Bile acts partly as a surfactant which lowers the surface tension between either two liquids or a solid and a liquid and helps to emulsify the fats in the chyme. Food fat is dispersed by the action of bile into smaller units called micelles. The breaking down into micelles creates a much larger surface area for the pancreatic enzyme, lipase to work on.
Lipase digests the triglycerides which are broken down into two fatty acids and a monoglyceride. These are then absorbed by villi on the intestinal wall. If fats are not absorbed in this way in the small intestine problems can arise later in the large intestine which is not equipped to absorb fats.
Bile also helps in the absorption of vitamin K from the diet. Bile is collected and delivered through the common hepatic duct. This duct joins with the cystic duct to connect in a common bile duct with the gallbladder. Bile is stored in the gallbladder for release when food is discharged into the duodenum and also after a few hours.
The gallbladder is a hollow part of the biliary tract that sits just beneath the liver, with the gallbladder body resting in a small depression. Bile flows from the liver through the bile ducts and into the gall bladder for storage. The bile is released in response to cholecystokinin CCK a peptide hormone released from the duodenum.
The production of CCK by endocrine cells of the duodenum is stimulated by the presence of fat in the duodenum. It is divided into three sections, a fundus, body and neck. The neck tapers and connects to the biliary tract via the cystic duct , which then joins the common hepatic duct to form the common bile duct. At this junction is a mucosal fold called Hartmann's pouch , where gallstones commonly get stuck. This can compromise the bioavailability of certain drugs, including vitamin B12, and lead to disorders such as chronic atrophic gastritis.
There is also an age-related reduction in mucus-producing goblet cells, which results in reduced secretion of protective mucus and therefore a weakened mucosal barrier. Gastric bicarbonate HCO3- and mucus normally provide an alkaline layer to defend the stomach lining against gastric juices; however, research suggests that advancing age is associated with a decline in HCO3- secretion Saber and Bayumi, The protective prostaglandin content of mucus also decreases with age, making older people more prone to gastromucosal injury such as lesions and ulcers, especially after ingesting non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which are commonly taken by older people.
Finally, gastric emptying slows down with age; this means food remains in the stomach for longer, prolonging satiation and reducing appetite Nieuwenhuizen et al, The small intestine The main function of the small intestine is to digest and absorb food. It produces a range of digestive enzymes, supported by the pancreas and liver.
Absorption of nutrients occurs in the jejunum and ileum, the second and third regions of the small intestine. The lining of the small intestine is shaped into microscopic folds villi , which increase the surface area available for absorption. Although an age-related reduction in villus height has been shown, the impact on nutrient uptake does not seem to be clinically significant Drozdowski and Thomson, Populations of certain bacteria that reside in the small intestine have been shown to increase as we age, leading to bloating, pain and decreased absorption of nutrients such as calcium, folic acid and iron.
This can have a negative effect on health. In addition, PPIs have been shown to provoke bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, which may exacerbate NSAID-induced small intestinal injury and foster the development of systemic conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and autoimmune diseases Fujimori, The liver converts ammonia to urea.
The liver stores a multitude of substances, including glucose in the form of glycogen, vitamin B12, iron, and copper. In the first trimester fetus, the liver is the main site of red blood cell production. By the 32nd weeks of gestation, the bone marrow has almost completely taken over that task.
The liver is responsible for immunological effects; the reticuloendothelial system of the liver contains many immunologically active cells, acting as a 'sieve' for antigens carried to it via the portal system. Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear shaped organ that stores about 50 ml of bile or "gall" until the body needs it for digestion. The gallbladder is about cm long in humans and is dark green in appearance due to its contents bile , not its tissue.
It is connected to the liver and the duodenum by the biliary tract. The gallbladder is connected to the main bile duct through the gallbladder duct cystic duct. The main biliary tract runs from the liver to the duodenum, and the cystic duct is effectively a "cul de sac", serving as entrance and exit to the gallbladder. The surface marking of the gallbladder is the intersection of the midclavicular line MCL and the trans pyloric plane, at the tip of the ninth rib.
The blood supply is by the cystic artery and vein, which runs parallel to the cystic duct. The cystic artery is highly variable, and this is of clinical relevance since it must be clipped and cut during a cholecystectomy. The gallbladder has an epithelial lining characterized by recesses called Aschoff's recesses, which are pouches inside the lining.
Under the epithelium there is a layer of connective tissue, followed by a muscular wall that contracts in response to cholecystokinin, a peptide hormone synthesized in the duodenum. The gallbladder stores bile, which is released when food containing fat enters the digestive tract, stimulating the secretion of cholecystokinin CCK. The bile emulsifies fats and neutralizes acids in partly digested food. After being stored in the gallbladder, the bile becomes more concentrated than when it left the liver, increasing its potency and intensifying its effect on fats.
Anus[ edit ] The human anus is situated between the buttocks, posterior to the perineum. It has two anal sphincters, one internal, the other external. These hold the anus closed until defecation occurs.
One sphincter consists of smooth muscle and its action is involuntary; the other consists of striated muscle and its action is voluntary. In many animals, the anus is surrounded by anal sacs. Role of the anus is when the rectum is full, the increase in intra-rectal pressure forces the walls of the anal canal apart allowing the fecal matter to enter the canal.
The rectum shortens as material is forced into the anal canal and peristaltic waves propel the feces out of the rectum. The internal and external sphincters of the anus allow the feces to be passed by muscles pulling the anus up over the exiting feces. Conditions Affecting the Esophagus[ edit ] There are two different types of conditions that may affect the esophagus.
The first type is called congenital: meaning a person is born with it. The second type is called non-congenital: meaning the person develops it after birth. Some examples of these are: Tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia Both of these conditions are congenital. In Tracheoesophageal fistula there is a connection between the esophagus and the wind pipe trachea where there shouldn't be one. In Esophageal atresia the esophagus of a newborn does not connect to the stomach but comes to a dead end right before the stomach.
Both conditions require corrective surgery and are usually detected right after the baby is born. In some cases, it can be detected before the baby is born. Esophagitis Esophagitis is inflammation of the esophagus and is a non-congenital condition. Esophagitis can be caused by certain medications or by infections. It can also be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease gerd , a condition where the esophageal sphincter allows the acidic contents of the stomach to move back up into the esophagus.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease can be treated with medications, but it can also be corrected by changing what you eat. Conditions Affecting the Stomach and Intestines[ edit ] Everybody has experienced constipation or diarrhea in their lifetime.
With constipation, the contents of the large intestines don't move along fast enough and waste material stays in the large intestines so long that almost all water is extracted out of the waste and it becomes hard.
With diarrhea you get the exact opposite reaction: waste moves along too fast and the large intestines can't absorb the water before the waste is pushed through. Common flora bacteria assists in the prevention of many serious problems. Here are some more examples of common stomach and intestinal disorders: Acute Appendicitis: An exemplary case of acute appendicitis in a year-old boy.
The organ is enlarged and sausage-like botuliform. This longitudinal section shows the angry red inflamed mucosa with its irregular luminal surface.
Diagnosed and removed early in the course of the disease, this appendix does not show late complications, like transmural necrosis, perforation, and abscess formation. Appendicitis Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, the finger-like pouch that extends from the cecum.
The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, and vomiting. Children and teenagers are the most common victims of appendicitis, which must be corrected by surgery. While mild cases may resolve without treatment, most require removal of the inflamed appendix, either by laparotomy or laparoscopy.
Untreated, mortality is high, mainly due to peritonitis and shock. Celiac Disease Celiac disease is a disorder in which a person's digestive system is damaged by the response of the immune system to a protein called gluten, which is found in rye, wheat, and barley, and also in foods like breakfast cereal and pizza crust.
People who have celiac disease experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, exhaustion, and depression when they eat foods with gluten in them. They also have difficulty digesting their food. Celiac disease runs in families and becomes active after some sort of stress, like viral infections or surgery. The symptoms can be managed by following a gluten free diet. Doctors can diagnose this condition by taking a full medical history or with a blood test.
Diverticulitis Benign gastric ulcer Diverticulitis is a common disease of the bowel, in particular the large intestine. Diverticulitis develops from diverticulosis, which involves the formation of pouches diverticula on the outside of the colon. Diverticulitis results if one of these diverticula becomes inflamed. In complicated diverticulitis, bacteria may subsequently infect the outside of the colon if an inflamed diverticula bursts open.
If the infection spreads to the lining of the abdominal cavity peritoneum , this can cause a potentially fatal peritonitis. Sometimes inflamed diverticula can cause narrowing of the bowel, leading to an obstruction. Also, the affected part of the colon could adhere to the bladder or other organ in the pelvic cavity, causing a fistula, or abnormal communication between the colon and an adjacent organ. Gastritis and Peptic ulcers Usually the stomach and the duodenum are resistant to irritation because of the strong acids produced by the stomach.
But sometimes a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori or the chronic use of drugs or certain medications, weakens the mucous layer that coats the stomach and the duodenum, allowing acid to get through the sensitive lining beneath.
This can cause irritation and inflammation of the lining of the stomach, which is called gastritis, or cause peptic ulcers, which are holes or sores that form in the lining of the stomach and duodenum and cause pain and bleeding.
Medications are the best way to treat this condition. Gastrointestinal Infections Gastrointestinal infections can be caused by bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, E.
They can also be caused by viruses or by intestinal parasites like amebiasis and Giardiasis. The most common symptoms of gastrointestinal infections are abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. These conditions usually go away on their own and don't need medical attention.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Inflammatory bowel disease is the chronic inflammation of the intestines, which usually affects older children, teens and adults. Ulcerative colitis usually affects just the rectum and large intestine, while Crohn's disease can affect the whole gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus along with some other parts of the body.
Patients with these diseases also suffer from extraintestinal symptoms including joint pain and red eye, which can signal a flare of the disease.
These diseases are treated with medications and if necessary, Intravenous or IV feeding, or in the more serious cases, surgery to remove the damaged areas of the intestines. Polyp A polyp is an abnormal growth of tissue tumor projecting from a mucous membrane. If it is attached to the surface by a narrow elongated stalk it is said to be pedunculated. If no stalk is present it is said to be sessile. Polyps are commonly found in the colon, stomach, nose, urinary bladder and uterus. They may also occur elsewhere in the body where mucous membranes exist like the cervix and small intestine.
Disorders of the Pancreas, Liver, and Gallbladder[ edit ] Disorders of the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder affect the ability to produce enzymes and acids that aid in digestion. Cystic Fibrosis Cystic fibrosis is a chronic, inherited illness where the production of abnormally thick mucous blocks the duct or passageways in the pancreas and prevents the digestive fluids from entering the intestines, making it difficult for the person with the disorder to digest protein and fats, which cause important nutrients to pass through without being digested.
People with this disorder take supplements and digestive enzymes to help manage their digestive problems. Hepatitis Hepatitis is a viral condition that inflames a person's liver which can cause it to lose its ability to function. Viral hepatitis, like hepatitis A, B, and C, is extremely contagious.
Hepatitis A, which is a mild form of hepatitis, can be treated at home, but more serious cases that involve liver damage, might require hospitalization. Cholecystitis Acute or chronic inflammation if the gallbladder causes abdominal pain. The actual inflammation is due to secondary infection with bacteria of an obstructed gallbladder, with the obstruction caused by the gallstones.
Gallbladder conditions are very rare in kids and teenagers but can occur when the kid or teenager has sickle cell anemia or in kids being treated with long term medications. Cholestasis Cholestasis is the blockage in the supply of bile into the digestive tract. It can be "intrahepatic" the obstruction is in the liver or "extrahepatic" outside the liver.
It can lead to jaundice, and is identified by the presence of elevated bilirubin level that is mainly conjugated. Biliary colic This is when a gallstone blocks either the common bile duct or the duct leading into it from the gallbladder. This condition causes severe pain in the right upper abdomen and sometimes through to the upper back. It is described by many doctors as the most severe pain in existence, between childbirth and a heart attack.
Other symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding caused by continual vomiting, and dehydration caused by the nausea and diarrhea. Another more serious complication is total blockage of the bile duct which leads to jaundice, which if it is not corrected naturally or by surgical procedure can be fatal, as it causes liver damage.
The only long term solution is the removal of the gallbladder. Gastrointestinal Dysfunctions[ edit ] As we age, the amount of digestive enzymes produced by the body drops way down. This leads to decreased and slower digestion, slower absorption of nutrients and increased accumulation of fecal mater in the intestinal tract.
Undigested food material and metabolic waste can also build up due to slow elimination, starting a series of health problems. When digestion slows, it turns the intestines into a toxic environment. Helpful organisms cannot live in toxic environments. When the beneficial organisms die they are replaced by harmful organisms, such as yeasts and parasites, the most common being Candida albicans.
This leads to changes in the intestinal wall which produce leaky gut syndrome, which allows many toxic chemicals to be introduced into the bloodstream. As a result, the entire toxic load of the body is increased, causing a bigger burden on the liver, kidneys and other body organs. When this happens the organs that are normally used for eliminating waste and supplying nutrients to the GI tract become a large dump for waste. This problem can be made worse by the use of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, antibiotics, and a diet that is too low in fiber or contains 'junk food'.
Most people never think about their GI tract. We are concerned about what the outside of our bodies look like, but we completely ignore the inside. Because our bodies a very resilient, deterioration of the digestive system can go on for years with no symptoms or side-effects.
When symptoms finally do appear they are usually very non-specific, and include: decreased energy, headaches, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, and acid reflux.
Over the years these symptoms become more serious, including: asthma, food allergies, arthritis, and cancer. Poor digestion, poor absorption, and bacterial imbalance can be traced to many chronic conditions.
Every organ in the body receives nutrients from the GI tract; if the GI tract is malfunctioning then the whole body suffers. It is possible to return good health to your GI tract by improving digestion, consuming the right amount of fiber, and cutting out junk food and refined sugars.
You can improve the function of the intestines by taking fiber supplements and vitamins especially B12 and vitamin K. Some doctors suggest herbal or vitamin enemas to cleanse and relieve constipation and to help stimulate peristaltic movement which will help to move the bowels. Irritable Bowel Syndrome Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS is a disorder with symptoms that are most commonly bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea.
IBS causes a lot of pain and discomfort. It does not cause permanent damage to the intestines and does not lead to serious diseases such as cancer. Most of the people affected with IBS can control their symptoms with stress management, diet, and prescription medication. For others IBS can be debilitating, they may be unable to go to work, travel, attend social events or leave home for even short periods of time. About 20 percent of the adult population has some symptoms of IBS, making it one of the most common intestinal disorders diagnosed by physicians.
It is more common in men than women and in about 50 percent of people affected it starts at about age Researchers have not found out what exactly causes IBS. One idea is that people with IBS have a large intestine colon that is sensitive to certain foods and stress.
The immune system may also be involved. It has also been reported that serotonin is linked with normal GI functioning. People with IBS have diminished receptor activity, causing abnormal levels of serotonin in the GI tract. Because of this, IBS patients experience problems with bowel movement, motility, and the sensation having more sensitive pain receptors in their GI tract. Many IBS patients suffer from depression and anxiety which can make symptoms worse.
There is no cure for IBS, but medications are an important part of relieving symptoms. Fiber supplements or laxatives are helpful for constipation. Anti diarrhoeals such as Imodium can help with diarrhea.
An antispasmodic is commonly prescribed for colon muscle spasms. Antidepressants and pain medication are also commonly prescribed.