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Digestive Disorders

Overview

Voltaire once said, ďThe fate of a nation has often depended upon the good or bad digestion of a prime minister.Ē That bit of wisdom speaks to the truth of digestive disorders. Stomach pain, nausea, flatulence and heartburn, even when they donít signal a more serious, underlying problem, can make your entire day miserable or ruin your sleep. Digestive disorders account for more lost work time than most other illnesses combined.

 

For centuries, the most popular herbal remedies have been those that soothe the stomach, restore regularity, control nausea, vomiting and diarrhea or otherwise aid the digestive system. Antacids, stool softeners and digestive aids are still among the most popular over-the-counter remedies.

 

Digestive disorders are among the most troubling and least understood disorders affecting the human body. Disorders of the digestive system range from occasional mild constipation or diarrhea to complex conditions like Crohnís disease and irritable bowel syndrome that greatly affect the overall quality of life for those suffering from them. Many medical authorities also include cancers of the digestive system, including colorectal and pancreatic cancers.

 

Common Digestive Disorders and Treatments:

Everyone suffers from occasional bouts of heartburn, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, but when those symptoms become chronic, or last more than a few days, there may be an underlying digestive disorder.

  • Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver, the organ that is most responsible for healthy metabolism of food. The most common causes of cirrhosis are alcohol abuse, hepatitis and immune system disorders. The symptoms of cirrhosis include fatigue, loss of appetite, jaundice, decreased urine output, itching, swelling of the belly, legs, feet and lower back and mental confusion. There is some evidence that green tea, dandelion extract, licorice root, milk thistle and turmeric may help prevent damage to the liver. 

  • Colorectal cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that 130,000 cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, making it the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in American men and women. Colorectal cancer is one of the digestive disorders that is often asymptomatic. When they do occur, symptoms include blood in the stool, anemia, light-headedness, fatigue, changes in bowel habits, unexplained weight loss, narrower stools than usual and gastric discomfort. Some experts believe that omega 3 fatty acids, vegetable lignans, olive oil, flaxseed, calcium, folate, lutein, Lycopene, green tea, curcumin (curry) and garlic may help prevent colorectal cancer.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD is an umbrella term that covers several different digestive disorders like Crohnís disease and ulcerative colitis. The symptoms of IBD include frequent diarrhea, bloody stools, abdominal pain and bloating, fatigue, poor appetite, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, fever and floating stools. While there is no known way to prevent IBD, scientists have noted that diets deficient in fruits and vegetables and high in sugar and fats increase the risk of developing one of these digestive disorders. Those suffering from IBD are at risk of malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies, so most doctors suggest a high quality, pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplement. There is also evidence to suggest that omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, green tea, golden seal, slippery elm and turmeric may help protect the colon from the damaging effects of IBD.

  • Gall Bladder Disease

Gall bladder disease is caused by inflammation of the gall bladder, usually because a gall stone is blocking a passage in the gall bladder. The most common treatment for a gall bladder that is chronically causing pain is removal, though doctors may attempt to dissolve gallstones with medication. Peppermint oil may help dissolve stones more quickly and milk thistle, dandelion root and turmeric help promote the production of bile and health gall bladder function.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

GERD, sometimes called acid reflux disease, is a digestive disorder that is characterized by the contents of the stomach backing up into the esophageal tube. The symptoms of GERD include persistent and chronic heartburn, regurgitation, belching, nausea and vomiting, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing. Researchers believe that bromelain, evening primrose oil, borage, selenium, licorice, turmeric and slippery elm may help control the symptoms of GERD.

  • Pancreatitis

Digestive disorders that lead to inflammation of the pancreas are called pancreatitis. The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin and digestive enzymes. Symptoms of pancreatitis include persistent, severe, sharp abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, fever, sweating, abdominal tenderness, rapid heart rate and rapid respiration. Because people with pancreatitis often are deficient in several vitamins and minerals, doctors believe that supplementing with vitamins A, C, E and B12, selenium and magnesium may both help prevent pancreatitis and reduce the pain suffered by those with pancreatitis. In addition, Western medicine is beginning to adopt the following herbs from Chinese medicine: licorice, ginger root, Asian ginseng and cinnamon Chinese bark have all proven to have some protective effect on the digestive system and the pancreas in particular.

  • Peptic Ulcer

One of the most commonly known digestive disorders, peptic ulcers are open sores in the lining of the stomach that may be caused by a number of conditions. The symptoms of peptic ulcer are gnawing or burning abdominal pain, pain 2-3 hours after eating, pain that worsens when the stomach is empty, heartburn, dyspepsia, belching, nausea and weight loss. Studies suggest that omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, l. acidophilus (found in yogurt), vitamin C, bilberry extract, cranberry, dong quai, garlic, licorice, slippery elm and turmeric may protect against gastric damage like peptic ulcers.

 

While itís not clear what causes a great many digestive disorders, most doctors agree that maintaining healthy eating habits and including foods from all food groups in your diet will help prevent most digestive problems. In addition, a look at the various supplements and treatments that are proving effective in treating individual digestive disorders points out several that seem to provide overall protection for the digestive system. Omega 3 fatty acids, bilberry extract, slippery elm, turmeric and green tea all promote healthy digestion. Taking a high quality multi-nutrient supplement like Total Balance Unisex formula is one way to be sure that your digestive system gets all the extra protection against digestive disorders available.

 

 

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