What are common GI symptoms?

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Good digestive health is crucial for overall physical health. Common digestive problems include diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, pain, and inflammation. Most minor conditions resolve on their own, but recurring or severe symptoms may indicate a more serious condition. Abdominal pain, gas, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation can be caused by various digestive disorders.

Good digestive health is important to overall physical health. When the digestive system malfunctions, inadequate absorption of nutrients can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies and ultimately malnutrition. Many common digestive problems have similar types of GI symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, pain, and inflammation.

Most digestive disorders are minor conditions that resolve on their own without medical treatment. Often these are the result of a minor bacterial or viral infection or are due to dietary issues such as lactose intolerance. Recurring gastrointestinal symptoms or acute symptoms such as severe pain may indicate a more serious condition. Medical treatment should be sought for such symptoms.

One of the most common gastrointestinal symptoms is abdominal pain, commonly referred to as stomach pain. Many types of gastrointestinal disorders can cause pain, due to the presence of different digestive organs in the abdomen. In addition to the stomach and intestines, these include the gallbladder, liver, pancreas, kidneys, adrenal glands and bladder. Abdominal pain is often caused by stress and anxiety or by a diet high in alcohol, caffeine, or fat.

Another common symptom is the presence of large amounts of gas in the gastrointestinal tract, usually leading to flatulence. This is most often due to the ingestion of certain types of foods high in fiber and starch, which are not fully digested until they reach the intestines. These foods, including beans and some fruits, vegetables, and grains, produce excess gas because they’re broken down in the large intestine by gas-producing bacteria.

Nausea and vomiting are gastrointestinal symptoms that often go hand in hand. Nausea is a term that describes a feeling of discomfort or nausea, often felt in the throat or stomach. Feelings of nausea are often, but not always, followed by vomiting. Vomiting as a gastrointestinal symptom is usually involuntary and is often caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Vomiting the contents of the intestines and stomach, or throwing up blood or bile, can indicate a more serious gastrointestinal problem.

Diarrhea and constipation are two gastrointestinal symptoms that have very different effects, even though they sometimes have similar causes. People who are constipated have problems with bowel movements and typically experience less frequent bowel movements that are hard, dry, and difficult to pass. Conversely, diarrhea causes frequent bowel movements that are loose and watery and can be difficult to control. Both of these conditions can be caused by digestive problems such as colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies or intolerances, and inflammatory bowel disease.

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