7 Common Digestive Problems You May Have

last updated on 1 February 2021
digestive problems refer to any gastrointestinal disorders that occurs in the digestive tract, which is besides called the gastrointestinal ( GI ) nerve pathway. The foremost signs of a digestive tract write out normally include bleeding, bloat, stultification or diarrhea, and heartburn .
If you ’ rhenium experiencing abdominal pain, nausea or bloat, it could either be a virus that will go aside in time, or a sign of a gastrointestinal condition that may require checkup attention or a switch in life style habits .
You should always consult your doctor to identify the exact campaign of your symptoms, but here are a few of the common culprits !


Digestive problems - Gastritis
Gastritis is the excitement of the lining of the abdomen. It has many causes, but the most common are infectious agents, specially Helicobacter pylorus ( H. pylorus ), aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs ) like Ponstan, and alcohol .

Some common symptoms of gastritis:

  • abdominal pain (intermittent or constant burning, or gripping or gnawing pain)
  • nausea and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • bloating, burping and belching

Try to avoid common aggravating foods such as hot, fatso and fry foods, chili powderize, alcohol and chocolate as they may increase the austereness of symptoms .
treatment of gastritis depends on its causal agent. For gastritis associated with of H. pylorus, treatment involves a combination of antibiotics and acid suppressants, while gastritis due to aspirin, NSAIDs and alcohol may require an acid suppressant. Where potential, the pulmonary tuberculosis of alcohol and the medicine creditworthy for the gastritis should be stopped .

Peptic ulcer

gastritis is much associated with peptic ulcers. peptic ulcers are sores that develop in the line of the stomach, lower esophagus, or foremost part of the small intestine. They are normally formed as a consequence of inflammation caused by H. pylorus, aspirin and NSAIDs .

Common symptoms of peptic ulcers

The most coarse symptoms of a peptic ulcer are upper abdominal discomfort, abdominal pain or bloat. You may besides notice loss of weight, loss of appetite, nausea, bloody or dark stools, and vomit .
With proper treatment, most peptic ulcers heal. however, if left untreated, they can worsen over time and lead to more serious health complications such as a punch ulcer, a shed blood ulcer ( which can cause significant blood loss ) or scar weave that may cause strictures, making it difficult for food to pass through your digestive nerve pathway .

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease

Digestive problems - GERD
Gastro-oesophageal ebb disease ( GERD ) is a condition where stomach contents move backwards or ebb from the stomach into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach .
Reflux is a normal process that may happen in people who have no annoying symptoms of acid ebb. In contrast, GERD is diagnosed in patients who have episodes of acid ebb that cause troublesome symptoms .
People with GERD may experience symptoms caused by acid irritating and damaging the esophagus or the back of the throat. These include :

Symptoms of GERD

  • heartburn
  • chest pain
  • regurgitation
  • nausea or vomiting
  • difficulty with or pain when swallowing
  • hoarseness of voice and sore throat
  • cough

Acid reflux occurs more frequently in patients with GERD, compared to those who do not have symptoms of this disease .
It occurs more frequently if the lower oesophageal sphincter ( LES ), a mesomorphic valve at the lower end of the esophagus, opens excessively much or does n’t close tightly enough to keep the stomach contents inside. It happens when you overeat, or when there is excessively much coerce on your stomach, frequently ascribable to fleshiness or pregnancy. fume, alcohol and caffeine may besides loosen the LES .
fortunately, symptoms can generally be controlled through life style changes. These include quitting smoke, reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption, eating less fatso foods, and losing weight. In haunting cases, if antacids and anti-reflux medicine wear ’ triiodothyronine work, operating room can be a concluding recourse .

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable intestine syndrome ( IBS ) is contribution of a group of gastrointestinal disorders known as functional intestine disorders. It is a common trouble affecting 10 – 20 % of Singapore ’ randomness population. Patients with IBS have abdominal discomfort or annoyance that is associated with either diarrhoea or constipation, and the discomfort is normally relieved after intestine movements .

Symptoms of IBS

The symptoms of IBS vary from person to person but are normally stage for a long time .
park symptoms include :

  • Pain, cramping, or bloating in the abdomen during bowel movements
  • Changes in stool appearance
  • Changes in frequency of bowel movements
  • Persistent bloating
  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping

Diarrhoea in IBS normally occurs during the day and after meals. Some IBS patients may have constipation alternatively of diarrhea and have hard pellet-like stools. Some patients have a combination of both diarrhoea and stultification .
The lawsuit of IBS is nameless. It is much triggered by an episode of gastrointestinal contagion or food poison. The immune organization in the gut is activated during the infection, and produces cells and proteins that increase the sensitivity of the nerves in the gut. The extra sensitive nerves cause the gut to sense convention amounts of natural gas and movements as bloat and pain .
stress and anxiety will exacerbate IBS symptoms. however, it is not known if anxiety on its own will cause IBS. Food intolerances are much found in IBS patients but food allergy is not thought to cause IBS .
There is no investigation which will definitively diagnose IBS. Doctors managing IBS patients will frequently start with a history of the abdominal symptoms and elementary blood and stool tests to rule out common disorders. Some doctors may besides rate more incursive tests, such as colonoscopy and CT scans, if they are thought to be relevant .
treatment of IBS is aimed at symptom stand-in and the majority of IBS patients will not require long-run medication. It is normally managed by modifying the person ’ randomness diet and life style, avoiding foods and other events that trigger symptoms .
common foods that may aggravate IBS include dairy products, fried foods, indigestible sugars and beans. Some natural foods such as ginger, peppermint and chamomile may help to reduce some IBS symptoms. If life style change is not sufficient, the doctor may prescribe medication to reduce free stools, constipation and bloat, or to reduce sensitivity of the intestines .
Read the complete guide to managing IBS .

Chronic diarrhoea

Chronic diarrhea is defined as frequent idle stools that last for more than 4 weeks .

Causes of chronic diarrhoea

The most coarse lawsuit of chronic diarrhea in Singapore is IBS. Another coarse lawsuit is medicines including antibiotics, painkillers ( eg. Ponstan ) and diabetic medicine ( eg. metformin ) .
Digestive problems chronic diarrhoea
Most infections of the intestines cause diarrhea that lasts for less than 4 weeks. Exceptions include tuberculosis, giardiasis, amebiasis and tropical sprue, all of which may cause chronic diarrhea .
In adults, food intolerance may sometimes cause chronic diarrhea. lactose intolerance is common in Asians and this can cause diarrhea and bloating with dairy products. Alcohol and artificial sweeteners may besides cause diarrhea in some patients .
Both non-intestinal and intestinal diseases can cause chronic diarrhea .
common non-intestinal diseases that cause diarrhea include thyroid disease and diabetes .

Thyroid disease

hyperthyroidism is a discipline where the thyroid gland produces and releases more hormones than is needed. thyroid hormones are used to regulate metabolism ( the work that transforms the food that is consumed into energy ), therefore besides much of the hormones can result in symptoms related to high metamorphosis. In some people, an hyperactive thyroid causes the digestive arrangement to speed up resulting in diarrhea and more frequent intestine movements .


Some people with diabetes may experience a complication called diabetic enteropathy. In this circumstance, nerves of the digestive system are damaged, which may lead to diarrhoea. additionally, diarrhea may besides occur as a english effect of some diabetes medications .

Chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is the persistent inflammation of the pancreas. This can happen due to many causes but the most coarse one is long-run alcohol mistreat. Chronic pancreatitis results in lower levels of pancreatic enzymes and hormones in the body, making it harder for food digestion. One of the symptoms of the discipline is diarrhea .

Coeliac disease

Coeliac disease occurs when the body ’ s immune organization attacks its own tissues when gluten is consumed. This causes damage to the intestinal line, resulting in problems with alimentary absorption ( malabsorption ). Diarrhoea is the most common symptom of coeliac disease. malabsorption can besides lead to stools containing high levels of fat, causing an unpleasant smell .

Ulcerative colitis

ulcerative colitis is a type of chronic inflammatory intestine disease ( IBD ). In this condition, excitement and ulcers are deliver in the line of the colon and rectum. Bloody diarrhea is a common symptom of ulcerative colitis. The severity of the symptom depends on the austereness of inflammation and ulcer in the colon.

Crohn’s disease

Crohn ’ randomness disease is a type of inflammatory intestine disease causing ignition and ulcers in any part of the digestive tract. This is a chronic condition where symptoms may develop gradually or abruptly. There may besides be periods where no symptoms are experienced. Symptoms of Crohn ’ sulfur disease include diarrhea, blood in stools and malnutrition .
If you have chronic diarrhea, your repair may perform blood tests, stool tests and if necessary, gastroscopy and colonoscopy, to diagnose your condition. treatment of the diarrhea will depend on the causal agent identified .


If you have a decreased stool frequency of less than 3 times per week, hard or little pellet-like stools, or feel the want to strain at stools when passing motion, you may have constipation .

Causes of constipation 

There are many causes of stultification. The majority of patients with chronic constipation do not have a disease causing the constipation .
common causes include :

  • Not eating enough fibre, such as fruit, vegetables and cereals
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Being inactive and not exercising
  • Often ignoring the urge to go to the toilet
  • A change in the diet or daily routine
  • A side effect of medications
  • Stress, anxiety or depression

discussion for these patients involve changes in life style, diet and fluid consumption, and if necessary, medicine .
Non-intestinal diseases associated with stultification include thyroid gland hormone insufficiency and diabetes. Patients with Parkinson ’ mho disease are besides more prone to stultification. Some medication including painkillers ( eg. morphine ) and anti-depressants ( eg. amitriptyline ) may cause stultification .
If you have stultification, your doctor may evaluate it using blood tests, stool tests, colonoscopy and where appropriate, measurement of anal muscle function .
treatment for stultification will depend on the cause, and is normally managed by modifying diet and life style, increasing physical bodily process and fluid inhalation, and taking natural foods that may help in passing motion ( eg. prunes ). If life style change is not sufficient, laxatives may be prescribed .

Inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)

Inflammatory bowel diseases
Crohn ‘s disease and ulcerative colitis are jointly known as the inflammatory intestine diseases ( IBD ) .
Patients with ulcerative colitis develop ulcers only in the big intestine. Patients with Crohn ’ s disease develop ulcers in the catgut, anywhere between the talk and the anus. The most common parts of the catgut affected by Crohn ’ second disease are the boastfully intestine and the second half of the modest intestines .

Symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases 

Symptoms of IBD include abdominal trouble, diarrhea, bloody stools, fever, fatigue, slant loss and malnutrition. In some patients, parts of the consistency early than the intestines ( eg. peel, eyes, joints, or liver ) may become inflamed .

Causes of inflammatory bowel diseases 

It is not known what causes IBD. It is thought that an environmental divisor sets off the catgut immune system, which then runs out of control and causes ignition and ulcers in the intestines of people with the correct familial predisposition .
There is no bring around for IBD as it is a chronic disease. however, it can be controlled with treatment, and patients with manipulate disease can hush lead convention lives. To diagnose this disease, a series of investigations, including blood tests, fecal matter tests, colonoscopy and CT scans or MRI, will be performed .
If you experience any of the above digestive conditions and are concerned about your gut health, consult a gastroenterologist .

article reviewed by Dr Ling Khoon Lin, gastroenterologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital
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