GI Illnesses

The gastrointestinal specialists at GI Associates have diagnosed and treated a variety of gastrointestinal problems.

This tool is for informational purposes only and should not be used to self-diagnose potentially serious GI illnesses. 

Illness Search

Search for Illnesses by title, keyword or common symptom in the search field above.

  • Barrett's Esophagus

    What is Barrett's Esophagus?

    Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the lining of the esophagus changes, becoming more like the lining of the small intestine rather than the esophagus....


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    Barrett's Esophagus

    Common Symptoms

    heartburn

    GERD

    Barrett's Esophagus

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    What is Barrett's Esophagus?

    Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the lining of the esophagus changes, becoming more like the lining of the small intestine rather than the esophagus. This occurs in the area where the esophagus is joined to the stomach.

    It is believed that the main reason Barrett’s esophagus develops is because of chronic inflammation resulting from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Barrett’s esophagus is more common in people who have had GERD for a long period of time or who developed it at a young age. It is interesting that the frequency or the intensity of GERD symptoms, such as heartburn, does not affect the likelihood that someone will develop Barrett’s esophagus.

    Most patients with Barrett’s esophagus will not develop cancer. In some patients, however, a precancerous change in the tissue, called dysplasia, will develop. That precancerous change is more likely to develop into esophageal cancer.

    At the current time, a diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus..

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  • Cancer & Polyps

    Before you begin to worry about colon cancer, let us see if you might be at risk. There really aren’t any physical symptoms to look for so you need to consider your risk factors and make...


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    Cancer & Polyps

    Common Symptoms

    blood in stool

    unexplained weight loss

    family history of cancer

    Cancer & Polyps

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    Before you begin to worry about colon cancer, let us see if you might be at risk. There really aren’t any physical symptoms to look for so you need to consider your risk factors and make sure that you have a colonoscopy at intervals suggested to you by your gastroenterologist. Remember, this list merely points out common risk factors and you should talk with a gastroenterologist at the GI Associates Clinic to find out if you are really at risk. If you have concerns about making an appointment, find out  what to expect on your first visit

    • Colorectal cancer is more common in men and women over the age of 40 and that risk doubles after you reach 50. Men tend to develop more polyps than women, and there is a higher risk of those polyps developing into colorectal cancer.
    • Having a family history of polyps in the colon puts you at a higher risk.
    • Having an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis can also put you at risk.
    • If your diet is high in fat and low in fiber you may be at..
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  • Celiac Sprue

    Celiac sprue is a digestive illness that damages the small intestine, where the most crucial part of digestion takes place. Most of the nutrients in our diet are absorbed for use by our...


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    Celiac Sprue

    Common Symptoms

    • Pediatric
    • Recurring bloating
    • chronic diarrhea
    • weight loss
    • bone pain
    • behavior changes
    • muscle cramps
    • seizures
    • tingling or numbness in legs

    Celiac Sprue

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    Celiac sprue is a digestive illness that damages the small intestine, where the most crucial part of digestion takes place. Most of the nutrients in our diet are absorbed for use by our bodies in this portion of the intestine. When the system is sensitive or allergic to gluten, then exposed to gluten, the portion of the intestinal wall that absorbs nutrients becomes damaged. This can cause severe health problems over time.

    Celiac Disease is considered an autoimmune disorder, which simply means that the body’s own immune system is turning on itself. People who suffer from it cannot tolerate gluten. Gluten is found in products that contain wheat, barley, rye, and some oat products. The good news/bad news is that with the prevalence of Celiac diagnoses there are many more gluten free items available on the store shelves.

    Because this diet restricts some essential nutrients, it is important to only embark on a gluten free diet under a doctor's supervision. Supplements will be needed to..

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  • Constipation

    Constipation is an uncomfortable, sometimes painful condition usually caused by lack of fiber and liquids in your diet. Frequency of bowel movements vary in individuals and there really...


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    Constipation & Hemorroids

    Common Symptoms

    infrequent bowel movements

    painful bowel movements

    Constipation

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    Constipation is an uncomfortable, sometimes painful condition usually caused by lack of fiber and liquids in your diet. Frequency of bowel movements vary in individuals and there really isn't a universal "normal," but stool should be able to pass easily and without pain.

    Occasional constipation is normal and could be a result of stress or changes in your routine. Most occasional constipation can be treated with the gradual addition of fiber and drinking plenty of water each day. 25 - 30 grams of fiber per day is the daily recommendation and adults should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day; more if you are working outside or live in a very hot, dry climate. DO NOT immediately resort to an over the counter laxative as these have detrimental long term consequences.

    Chronic contipation is a serious issue that should be addressed with your gastroenterologist. Also, if you notice blood in the stool or the color becomes very dark, you should see a doctor immediately. This may be..

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  • Constipation in Children

    This seems to be one of the most common complaints of children and occurs when there is difficulty passing stool. The frequency of bowel movements varies between children and their diets....


    Common Symptoms

    Constipation

    pediatric

     

    Constipation in Children

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    This seems to be one of the most common complaints of children and occurs when there is difficulty passing stool. The frequency of bowel movements varies between children and their diets. There are several reasons your child could be experiencing constipation. They could be ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement, this is especially common if they have experienced what is called the “pain retention cycle.” This happens when they have experienced a hard, painful stool and then are trying to withhold future stool to avoid the pain. The longer the stool is retained in the rectum, the harder and drier it becomes causing the next bowel movement to be even more painful. This can create a cycle, making the goal of soft, regular stool more difficult to attain. The best treatment requires patience and time.

    Children who have constipation or who soil their clothes (encopresis) do this because they have large amounts of stool in their colon. This must be evacuated before any stool softeners..

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  • Crohn's Disease

    There are two types of Inflammatory bowel disease - Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's


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    IBD

    Common Symptoms

    abdominal bloating

    nausea

    diarrhea

    skin rash

    abdominal pain

    loss of appetite

    unexplained fever

    tiredness

    Crohn's Disease

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    For more complete information please see Inflammatory Bowel Disease - IBD.

    Crohn's Disease can involve any part of the intestine, small or large, and irritate not only the lining, but also deeper layers.

    Crohn's disease may occure at any age, including young children but occurs most often in young adults. Most cases of Crohn's disease are diagnosed before age 30. Crohn's disease tends to occur in families and in certain ethnic groups, such as Eastern European Jews. About 5-8% of patients may have a family member with IBD and about 20-25% of patients may have a close relative with the condition. However, it can occur in any ethnic group and in members of families where no one else is suffering from the disease.

    What Causes Crohn's Disease?

    It is currently believed that Crohn's disease occurs in individuals as a result of genetic and environmental factors. For unknown reasons, the immune system becomes abnormally active against the individual's own system. It targets not only the..

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  • Diverticular Disease

    Diverticulosis is a condition in which there are small pouches or pockets in the wall or lining of any portion of the digestive tract.

    Diverticular Disease

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    What is diverticulosis?

    Diverticulosis is a condition in which there are small pouches or pockets in the wall or lining of any portion of the digestive tract. These pockets occur when the inner layer of the digestive tract pushes through weak spots in the outer layer. A single pouch is called a diverticulum. The pouches associated with diverticulosis are most often located in the lower part of the large intestine (the colon). Some people may have only several small pouches on the left side of the colon, while others may have involvement in most of the colon.

    Who gets diverticulosis?

    Diverticulosis is a common condition in the United States that affects half of all people over 60 years of age and nearly everyone by the age of 80. As a person gets older, the pouches in the digestive tract become more prominent. Diverticulosis is unusual in people under 40 years of age. In addition, it is uncommon in certain parts of the world, such as Asia and Africa.

    What causes diverticulosis?

    Because..

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  • Encopresis

    Encopresis is when stool leaks out onto the clothing. It is also known as “soiling.” Usually the child is has no control over the leakage and is unaware of the soiling until it has already...


    Common Symptoms

    Soiling clothes

    Pediatric

    Encopresis

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    Encopresis is when stool leaks out onto the clothing. It is also known as “soiling.” Usually the child is has no control over the leakage and is unaware of the soiling until it has already occurred. Most stool accidents are commonly mistaken as diarrhea. Encopresis is more commonly caused by prolonged and often unrecognized constipation.  A hard stool develops and if the child cannot pass this bowel movement, it gets stuck. Future stool leaks out and causes the soiling. The child usually loses normal sensation in the rectum because it is so stretched out from the constipation, which is why the child does not realize they are soiling themselves. Treatment is fairly simple and like regular constipation, it requires patience and time.

    • The first step is to clean out the system. Your gastroenterologist will help you find the best options.
    • After cleaning everything out you will need to use stool softeners. It is important that you use stool softeners and not laxatives because stool..
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  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis

    Eosinophilic esophagitis is also known as allergic esophagitis or idiopathic esophagitis. Eosinophils are a certain type of white blood cell typically associated with allergies.  This...


    Common Symptoms

    • Pediatric
    • Poor Growth
    • Vomiting
    • Refusing Food
    • Heartburn
    • Difficulty Swallowing

    Eosinophilic Esophagitis

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    Eosinophilic esophagitis is also known as allergic esophagitis or idiopathic esophagitis. Eosinophils are a certain type of white blood cell typically associated with allergies.  This disease is characterized by those eosinophils being deposited in the esophagus.  This deposition of eosinophils in the esophagus leads to inflammation and even tissue damage.

    What are the symptoms?

    Symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis vary depending on age.

    • Infants tend to demonstrate poor growth, vomiting and feeding refusal. 
    • Older children may complain of heartburn, difficulty swallowing or even getting food items stuck in the esophagus. 

    Males and caucasians tend to be more at risk for this disease for unknown reasons. Children with eosinophilic esophagitis also tend to have other allergic diseases including asthma, allergic rhinitis, and eczema.

    How is it diagnosed?

    Eosinophilic esophagitis is diagnosed by upper endoscopy, which is performed by a pediatric gastroenterologist . The physician may be..

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  • GERD - Acid Reflux

    Occasional heartburn should not be confused with gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. If  you suffer from frequent heartburn (2-3 times weekly) you need to seek professional help.

    Reflux...


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    E 38 Reflux Hernia Brochure

    Common Symptoms

    • Heartburn
    • Indigestion
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Coughing
    • Hoarseness
    • Chest Pain

    GERD - Acid Reflux

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    Occasional heartburn should not be confused with gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. If  you suffer from frequent heartburn (2-3 times weekly) you need to seek professional help.

    Reflux occurs when acid from the stomach backs up, or reluxes, into the esophagus. Unlike the lining of the stomach, the lining of the esophagus is not acid resisitant and the contact causes pain. Repeated bouts of reflux can cause ulcers, bleeding, and scarring to develop in the esphagus, adding to the pain and distress of the disease.

    Simple Methods To Control GERD

    While many people may be able to just cut back on smoking, drinking or eating the foods that cause discomfort others may have to avoid them entirely. Losing weight, especially belly fat, is also helpful in controling GERD syptoms. If you experience gastrointestinal reflux, you might find that cutting back or avoiding these foods may help:

    • Fatty, greasy and fried foods
    • Chocolate
    • Citrus drinks (especially orange and grapefruit)
    • Tomato products
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  • Gastrointestinal Reflux in Babies

     

    Adults are not the only ones who deal with gastrointestinal reflux, or heartburn. It is common for babies to spit up and it is usually due to the immaturity of the esophageal sphincter...


    Common Symptoms

    • Excessive Vomiting
    • Poor Weight Gain

    Gastrointestinal Reflux in Babies

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    Adults are not the only ones who deal with gastrointestinal reflux, or heartburn. It is common for babies to spit up and it is usually due to the immaturity of the esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a valve-like structure that opens and closes to allow food into the stomach. Since babies cannot sit up on their own it is easier for the food to come back up through the sphincter instead of digesting properly.

    As long as your baby is gaining weight and growing with no other medical problems then there really is not a problem. The reflux usually goes away on its own when the baby is 12-18 months old. If there is excessive vomiting, there are some conservative treatments you can talk to your gastroenterologist about trying. Be sure to let your gastroenterologist know if your baby is not gaining weight appropriately or if other medical conditions develop. They can let you know what treatments or precautions you can take to help get rid of the problem.

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  • Gastrointestinal Reflux in Children

    All age groups can suffer from reflux. Adults usually have a greater ability to "live with it" than children and infants. When a child suffers from reflux - the whole family can be...


    Common Symptoms

    • Heartburn
    • Burping
    • Coughing
    • Pediatric Illness

    Gastrointestinal Reflux in Children

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    All age groups can suffer from reflux. Adults usually have a greater ability to "live with it" than children and infants. When a child suffers from reflux - the whole family can be affected. The cause is always the same. The stomach contents come back up into the esophagus creating a burning sensation and occasionally  vomiting. There can be a problem if the reflux is frequent, not only because is it painful, but also because inflammation and damage can occur.

    There are several theories as to why gastrointestinal reflux occurs in children; the failure of the sphincter separating the stomach and the esophagus, or the stomach emptying too slowly are two of the main theories. If your child is complaining of symptoms that sound like heartburn you should seek the help of a pediatric gastroenterologist. There are treatments that can help to stop the hurt.

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  • H. Pylori

    H. pylori is a bacterial (Helicobacter pylori) infection that occurs in as many as half of the people worldwide. It is normally contracted in childhood and does not cause any problems in...

    PepticUlcer

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    H. Pylori Bacteria

    H. Pylori

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    H. pylori is a bacterial (Helicobacter pylori) infection that occurs in as many as half of the people worldwide. It is normally contracted in childhood and does not cause any problems in the majority of those people.

    In some people, the H. pylori bacteria can cause peptic ulcers . If you show symptoms of ulcers, your doctor will test you for H. pylori; if positve, it is successfully treated with antibiotics.

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  • Hiatal Hernia

    A hiatal hernia is the pushing up of the stomach into the chest cavity through a hole in the diaphragm. The presence of a hiatal hernia may hinder the action of the LES. Almost all persons...


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    E 38 Reflux Hernia Brochure

    Common Symptoms

    • Heart Burn
    • Burping
    • Pressure in Upper Stomac

    Hiatal Hernia

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    A hiatal hernia is the pushing up of the stomach into the chest cavity through a hole in the diaphragm. The presence of a hiatal hernia may hinder the action of the LES. Almost all persons who have hiatal hernias will experience some degree of gastroesophageal reflux, thus it is the leading cause of reflux. If the esophageal hiatus is too wide, part of the stomach may bulge above the diaphragm. This bulge is called a hernia. If the LES is not tight, stomach acid may move up into the esophagus.

    Read more about reflux .

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  • Hemorroids

    Constipation and hemorrhoids are two of the most common gastrointestinal problems and are often interrelated. Hemorrhoids, more common among men and women ages 30-55, is the result of...


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    Constipation & Hemorroids

    Common Symptoms

    • Bright Blood in Stool
    • Painful Bowel Movements

    Hemorroids

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    Constipation and hemorrhoids are two of the most common gastrointestinal problems and are often interrelated. Hemorrhoids, more common among men and women ages 30-55, is the result of increased pressure in the veins of the anus or rectum. This pressure can be caused by constipation. Pregnant women are also likely to get hemorrhoids because of the increased pressure in the pelvic area from the growing child. They usually disappear once the child has been born.

    Unless the underlying problem continues to persist, small hemorrhoids usually pose no major problems and go away on their own. If the underlying cause of hemorrhoids is long-term, they can become large and painful, causing bleeding and increased discomfort. Sometimes, it is necessary to have the hemorrhoids removed. There are a number of different treatment options and the gastrointestinal specialists at GI Associates can help find a plan that is right for you.

    How Can I Avoid Hemorrhoids?

    The best way to avoid hemorrhoids is to..

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  • Hepatitis

    Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can cause harm or death of liver cells and is spread by fecal contamination, contaminated water and contact with infected blood or body...


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    Hepatitis

    Hepatitis

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    Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can cause harm or death of liver cells and is spread by fecal contamination, contaminated water and contact with infected blood or body fluids. There are many different kinds of hepatitis and some can be mild and can go unnoticed while others can be severe and life threatening. Sometimes a person's immune system can eliminate some of the hepatitis viruses, and some can be controlled using medication.

    A  survey released by the AGA last year provides some alarming statistics concerning Hepatitis C and Baby Boomers. The survey showed that 74% of Boomers have either never been tested for Hep C or are unsure if they have ever been tested. Also, 80% of those surveyed believe that they are not in any risk of developing the disease and 83% have never even discussed the issue with their doctor.

    The other side of the statistical coin is that it is estimated that nearly 5 million Americans have the disease and that 82% of those are Baby Boomers. The..

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  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease - IBD

    IBD should not be confused with the less serious condition known as IBS. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease should always be treated by a gastroenterologist.


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    IBD

    Common Symptoms

    • Pediatric
    • Fever
    • Diarrhea
    • Weight Loss
    • Delayed Puberty
    • Arthritis
    • Rash

    Inflammatory Bowel Disease - IBD

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    Inflammatory bowel disease is also referred to as IBD. It is a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive system. There are two types: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract while ulcerative colitis only affects the colon. About 25% of individuals with IBD are diagnosed during childhood. We don’t precisely understand what causes IBD. As a parent, there is nothing that you could have done to prevent your child from developing IBD.

    Symptoms

    IBD has a variety of symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloody stools, fever, weight loss, and even delayed puberty. There also may be symptoms not related to the digestive tract such as arthritis and rashes.

    How is it diagnosed?

    Bloodwork and stool tests are usually the first line of investigation to exclude other digestive disorders such as infections. Upper endoscopy and colonoscopy with biopsies will be needed to establish the diagnosis. Radiographic studies such as x-rays..

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  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems and affects about 20% of adults. IBS usually begins during early adulthood, rarely beginning after the age of 50. For those who have IBS it simply means that the intestinal system does not work like normal, causing symptoms like abdominal pain, heartburn, diarrhea and constipation.


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    IBS

    Common Symptoms

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal Pain

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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    The symptoms can range from mild to severe and IBS may be worse for people who have stress or mood disorders, like anxiety and depression.

    Doctors are still studying what causes IBS but one study found that people who have IBS have colon tissue that is more sensitive than normal, which may contribute to the problem. There are many things you can do to help minimize your IBS flare-ups:

    • If you know of specific foods that cause symptoms then try to avoid them.
    • Avoid chewing gum and drinking carbonated beverages because they can cause gas.
    • Avoid caffeine and nicotine, and some people find that cutting out alcoholic beverages helps too.
    • Provide regular mealtimes that allow you to eat slowly. Eating in the car or when you are hurried causes you to gulp food and swallow air, which can trigger an IBS flare-up.
    • Exercising, relaxing and getting the right amount of sleep are not only good for your gastrointestinal problems, but they have many other health benefits for your body.

    Making these..

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  • Lactose Intolerance

    Does milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products cause uncomfortable side effects? Read on...


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    Lactose Intolerance

    Common Symptoms

    • Gas
    • Bloating
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal Pain

    Lactose Intolerance

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    Lactose is the complex, natural sugar found in milk and milk products. Some people have difficulty digesting lactose and are diagnosed as being "lacotse intolerant." It may be caused by a lack of the amino acid lactase. The body can produce varying amounts of lactose - from sufficent supply to none at all. Depending on the level of deficiency the symptoms can mild or cause major discomfort.This deficiency may be naturally occuring or be caused by certain medications.

    The symptoms worsen if the deficiency increases. Discomfort can begin as early as thirty minutes after eating something with lactose in it and as late as eight hours. Lacotse intolerance can be treated with dietary changes and medications.

    Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose- the complex, natural sugar found in milk and milk products. It can be caused by having an inadequate amount of lactase, a deficiency of lactose, or can be caused by taking certain medications. 

    Lactose intolerance affects up to 75%..

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  • Pancreatitis

    Pancreatitis is an inflamed or infected pancreas. Damage to the pancreas happens when its own digestive enzymes attack the pancreas itself, a process called autodigestion. We do not...


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    Pancreatitis

    Common Symptoms

    • Fever
    • Dehydration
    • Clammy Skin
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting

    Pancreatitis

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    Pancreatitis is an inflamed or infected pancreas. Damage to the pancreas happens when its own digestive enzymes attack the pancreas itself, a process called autodigestion. We do not completely understand what actually triggers this process. Those digestive enzymes usually work outside of the pancreas, in the intestine, to help digest food.

    In addition to the pancreatic enzymes attacking the pancreas, the autodigestive process seems to stimulate other enzymes, which also start digesting the pancreas. In severe cases, bleeding, the development of cysts, serious tissue damage or death of tissue in the pancreas may occur. The enzymes and toxins released during that process may enter the bloodstream and cause serious damage to the kidneys, heart, lungs and other organs.

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  • Peptic Ulcers

    An ulcer that occurs at any point along the gastrointestinal tract.

    PepticUlcer

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    PepticUlcers

    Common Symptoms

    • Heartburn
    • Indigestion
    • Loss of Appetite
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Constipation

    Peptic Ulcers

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    Peptic ulcer disease is when ulcers occur in the lining of any part of the gastrointestinal tract. These ulcers are not normally dangerous, however they are very painful and can occasionally be cancerous. One in ten Americans will have an ulcer at some point in their life and most ulcers tend to occur between the ages of 20 and 50. The ulcers have a tendency to return so it is important to stay in contact with your gastroenterologist. Symptoms range from heartburn and indigestion, to a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.

    See also, H.Pylori

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  • Ulcerative Colitis

    For more information, please read Inflammatory Bowel Disease - IBD


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    IBD

    Common Symptoms

    • Bloody Stool
    • Diarrhea
    • Fever
    • Nausea/Vomiting
    • Abdominal Pain/Cramping
    • Weight Loss
    • Rectal Pain
    • Joint Pain
    • Mouth Sores

    Ulcerative Colitis

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    For more information, please read Inflammatory Bowel Disease - IBD

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