Gastrointestinal Disease

What is gastrointestinal disease?

Gastrointestinal disease includes a group of disorders that involve the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, rectum, and the other organs that assist in digestion: the liver, gallbladder and pancreas. Common conditions with GI disease are:

GI diseases can be divided into two groups: functional disorders and structural disorders. Learn more about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) here, and colon cancer here.

What are functional gastrointestinal disorders?

Functional disorders are those in which the gastrointestinal tract appears normal but does not work properly. They are the most common problems that affect the GI tract, including the rectum and colon. The causes and factors that can upset the GI tract and its ability to keep moving include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • A diet low in fiber
  • A diet heavy in diary
  • Stress
  • Changes in routine or traveling
  • Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement (potentially due to pain from hemorrhoids)
  • Pregnancy
  • Overusing laxatives, which weaken the bowel muscles
  • Certain medications, including iron supplements, antidepressants or narcotics

What are structural gastrointestinal disorders?

Structural disorders are those in which the bowel looks abnormal and does not properly work. In some cases, the structural abnormality needs to be removed via surgery. Common examples of structural GI diseases include colon cancer, colon polyps, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticular disease. Colon polyps are small clumps of cells that form on the lining of the colon. Most polyps are harmless, but over time, they can develop into colon cancer. Colon cancer screenings can help to detect harmful polyps before they become fatal.

Schedule an appointment in Fairbanks, Alaska

Given the link between gastrointestinal disease and colon cancer, it is important for adults between the ages of 50 and 75 to schedule regular screening for colorectal cancer. If you live in Fairbanks, Alaska or the surrounding areas, you can schedule your screenings with Dr. Nick Sarrimanolis. We also provide evaluations for other GI diseases. To find out how we can help you, give us a call at (907) 451-1174 or request an appointment online.

*Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.

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