There are several disorders relating to food and digestion, many of which require careful dietary management to ensure adequate nutrition.
Defining Digestive Disorders
A digestive disorder is any disorder that primarily affects the digestive system. These disorders can interfere with a number of important processes, including nutrient absorption and waste elimination. Some digestive disorders, like inflammatory bowel syndrome, or IBS, are life long disorders. Others, like diarrhoea, may be the result of a short-term infection. It is important to pay attention to your digestive system and what it’s telling you – if you have symptoms that last more than a few days, it’s important to note them down.
There are five main risk factors for the major digestive disorders:
- Family History
What we eat impacts our body. The digestive system requires fibre to function properly; diets low in fibre increase your risk of certain digestive disorders, such as diverticulitis. High fat diets may contribute to gall stones.
Alcohol intake, smoking, and stress can trigger or aggravate existing digestive disorders, or make it harder for the body to heal.
As we age, our gut slows. The intestines move slower, which means they take longer to process food and eliminate waste. This means the body can reabsorb too much water, making waste products difficult to pass, and leading to constipation. Some digestive disorders are more common in younger people, too: irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is most prevalent in people aged 15-40.
As with many health issues, some disorders and diseases are more prevalent in women, while others are more prevalent in men. IBS, for example, is more common in women, while peptic ulcers are more prevalent in men.
Family history, or genetics, can increase the likelihood of developing certain disorders. Having a close family member who suffers from a specific digestive disorder does not mean that you will definitely be diagnosed with the same digestive disorder, but it does mean your chances of such a diagnosis are higher. If someone close to you is diagnosed with a family-linked disorder, you will most likely be offered testing for the same or related disorders.
There are lots of things that can go wrong if digestive health is not maintained, including:
- Coeliac Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Diverticular Disease
- Gall Stones and Cholecystitis
- Gastro oesophageal reflux disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Lactose Intolerance
- Peptic Ulcer
- Ulcerative Colitis
Avoiding and Living with Digestive Disorders
Sometimes disorders can't be avoided, but they can be minimised and managed. Knowing your problems and eating accordingly is always a good starting point.
Knowing however requires knowledge and understanding -which is where we may be able to help, with our courses or ebooks.
Talk to our staff and see what we might do to assist; or at the very least, point you in the right direcvtion.