Digestive Disorders Learning Center

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These conditions affect the "gut," or the body's digestive system, which breaks down food into the nutrients needed for energy and to build and repair cells. Common symptoms include gas, diarrhea, and heartburn. Most of these disorders can be treated with changes to lifestyle and diet, and medications.


Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Acid reflux causes the burning sensation in the middle of the chest known as heartburn. The pain may be so intense that it is mistaken for a heart attack. Some foods, smoking, and certain medications can trigger or worsen heartburn. Most people with mild reflux get relief through lifestyle changes.  Read

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is one of the most common digestive disorders. Women are diagnosed about three times more often than men. Symptoms include abdominal cramps and bloating and constipation. The disorder has no known cause or cure. But you can manage your symptoms by learning about IBS and treating symptoms.  Read

Indigestion (Excessive Gas)

Gas in the digestive system usually comes either from swallowing air or the breakdown of certain foods by bacteria living in the colon. Excessive gas can be embarrassing, when you burp or pass gas, and it can also cause pain and discomfort. Most of the time, gassiness can be effectively treated.  Read


Constipation is one of the more common digestive complaints among older people. Lack of exercise and many medications, including pain relievers, can make it difficult to pass stools. For most people, eating more fiber, such as bran, and drinking plenty of fluids, will relieve occasional constipation.  Read

Stomach Ulcer

Ulcers are sores in the lining of the esophagus, stomach or small intestine caused primarily by bacterial infections or certain medications. Most ulcers can be successfully treated through medication or lifestyle changes, such as refraining from smoking, drinking less alcohol, and stopping the regular use of NSAID painkillers.  Read

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