Colon cancer refers to cancer of the large intestine (colon) while rectal cancer refers to cancer of the last 6 inches of the colon (rectum). Cancers affecting either of these organs are collectively known as colorectal cancer.
Regular screening tests can help prevent colon cancer by identifying polyps before they become cancerous. If signs and symptoms of colon cancer do appear, they may include changes in bowel habits, blood in your stool, abdominal pain, bloating, and fatigue.
Crohn's Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It can occur anywhere in the tract.
Most people with Crohn's disease experience abdominal pain and frequent diarrhea. Other symptoms of the disease include bloody stools, reduced appetite and weight loss. More severe cases can also cause fever and fatigue, while some people experience no symptoms at all. Periods of remission can last for months or years.
Once Crohn's disease has been diagnosed, it is important to begin treatment depending on the type and severity of symptoms. While Crohn's disease cannot be cured, it can be treated effectively to minimize the effects on your daily life.
Treatment of Crohn's disease often includes anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, antibiotics and over-the-counter medicine. Surgery may be recommended for patients with more severe or unresponsive symptoms. Life changes such as a change in diet and regular exercise can also help reduce the symptoms of Crohn's disease.
Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the digestive tract caused by a viral, bacterial or parasitic infection. This infection may be contracted through contact with an infected person or after consuming a contaminated food or drink. Although this condition is not usually serious, it can occasionally be life-threatening in infants and older adults.
Gastroenteritis is commonly mistaken as stomach flu, although it is not the same as influenza. Gastroenteritis attacks the intestines and causes symptoms that include:
Gastroenteritis can usually be diagnosed just from the symptoms and a physical examination. Treatment for gastroenteritis is through self-care. There are no medications for viral infections, and most go away on their own. It is important keep yourself hydrated while letting your stomach settle.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly known as acid reflux, is a chronic condition classified by frequent occurrences of heartburn. GERD occurs when the liquid content of the stomach regurgitates or refluxes into the esophagus. A high level of acid in the liquid causes inflammation and damage to the lining of the esophagus.
The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn. Heartburn occurs when the liquid traveling through the esophagus stimulates the nerve fibers and causes a burning pain in the middle of the chest. Other symptoms may include regurgitation, nausea and trouble swallowing. More severe cases may cause ulcers or asthma.
While GERD is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, most of the symptoms can treated to effectively reduce the severity and frequency. Symptoms of GERD can often be treated through life changes and over-the-counter medication. Surgery may be required for more severe cases.
Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is a common symptom that can be chronic or acute and involves pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen. Symptoms usually occur during or after a meal and can also include heartburn, nausea and bloating. Certain factors, such as alcohol or spicy food, can increase the risk of symptoms.
Treatment for indigestion depends on the underlying cause but can include modifying your eating habits and medications such as antacids and proton pump inhibitors. Maintaining a healthy diet and active life can also help prevent symptoms of indigestion.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of conditions that cause inflammation of the intestine and result in abdominal pain and diarrhea. IBD involves ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, which affect different areas of the stomach but share many of the same symptoms.
Ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine and the colon, causing the lining of the intestine to become inflamed and develop ulcers, which are painful, open sores. When ulcerative colitis occurs in the rectal area, it can lead to severe diarrhea.
Many cases of IBD can be effectively managed through anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressive agents, which prevent the immune system from attacking the body. Surgery may be required for more severe cases and will depend on your individual condition.
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