Gastritis is inflammation of the lining of the stomach and has many possible causes. Common causes of gastritis are excessive alcohol consumption or prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Gastritis may also develop after major surgery, traumatic injury, burns, or severe infections. Gastritis may also occur in those who have had weight loss surgery resulting in the banding or reconstruction of the digestive tract. Chronic causes are infection with bacteria, primarily Helicobacter pylori, chronic bile reflux, and stress; certain autoimmune disorders can cause gastritis as well. The most common symptom is abdominal upset or pain. Other symptoms are indigestion, abdominal bloating, nausea, and vomiting and pernicious anemia. Some may have a feeling of fullness or burning in the upper abdomen. An esophagogastroduodenoscopy, blood test, complete blood count test, or a stool test may be used to diagnose gastritis. Treatment includes taking antacids or other medicines, such as proton pump inhibitors or antibiotics, and avoiding hot or spicy foods. For those with pernicious anemia, B12 injections are given, but more often oral B12 supplements are recommended.
Dyspepsia (from the Greek δυσ- dys- and πέψις pepsis "digestion"), also known as indigestion, is a condition of impaired digestion. It is a medical condition characterized by chronic or recurrent pain in the upper abdomen, upper abdominal fullness and feeling full earlier than expected when eating. It can be accompanied by bloating, belching, nausea, or heartburn. Dyspepsia is a common problem and is frequently caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or gastritis. In a small minority it may be the first symptom of peptic ulcer disease (an ulcer of the stomach or duodenum) and occasionally cancer. Hence, unexplained newly onset dyspepsia in people over 55 or the presence of other alarming symptoms may require further investigations.
Nausea (Latin nausea, from Greek ναυσία - nausia, "ναυτία" - nautia, motion sickness", "feeling sick," "queasy" or "wamble") is a sensation of unease and discomfort in the upper stomach with an involuntary urge to vomit. It often, but not always, precedes vomiting. A person can suffer nausea without vomiting. (Greek ναῦς - naus, "ship"; ναυσία started as meaning "seasickness".) Nausea is a non-specific symptom, which means that it has many possible causes. Some common causes of nausea are motion sickness, dizziness, migraine, fainting, gastroenteritis (stomach infection) or food poisoning. Side effects of many medications including cancer chemotherapy, nauseants or morning sickness in early pregnancy. Nausea may also be caused by anxiety, disgust and depression. Medications taken to prevent and treat nausea are called antiemetics. The most commonly prescribed antiemetics in the US are promethazine, metoclopramide and ondansetron.
Vomiting (known medically as emesis and informally as throwing up and numerous other terms) is the involuntary, forceful expulsion of the contents of one's stomach through the mouth and sometimes the nose. Vomiting can be caused by a wide variety of conditions; it may present as a specific response to ailments like gastritis or poisoning, or as a non-specific sequela of disorders ranging from brain tumors and elevated intracranial pressure to overexposure to ionizing radiation. The feeling that one is about to vomit is called nausea, which often precedes, but does not always lead to, vomiting. Antiemetics are sometimes necessary to suppress nausea and vomiting. In severe cases, where dehydration develops, intravenous fluid may be required. Vomiting is different from regurgitation, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. Regurgitation is the return of undigested food back up the esophagus to the mouth, without the force and displeasure associated with vomiting. The causes of vomiting and regurgitation are generally different.
Diarrhea or diarrhoea (from the Greek διάρροια, δια dia "through" + ρέω rheo "flow" meaning "flowing through") is the condition of having three or more loose or liquid bowel movements per day. The most common cause is gastroenteritis. Oral rehydration solutions (ORS) with modest amounts of salts and zinc tablets are the treatment of choice and have been estimated to have saved 50 million children in the past 25 years. In cases where ORS is not available, homemade solutions are often used. It is a common cause of death in developing countries and the second most common cause of infant deaths worldwide. The loss of fluids through diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte disturbances such as potassium deficiency or other salt imbalances. In 2009 diarrhea was estimated to have caused 1.1 million deaths in people aged 5 and over and 1.5 million deaths in children under the age of 5.
Constipation (also known as costiveness or dyschezia) refers to bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass. Constipation is a common cause of painful defecation. Severe constipation includes obstipation (failure to pass stools or gas) and fecal impaction, which can progress to bowel obstruction and become life-threatening. Constipation is a symptom with many causes. These causes are of two types: obstructed defecation and colonic slow transit (or hypomobility). About 50% of patients evaluated for constipation at tertiary referral hospitals have obstructed defecation. This type of constipation has mechanical and functional causes. Causes of colonic slow transit constipation include diet, hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism, side effects of medications, and rarely heavy metal toxicity. Because constipation is a symptom, not a disease, effective treatment of constipation may require first determining the cause. Treatments include changes in dietary habits, laxatives, enemas, biofeedback, and in particular situations surgery may be required.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS, or spastic colon) is a symptom-based diagnosis characterized by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and alteration of bowel habits. As a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID), IBS has no known organic cause. Diarrhea or constipation may predominate, or they may alternate (classified as IBS-D, IBS-C or IBS-A, respectively). Historically a diagnosis of exclusion, a diagnosis of IBS can now be made on the basis of symptoms alone, in the absence of alarm features such as age of onset greater than 50 years, weight loss, gross hematochezia, systemic signs of infection or colitis, or family history of inflammatory bowel disease. Onset of IBS is more likely to occur after an infection (post-infectious, IBS-PI), or a stressful life event, but varies little with age.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine. The major types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Loss of Appetite
Anorexia (deriving from the Greek "α(ν)-" (a(n)-, a prefix that denotes absence) + "όρεξη" (orexe) = appetite) is the decreased sensation of appetite. While the term in non-scientific publications is often used interchangeably with anorexia nervosa, many possible causes exist for a decreased appetite, some of which may be harmless, while others indicate a serious clinical condition or pose a significant risk.
Food poisoning is caused by eating contaminated food. The risk can be minimised by taking simple precautions. Some people are more at risk, including pregnant women, the elderly, young children and anyone with an illness. E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter are some bacteria that cause food poisoning. Symptoms include nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and headaches.