Digestive health problems are a common issue for millions of people in the United States and around the world. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t experienced some type of digestive system problem at some point in their life whether it be indigestion from a food reaction or diarrhea from acute viral gastroenteritis. There are a multitude of digestive system problems that people commonly complain of, here is a short list:
• Acid Reflux – also known as heartburn
• Indigestion – can manifest as stomach discomfort and nausea
• Cramping – discomfort throughout the entire digestive system
• Constipation – a common occurrence for children and adults which leads to significant
• Diarrhea – usually associated with an infection or inflammatory bowel problems
• Gas/Bloating – this causes discomfort in the digestive system and is commonly associated
with adverse food reactions and/or bacterial or yeast overgrowth.
Rectal pain – this can be associated with constipation, negative food reactions, intestinal infections such as Helicobacter pylori, hemorrhoids, or inflammation.
Digestive System Problems – What Makes Up the Digestive System
The digestive system is a long tube that runs through our body and is directly involved in food stuff assimilation (food digestion), nutrient absorption, and toxin elimination. The digestive system is also a major player in the immune system as well. The digestive system actually begins in the mouth through the process of chewing and saliva production of enzymes. It then extends downwards through the esophagus (tube between mouth and stomach) into the stomach. The stomach is the main area for acid production and via the churning of food stuff significantly begins the process of food breakdown. From there food stuff enters the upper part of the small intestine called the duodenum and is acted upon by pancreas enzymes, and bile acids from the liver. Therefore, the liver and pancreas are considered part of the digestive system as well.
In the small intestine more food digestion takes place along with nutrient absorption into the blood stream. The major parts of the digestive immune system are also found in the small intestine primarily in the jejunum and ileum. After passing through the small intestine waste material bound to bile passes into the large intestine. The large intestine is also called the colon. The colon is the last part of the intestinal tract and makes up the ascending, transverse, descending, sigmoid colon (the small region between the descending colon and rectum), and rectum.
Digestive Health Problems – Common Diagnostic Testing
There are standard recommendations put forth from preventative medicine agencies for assessment of digestive health, primarily colon health, via colonoscopy and rectal blood assessment starting at age 50. These screening assessments are primarily for colon cancer prevention and detection. However, there are other integrative medicine tests that can be performed to assess the overall health of the digestive system, and not just the colon.
The Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) is an excellent way of assessing digestive health through digestion and inflammation markers, blood, and bacteria, yeast and parasite detection. Doing this test along with an Organic Acids Test (OAT) provides great insight into yeast and bacterial toxins and other biochemical markers which can compromise health. Food sensitivities can lead to a lot of digestive system problems and the Comprehensive Food IgG Test helps to identify various food sensitivities.
Finally, assessing for Helicobacter pylori (a bacteria that causes stomach and duodenal ulcers), along with in-depth parasite detection can be done via the Gastrointestinal Screen w/H. pylori (#401-H) from BioHealth Laboratory. The CDSA, OAT, and Comprehensive Food IgG are all available from Great Plains Laboratory, and all of these together are a comprehensive way of assessing for digestive system problems.
Recommended: Gastrointestinal Health