Digestive complaints can be a very nerve wrecking and frustrating matter. If unpleasant digestive symptoms persist over a long period of time, a functional intestinal disorder (a group of disorders of the intestinal tract) could be to blame. Scientific researchers conclude that intestinal disorders often cannot be traced back to one specific causig factor but rather a complex of various causing factors. Here is a selective overview of few of the most common digestive complaints.

Constipation

Constipation ranks amongst the most common intestinal complaints. Factors that encourage the development of constipation can stem from various Sources. A poor diet, inadequate fiber and fluid intake, imbalanced microflora composition, lack of exercise and medicinal side effects can contribute to the development of constipation. You are by definition suffering from constipation, if you have:

Three or fewer bowel movements per week

Hard and lumpy stools

Sensation of blockage or obstruction in the anus and/or rectum

Strained stool passage

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Diarrhea

Diarrhea is also one of the most common intestinal complaints. It has been reported that, on average, adults are affected by diarrhea once and children twice every year. Diarrhea is primarily characterized by the increased frequency of passing watery and loose stools (typically more than 3 times a day), accompanied by occasional abdominal pain. There are acute and chronic forms of diarrhea. One of the most dangerous consequence of diarrhea is dehydration.
Dehydration happens when the body loses too much water without replacing it which then prevents adequate metabolic performance. If untreated, dehydration can become a life-threatening matter, especially for infants and children.

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"First, modify the patient's diet and lifestyle and only then, if these do not effect a cure, treat with medicinals and acupuncture."

— Sun Simiao

Bloating

Bloating and abdominal distention are common complaints experienced by people of all age groups. It is said that 10 to 25% of adults complain about this kind of intestinal disorder. Being bloated is defined as sensing an uncomfortable tightness, fullness and distention in the belly area while noticing a visible increase in the abdominal girth. If these symptoms turn into consistent uncomfortable complaints causing mental distress, it is advised to see a professional health practitioner to clarify your concerns. There are many sources of intestinal gas. The kind and the amount of food and drinks we ingest and the way we eat can have a major impact on our intestinal gas production.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is considered a functional intestinal disorder in which the normal digestive function of the bowel is disrupted. This leads to consistent abdominal pain and other intestinal symptoms like diarrhea, constipation and flatulence. The main criteria used to diagnose IBS is the experience of a reoccurring abdominal pain or cramps accompanied by other digestive discomforts. Improving IBS is not a one-way approach since there is no one universal therapy that works for every IBS patient equally. IBS requires a personalized combination of various treatment approaches including lifestyle changes and dietary measures.

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Celiac Disease

People with celiac disease are suffering from a life-long hereditary gluten-sensitivity which makes it impossible for them to eat anything containing gluten (a protein found in certain cereals). The ingestion of gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction in the small intestine, causing tissue structures called villi to degenerate as well as severe intestinal inflammation. The body becomes unable to adequately break down and absorb all the foods and nutrients, which if untreated can eventually leads to malnourishment and other health risks.

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