Digestive complaints can be a very nerve wrecking and frustrating matter. If they 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 trigger, 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 microbiota, 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. On average, adults are affected by diarrhea once and children twice every year. Diarrhea is primarily characterized by an increased frequency of passing watery and loose stools (typically more than 3 times a day), often accompanied by 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, leading to inadequate 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. 10 to 25% of adults complain regularly about this kind of intestinal issue. Being bloated is defined as sensing an uncomfortable tightness, fullness and distention in the abdominal area with an increase of the abdominal girth. If these symptoms turn consistent and are causing mental distress, it is advised to see a professional health practitioner to find the triggers. There are many sources for intestinal gas. The kind and 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 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 reoccurring abdominal pain or cramps accompanied by other digestive discomforts, after excluding any other organic cause.  Managing IBS is not a one-way approach since there is not one universal therapy that works for every IBS patient equally. IBS requires a personalized combination of various treatment approaches including lifestyle and diet changes.

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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 lead to malnourishment and other health risks.

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