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Bowel problems can limit your quality of life quite a bit. After all, the intestine has a great influence on health and well-being. Every person’s intestinal flora is unique. That’s why, for example, one person can tolerate pulses and another not. Intestinal problems often arise when the intestinal flora gets out of balance. Some diseases of the gut still puzzle doctors and scientists, others are well researched.
Flatulence as a classic intestinal complaint
Not all intestinal complaints are caused by an intestinal disease. The intestinal flora can become unbalanced due to various influences. Antibiotics, for example, are known to change the composition of the intestinal flora. If you eat an unbalanced diet, exercise too little or drink too much alcohol, this can also lead to problems.
We are all familiar with an intestinal problem – known as “meteorism” in technical terms: a bloated stomach is at least unpleasant, sometimes even really painful. Flatulence is caused either by too much swallowed air or by gas accumulation in the intestine. Usually, flatulent foods such as legumes, onions, greasy food, carbonated drinks or fresh bread are to blame.
If you experience flatulence after eating, don’t worry. In this case, avoid flatulent foods, eat slowly and drink plenty of water. Gentle heat and abdominal massages can also bring relief.
Common diseases of the intestine
Occasional bloating, constipation or diarrhoea do not have to be the result of bowel disease. However, if these complaints occur frequently or in combination, it is likely that they are the symptoms of bowel disease.
Here’s an overview of common bowel diseases:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
So-called irritable bowel syndrome is, strictly speaking, not a bowel disease, but a syndrome. Various intestinal disorders come together and cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, abdominal pain, constipation, or bloating.The causes behind irritable bowel syndrome are not clear. However, the following factors can play a role:
- Psychological factors (anxiety, overload, grief)
- Unusual diet (for example, what you eat on vacation)
- Previous gastrointestinal flu
- Lactose intolerance
- Consumption of stimulants (cigarettes, coffee, alcohol)
- Imbalance of the intestinal flora (dysbiosis)
Doctors diagnose irritable bowel syndrome using the exclusion procedure. If all typical examinations such as laboratory tests, ultrasound or colonoscopy do not reveal any abnormalities, an irritable bowel syndrome is obvious.
Chronic inflammatory bowel disease can affect your entire digestive tract from the mouth to anus. However, the lower small intestine and the upper large intestine are frequently inflamed. Just like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are often varied. This intestinal disease occurs in episodes that are unpredictable. The most common symptoms are:
- Abdominal pain in the lower right abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of weight
It is not yet clear how Crohn’s disease develops. It is assumed that this is due to an autoimmune disorder. There are also some indications that this is hereditary.
Similar to Crohn’s disease, ulcerative coilitis is an intestinal disease that is from the the chronic inflammatory intestinal diseases family. In this case, however, only the colon is affected by inflammation and not the entire digestive tract. In many cases, the disease starts in the rectum and then spreads to the large intestine.
Ulcerative Colitis takes an episodic course and it is possible that months or even years pass without symptoms. Since symptoms are similar to those of Crohn’s disease, your doctor must first make a precise diagnosis. The causes of this intestinal disease are also unclear, but it is probably due to an autoimmune disease. It is possible that viruses and bacteria also play a role.
Which stomach problems can be life-threatening?
In rare cases, bowel diseases can lead to complications. With Crohn’s disease, intestinal obstruction is a possible complication that must be treated immediately. The formation of scars after a relapse can lead to constrictions which, in the worst-case scenario, can lead to intestinal obstruction. It is also possible that intestinal ruptures may occur where objects in the intestine can enter the abdominal cavity and can trigger life-threatening infections. In such emergencies, you must seek immediate medical treatment.Complications are also possible with ulcerative colitis. Not only can intestinal perforation occur, but also a toxic megacolon. This, in turn, can lead to a life-threatening intestinal obstruction. In some cases, this can also lead to bleeding in the intestine which can lead to severe blood loss. If this happens, blood transfusions and surgery may be necessary.
How’s the health of your intestinal flora?
You can prevent many stomach problems with a healthy intestinal flora.The intestinal flora is made up of billions of microorganisms. In fact, up to two kilograms of microbes live in your intestine. It is important that the “good” intestinal bacteria dominate.
How do you learn about the state of your intestinal flora?With BIOMES you have access a precise intestinal analysis. With INTEST.pro by BIOMES, you can find out what bacteria currently make up your intestinal flora.