3.4 Gut HealthEdit
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3.4.1 Cellular turnoverEdit
3.4.2 Intestinal bacteriaEdit
3.4.3 Problems in digestion and absorptionEdit
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly known as acid reflux or heartburn is a painful sensation a person feels behind the breastbone when the lower esophageal sphincter allows the stomach contents to reflux into the esophagus. Normally, a person's diaphragm will close so nothing goes back to the esophagus but over time, the diaphragm becomes weaker around the esophagus and can eventually form a hole called the hiatus. If this hole is large enough it can form a hiatal hernia which is when the diaphragm is no longer reinforcing the valve. Acid reflux can happen when a person eats or drinks too much, if he/she is wearing tight clothing, changes position (laying down), or some medications and smoking can cause it. Weight gain can increase the frequency, severity and duration of heartburn symptoms. Treatment is fairly simple for heartburn not caused by an anatomical defect. Simple changes such as chewing food more thoroughly, eating slower or eating less at one sitting are all strategies to avoid heartburn. Over-the-counter antacids and acid controllers may also provide relief but should not be used frequently as this may cause problems.
Irritable bowel disease Irritable bowel disease is an intestinal disorder of unknown cause, however researchers are actively investigating the nervous system's role. It is one of the most common GI disorders, characterized by frequent or severe abdominal discomfort. Diarrhea, constipation, or alternating diarrhea and constipation can also occur as a result of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In most cases, GI contractions are stronger and last longer than normal, forcing intestinal contents through quickly and causing gas, bloating and diarrhea. However, sometimes the opposite can occur where the GI contractions are weaker than normal causing constipation. Triggers such as eating certain foods or stress can aggravate symptoms but not cause them. Treatment for this disease include avoiding individual foods that aggravate one's symptoms and eating smaller meals. In addition, peppermint oil and antispasmodic drugs may also be effective as treatment.