Although it is the source of much amusement, passing wind through the rear is also the cause of much embarrassment when it occurs in public. It is a normal act that occurs in every person from time to time. However, there are instances where it can be excessive and therefore cause significant distress due to its social impact. Most of us are able to retain flatulence when we feel the need to pass wind until the setting is appropriate to expel it. However, in some people there is an inability to control flatulence leading to the passing of wind at the most inappropriate of times. It can be such a major problem that a person may withdraw from social interaction and it can even lead to anxiety and depression.
Gastro-Intestinal Diseases's Articles Archives
The human gut allows us to take in food and drink and process it so that we can get the nutrients we need. Waste products in the gut are then evacuated in the form of stool. The entire gut is continuous from the mouth to the rectum. The point where certain parts of the gut meet (junctions) may be prone to tears. One of these high risk areas lie in the upper part of the gut between the esophagus (food pipe) and stomach. If you have been vomiting and suddenly notice bright red blood in the vomit, it is possible that you have one of these tears in the gut known as a Mallory-Weiss tear.
Vomiting is a forceful expulsion of the upper gastrointestinal contents. This is the food, fluid and secretions in the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine known as the duodenum. Less commonly the contents within the middle and end portions of the small intestine, jejunum and ileum, may also be propelled up the gut and expelled through the mouth. Normally muscles in the gut wall contraction in a coordinated manner to push food downwards – from mouth to the rectum. This is known as peristalsis. When vomiting, the direction of coordinated muscle contraction is reversed thereby pushing the gut contents upwards to the mouth – antiperistalsis. It is much more forceful that the contractions in peristalsis. Therefore the gut contents are expelled forcefully.
There are various sounds that emanate from the gastrointestinal tract. This is known as borborygmi and is a normal part of the abdominal sounds. It is caused by the movement of fluid and gas through the bowels in particular. Most of the times the majority of these sounds are not audible although the odd rumbling and gurgling can be heard even by others. However, there are instances where overactivity of the bowels and excess gas and fluid can cause loud and recurrent abdominal sounds. Even in this instance it would not be considered unusual unless the sounds are accompanied by other symptoms, like diarrhea.
What is stomach pressure?
The term ‘stomach pressure’ is not a specific symptom. Instead it is a common term to describe a symptom where a person feels a pushing out sensation, fullness or bloating in the stomach. Since the term ‘stomach’ and ‘abdomen’ are often used interchangeably in lay terms, stomach pressure may therefore also refer to abdominal pressure. Strictly speaking though, stomach pressure would refer to these sensations in the left upper abdominal quadrant. It is often difficult to isolate the sensation as being localized to the stomach itself since there are so many other organs and structures surrounding it in this quadrant. Usually the symptoms are believed to originate from the stomach when it occurs shortly after eating or drinking.
Food, once swallowed, is quickly transported down the throat, into the esophagus and pushed into the stomach. Most of the time a person is unable to experience the movement of food from the pharynx. These visceral sensations are purposely dulled as is the case with movement through most of the gut. Sometimes there is the feeling of food being stuck in the throat (head and neck region) or lower down in the esophagus (chest region). It can be nothing more than a sensation despite the food having passed down in to the stomach as normal – sometimes imagined while at other times it is due to irritation in the throat or esophagus. However, there are instances where food is trapped either partially or completely due to a problem with swallowing or the normal passage of food.
About the Esophagus
The esophagus is the long narrow tube of the upper gastrointestinal tract commonly referred to as the food pipe. It connects the throat to the stomach – starting from the lower parts of the neck and running down the chest (thoracic) cavity throught the diaphragm and continues into the stomach immediately after entering the abdominal cavity. The human esophagus is about 25 to 30 centimeters long. It is a muscular tube that is able to propel food rapidly into the stomach. The inner lining known as the esophageal mucosa contains a large number of mucus producing cells. Small mucus-producing esophageal glands are also located within the submucosa. The mucus that is secreted helps to lubricate the food passing into the stomach.
There are two areas which control the movement of food and drink into and out of the esophagus – the upper esoophageal sphincter (UES) and lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The upper esophageal sphincter (UES) lies at the junction of the pharynx and esophagus. It is under voluntary control and allows food and drink to pass into the esophagus during swallowing. However, opening and closing of the upper esophageal sphincter is often not done consciously. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) lies at the junction of the lower part of the esophagus and stomach. It is not under voluntary control. It allows food and fluids to enter the stomach but prevents the acidic stomach contents from leaking into the esophagus.
What is stress gastritis?
Stress gastritis is inflammation of the stomach wall that arises with severe illness or injury. It is caused by physiological stress where the body is under severe distress due to some disease or the other and is mainly seen in the critically ill patient. These underlying diseases may not specifically affect the stomach. The term stress gastritis, or more correctly stress-induced gastritis, is often mistaken for stomach problems associated with psychological stress – anxiety, fear, worry or depression.
However, stress gastritis is not a problem with psychological factors but rather with physiological disturbances that are severe. Here the body is not coping very efficiently as is seen with major trauma, widespread burns, serious infections and organ failure. Stress gastritis more commonly occurs in the elderly who are severely debilitated and often hospitalized in ICU.
A host of stomach conditions can cause pain and less commonly cramps as well. However, identifying pain in the stomach region as arising specifically from the stomach is often difficult without considering a person’s medical history, other symptoms and results of different tests. Bad stomach pain or cramping is distressing and at times even be debilitating, affecting a person’s daily functioning and even level of nutrition in some cases. Understanding the possible causes of bad stomach pains or bad stomach cramps and identifying other features which may provide a better indication of the cause is therefore imperative for rapid and effective treatment.
What is a small intestine leak?
A small intestine leak is the common term for a perforation (hole) in the small intestine. The term is sometimes confused with leaky gut syndrome, a condition that supposedly increases the permeability of the intestinal wall. With a perforation an actual hole develops thereby allowing the contents of the small intestine to leak out into the abdominal cavity. Due to the concentration of different types of bacteria in the small intestine, leakage of the small intestinal contents will allow for infection to develop within the abdominal cavity. Activated digestive enzymes may also cause inflammation of the surrounding abdominal structures. If left untreated, perforation of the small intestine can quickly progress to life threatening complications.
What is Salmonella?
Salmonella are a group of bacteria that can be divided into typhoid Salmonella (Salmonella typhi) which causes typhoid fever and non-typhoid Salmonella. The latter is commonly known for causing salmenollosis which is a type of foodborne intestinal infection contracted after eating food contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria. These types of intestinal infections are more likely in children or the elderly.
What is Shigella?
Shigella are a family of bacteria that cause an infectious intestinal disease known as shigellosis. It is mainly transmitted through contact with an infected person and contaminated food and water. Shigellosis can occur in any age group but is more commonly seen in children. It is one of the common causes of outbreaks of bacillary dysentry.
What is intestinal pain?
Intestinal pain is any soreness or discomfort emanating from the intestines (bowels). It is often difficult to isolate pain to a specific internal organ, particularly with abdominal organs, since the abdominal cavity has the most amount of organs than any other cavity in the human body. Furthermore these organs lies in close proximity to each other. However, pain that is in the approximate location of the intestines, accompanied by other symptoms that start within 30 minutes to several hours after eating is most like to be associated with intestinal pain.
The human intestines are the longest part of the gut. It includes the small and large intestine, extending from the duodenum that is continuous with the stomach, to the rectum. The intestines occupy most of the abdominal cavity and the last portion of the large intestine dips downwards into the pelvic cavity. Most of the digestion, absorption of nutrients, reabsorption of water, the storage and subsequent evacuation of waste material occurs within the intestines. Therefore many intestinal diseases that result in pain will exhibit symptoms related to digestion, absorption and defecation.
What is colon pain?
Colon pain is any soreness within the colon of the large intestine. It is a symptom of some underlying disease and may occur along with other symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, flatulence and abdominal distention. In most instances it is difficult to attribute pain within the abdomen as arising from any specific organ especially if there are no other symptoms. Colon pain is one such instance and should therefore be investigated as abdominal pain as a whole, preferably localizing the pain to a specific abdominal quadrant or region.
What is a bubbling in the bowels?
Bubbling sounds from the bowels are a result of gas and fluid movement within the intestines. The bowels are not silent as is often thought. There are sounds constantly emanating from most of the gastrointestinal tract particularly from the stomach all the way down to the end of the colon. These bowel noises are considered to be normal and are a sign of activity within the intestines. It is medically referred to as borborygmus or borborygmi (plural). In most cases the bowel sounds are not audible for the majority of the time. Occasionally strong contractions or gas in the bowels may cause louder, audible sounds. This is just a momentary change in bowel activity and occurs as a once off episode. However, persistently loud sounds of any kind from the bowel may indicate a hyperactive bowel which means increased activity within the intestines.
What is morning diarrhea?
Morning diarrhea is a term used to describe loose, watery stool and an urgent need to have a bowel movement upon waking. In some people, the need to pass stool may disturb sleep within the early hours of the morning. Morning diarrhea is not a specific symptom that clearly indicates a definite cause. It is frequently seen in most gastrointestinal disorders where diarrhea is a feature. However, it tends to be more common in a person suffering with bowel disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This most likely indicates a psychosomatic element as both these disorders are aggravated with stress and anxiety.
What is a stomach hernia?
A stomach hernia is the protrusion of the upper part of the stomach through the diaphragmatic opening. This means that a portion of the stomach is abnormally protruding into the thoracic (chest) cavity. The proper medical term for a stomach hernia is a hiatal hernia or hiatus hernia. Although most cases are mild and largely asymptomatic (no symptoms present), in severe cases a stomach hernia can cause considerable discomfort and pain and lead to regurgitation. The rise of the acidic stomach acid contents into the esophagus (food pipe) has a host of other complications within the esophagus, throat and mouth.
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