Digestive disorders include a wide array of conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract. These disorders differ based on the severity, from minor annoyance (such as mild heartburn) to potentially life-threatening illness (such as a perforated ulcer).
Here are seven common digestive disorders to be aware of:
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes at the wrong times, allowing acid from the stomach to enter the esophagus. One possible cause of GERD is a hiatal hernia, a protrusion of this same sphincter and the upper portion of the stomach into the chest cavity.
Gastritis and Gastric Ulcers
Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) and gastric ulcers (breaks or open sores in this lining) are most commonly caused by infections or the use of certain medications.
Ulcers can also occur in the duodenum when stones that form in the gallbladder keep bile out.