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The most common digestive problems include gas, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These complications can pose a big inconvenience for those who are experiencing them. Pain is often associated with many of these common digestive problems. They can also cause much more severe problems, requiring hospitalization, or even resulting in death.
Gas is a common condition that all people experience in two different ways, either through burping or flatulence. However, it can become a problem when more than the normal amount is produced. Often, this will be associated with some level of discomfort. Gas can make an individual feel bloated and may cause abdominal pain, such as stomach cramps. There are over-the-counter medications that can reduce the amount of gas one experiences.
Diarrhea can also be an embarrassing and inconvenient nuisance, or one of the most serious digestive problems. Responsible for killing more than 2 million people each year in undeveloped portions of the world, its lethal capability has been documented many times. The big problem with diarrhea is that it causes dehydration. Therefore, those experiencing this problem should make sure to replenish liquids whenever possible.
Irritable bowel syndrome is one common cause of diarrhea. This is one of the most painful digestive problems, and some may even require hospitalization, if the pain becomes too unbearable. While the exact cause of IBS is unknown, treatment usually involves medication for gas and diarrhea, as well as changes to diet.
Constipation is generally seen as the opposite of diarrhea. It is characterized by the inability to produce bowel movements or, if bowel movements are produced, the feces are generally hard, and in the shape of small, round pellets. This is one of the digestive problems that is also capable of producing stomach cramps.
Another common problem is heartburn, also known as gastro-esophageal reflux, which can also cause a great deal of pain. This condition is caused when the lower sphincter in the esophagus opens without reason. That allows stomach contents up into the esophagus and throat. It can cause discomfort both in the throat, and throughout the entire chest. Depending upon severity, it may be treated with either over-the-counter medication, or by prescription medicine. Being overweight contributes to the problem.
Colitis is a problem marked by ulcers in the colon and rectum. Cramps, fevers, and bloody diarrhea are a few of the symptoms in the more severe cases, but mild cases may be characterized by loss of appetite, anemia and other problems that are hard to detect. Most of the time, it can be treated with drugs, but in some cases may require surgery.