Gastrointestinal diseases affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the mouth to the anus. There are two types: functional and structural. Some examples include nausea/vomiting, food poisoning, lactose intolerance and diarrhea.
Functional diseases are those in which the GI tract looks normal when examined, but doesn't move properly. They are the most common problems affecting the GI tract (including the colon and rectum). Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nausea, food poisoning, gas, bloating, GERD and diarrhea are common examples.
Many factors may upset your GI tract and its motility (ability to keep moving), including:
- Eating a diet low in fiber.
- Not getting enough exercise.
- Traveling or other changes in routine.
- Eating large amounts of dairy products.
- Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement, possibly because of hemorrhoids.
- Overusing anti-diarrheal medications that, over time, weaken the bowel muscle movements called motility.
- Taking antacid medicines containing calcium or aluminum.
- Taking certain medicines (especially antidepressants, iron pills and strong pain medicines such as narcotics).