Many people who click through many links searching for the right gastroenterologist do not realize how important the digestive system is to their overall health. For some, knowledge of the digestive tract begins and ends with chewing and swallowing food. This system is so important to help maintain proper function for the rest of the body.
The digestive system is more than what is visible to the eye. Often, people think of the digestive tract as one long tube that stretches through the body from the mouth to the anus where waste is excreted. There are a few other hollow organs that belong to this system, including the esophagus, stomach small intestine, large intestine and rectum. Food and drinks go through the entire system before exiting the body.
At different points along the digestive tract, food is broken down for nutrients and sent to the rest of the body for optimal function. The pancreas, liver and gall bladder all contain juices that enter the intestines and help with the breakdown of food. What does not get broken down continues to move through the body and prepares to exist as waste.
If there is any break in the chain of events that cause digestion, the body is not able to properly break down food and give energy to cells. Without good cell energy, a human body cannot continue to function. This is detrimental to good health and over time can create other health conditions.
Some of the most common conditions that develop from a poor functioning digestive system include acid reflux, peptic ulcers, constipation, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, hemorrhoids, gallstones and lactose intolerance. Some of these conditions can be treated with over-the-counter medications. They recur, but with the proper attention, the effects they have on lifestyle and daily function can be minimal.
Other conditions like Crohn’s disease can be a bit more severe. The lining of the entire digestive tract can become inflamed and create severe stomach cramping and diarrhea. In some cases, malnutrition can occur if the symptoms make it difficult to eat or digest food. People with conditions this serious should always seek the care of a gastroenterologist.
There are many skilled general practitioners who are capable of providing relief for many digestive conditions. However, many will refer patients to gastroenterologists because the specialty of these diseases is beyond their scope of practice. If you receive a referral, it is wise to seek care immediately. The good health of your digestive function could depend on it.