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Digestive diseases are disorders of the digestive tract, which is sometimes called the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
In digestion, food and drink are broken down into small parts (called nutrients) that the body can absorb and use as energy and building blocks for cells.
The digestive tract is made up of the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, large and small intestines, liver, pancreas, and the gallbladder.
The first sign of problems in the digestive tract often includes one or more of the following symptoms:
A digestive disease is any health problem that occurs in the digestive tract. Conditions may range from mild to serious. Some common problems include
, , and .
Other digestive diseases include:
- , , and
- Rectal problems, such as , , , and
- Esophagus problems, such as (narrowing) and
- Liver problems, such as or , , liver failure, and autoimmune and
- Pancreatitis and pancreatic pseudocyst
- Intestinal problems, such as polyps and cancer, infections, , , , , , , and
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (), disease, and
Tests for digestive problems can include
, upper GI , capsule endoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and endoscopic .
Many surgical procedures are performed on the digestive tract. These include procedures done using endoscopy, laparoscopy, and open surgery. Organ transplants can be performed on the liver, pancreas, and small intestine.
Many health care providers can help diagnose and treat digestive problems. A gastroenterologist is a physician specialist who has received extra training in the diagnosis and treatment of the digestive disorders. Other health care providers involved in the treatment of digestive diseases include:
- (NPs) or (PAs)
- Nutritionists or dietitians
- Primary care doctors
- Last reviewed on 1/27/2012
- George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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