About gastro-intestinal diseases
Gastrointestinal diseases affect the gastrointestinal tract, including your oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum. When things go wrong down there you can experience bloating, cramps, fever, sickness, the runs, a rash and headaches.
The symptoms can be caused by microbes in food and water, infected animals, places where infected animals live and infected people. Most of the time all you need to do is take antacid tablets and take extra care over what you eat.
A list of common gastrointestinal diseases
Here’s a list of some of the most common gastrointestinal diseases. The NHS website contains full details about all of them – follow this link.
- Coeliac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Gallbladder inflammation
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
- Hirschsprung’s disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Lactose intolerance
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Stomach ache
- Ulcerative colitis
- Wheat intolerance
On holiday you’re most likely to fall foul of a basic tummy bug, simple sickness and/or diarrhoea. But it’s worth mentioning some of the more serious diseases so you know what to look out for.
Hepatitis C – A blood-borne virus infection which mostly affects the liver, often contracted by contact with infected blood through drug use, tattooing and unsafe sex.
Constipation and diarrhoea – Constipation is usually down to food choices and lifestyle factors like your diet and stress. But it can be a symptom of something more serious. Diarrhoeas only a concern when it is frequent and lasts a long time.
Diverticulitis – When diverticula, little pouches, develop in the colon they can cause pain when they stick out through weak spots in the colon walls or get inflamed.
Esophagitis – When your esophagus swells, gets irritated or inflamed, often because of acid reflux, it can be very painful and even lead to extreme difficulty swallowing and acute chest pain.
Heartburn / acid reflux – Both are common symptoms of other conditions, but they can just as easily occur on their own. If it goes on for a long time or becomes more serious, it can signal an underlying illness.
Haemorrhoids – Swollen veins and clusters of tissue can develop in the anus. But haemorrhoids can also be internal, developing inside the lower rectum and less painful.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome – When your colon doesn’t function properly you can develop IBS. The symptoms vary widely and depend on the patient, ranging from mild to severe.
How to avoid travellers’ stomach bugs
Since the most common gastrointestinal condition in holidaymakers is the common or garden ‘tummy bug’, it makes a lot of sense to take great care over food hygiene, water hygiene and personal hygiene. Get it right and it’s the best way to avoid falling ill with travellers’ tummy. Here’s a link to our special advice sheet about travellers diarrhoea and how to avoid it.
Other than that, as a general rule, if your gastro-intestinal pain and discomfort goes on for longer than a week it’s wise to see a doctor just in case.
Our qualified, experienced staff are always happy to help and advise. Feel free to make an appointment.