Digestive Disorders

Digestive Disorders

While everybody experiences digestive issues at some point, if you regularly suffer from stomach or bowel problems, it may be a sign of an ongoing condition requiring treatment.

On this page, you can learn about what symptoms may indicate a digestive disorder, get information on some of the more common conditions, and find out when you should see a doctor.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Digestive Disorder


Digestive disorders are often complex and can sometimes be challenging to diagnose. However, some symptoms are common in people with digestive or gastrointestinal problems.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Stomach pain

  • Feeling sick

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Constipation

  • Bloating and cramps in your stomach or bowels

  • Blood in your stool

  • A reduced appetite

  • Sudden, unexplained weight loss

Common Digestive Disorders


As the digestive system is complex, there are many different digestive disorders. Here, we shall go through some of the more common disorders.

If you think you are suffering from any of these conditions, it is essential to get a professional diagnosis from your GP or health professional to ensure you get the proper treatment.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


IBS is a common condition that affects the digestive system, especially the lower intestines.

Its symptoms include bloating, cramps, and diarrhoea or constipation. Generally, these symptoms come and go over time, with bouts lasting anywhere from a day to a few weeks or even months at a time.

There is no cure, but you can manage the condition using medicines and lifestyle changes.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)


IBD is a blanket term for several conditions that cause your bowels to become inflamed and often very painful. Common diseases that fall under IBD include Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

Symptoms are similar to those of IBS but often more pronounced and severe. These can include:

  • Diarrhoea that lasts more than four weeks

  • Stomach cramps

  • Blood or mucus in your poo

  • Bleeding from your bottom

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Feeling tired all the time, even when well rested.

Coeliacs Disease


Coeliac disease is an illness in which your body’s immune system attacks your gut lining when you eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and other related grains). This attack damages the gut lining, so you can’t digest nutrients properly.

The symptoms of coeliac disease include:

  • Diarrhoea (which may smell particularly unpleasant)

  • Stomach cramps

  • Bloating and flatulence

  • Indigestion

  • Constipation

It may also cause tiredness, an itchy rash, weight loss, brain fog and problems with balance.

Food Intolerances


Some people experience problems digesting certain foods, including dairy, gluten and caffeine. While not usually serious, they can still leave you feeling unwell.

The symptoms of intolerance include bloating and flatulence, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

When Should I See a Doctor for Digestive Disorders?


If you think you have any of the conditions listed above or any other digestive disorder, it is essential to see a medical professional to receive a proper diagnosis of your condition. Digestive problems can be challenging to diagnose correctly, and appropriate treatment is only possible if the condition is correctly identified.

There are also situations where it is critical to see a doctor urgently. These include:

  • Changes in your bowel habits that last for more than six weeks.

  • Unexplained weight loss.

  • Bleeding from your bottom, or blood in your stool.

  • A swelling or lump in your stomach or back passage.

Getting a doctor’s appointment is also essential if you are worried about any of these conditions, as anxiety can worsen the symptoms of digestive problems.

If you think you or a loved one are suffering from these problems, please get in touch with your local GP to see how they can help. If you aren’t registered with a GP, you can register online here.

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