Health Information

Digestive Disorders

  • Barrett's Esophagus

    Barrett's esophagus is when the normal cells that line your food pipe (esophagus) turn into cells not usually found in your body. The new cells take over because the lining of the esophagus has been damaged. The new, abnormal cells are called specialized columnar cells.

  • Celiac Disease

    Celiac disease is a digestive problem that hurts your small intestine. It stops your body from taking in nutrients from food. You may have celiac disease if you are sensitive to gluten. Gluten is a kind of protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats.

  • Colorectal Cancer: Statistics

    Most people who have colorectal cancer are older than 50. Find out who is most likely to get cancer and why.

  • Constipation

    Constipation is when your stools are painful or they do not happen often enough. It is the most common GI (gastrointestinal) problem.

  • Digestive Diagnostic Procedures

    Detailed information on the most common tests and procedures used to diagnosis digestive disorders

  • Diarrhea

    Diarrhea is when your stools are loose and watery. You may also need to go to the bathroom more often.

  • Digestive Disorders

    Detailed information on the most common types of digestive disorders, including appendicitis, Barrett's esophagus, celiac disease, constipation, crohn's disease, diarrhea, diverticular disease, gas, gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastr

  • Diverticular Disease

    Diverticular disease is an infection in the tiny pouches that some people get in their colon. The pouches are called diverticula. These pouches bulge out through weak spots in your colon. The pouches can become inflamed (red, swollen) or infected.

  • Gas in the Digestive Tract

    Everyone has gas. It may be painful and embarrassing, but it is not dangerous. Your body gets rid of gas by burping or by passing it through your rectum. Most people make about 1 to 4 pints of gas a day. It is common to pass gas about 14 times a day.

  • Gastroparesis

    Gastroparesis is a stomach disorder. It happens when your stomach takes too long to empty out food. If food stays in your stomach for too long, it can cause problems.

  • Gastritis

    Gastritis is when your stomach lining gets red and swollen (inflamed). Your stomach lining is strong. In most cases acid does not hurt it. But it can get inflamed and irritated if you drink too much alcohol, eat spicy foods, or smoke.

  • Helicobacter Pylori

    H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) is a type of bacteria that infects your stomach. It can damage the tissue in your stomach and the first part of your small intestine (the duodenum). In some cases it can also cause painful sores called peptic ulcers in your upper digestive tract.

  • Hemorrhoids

    Hemorrhoids are when the veins or blood vessels in and around your anus and lower rectum become swollen and irritated. This happens when there is extra pressure on these veins.

  • Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis A is a liver disease that is easily spread from person to person (highly contagious). Hepatitis is a redness or swelling (inflammation) of the liver that sometimes causes lasting damage. Hepatitis A is one type of hepatitis.

  • Hepatitis B

    Hepatitis is a redness and swelling (inflammation) of the liver. It sometimes causes permanent liver damage.

  • Hepatitis C

    Hepatitis C is a liver disease that is caused by the hepatitis C virus. It is a redness and swelling (inflammation) of the liver that sometimes causes lasting damage. The liver isn’t able to work the way it should.

  • Hiatal Hernia

    In a hiatal hernia, part of your stomach pushes up into an opening (the hiatus) in your diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle between your stomach and your chest.

  • Digestive System -- An Overview

    Detailed information on how the digestive system works, including a full-color, labeled illustration of the digestive system

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)/Heartburn

    GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a digestive disorder. It is caused when gastric acid from your stomach flows back up into your food pipe or esophagus.

  • Crohn's Disease

    Crohn’s disease is part of a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.

  • Ulcerative Colitis

    Ulcerative colitis is part of a group of diseases called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that affects your large intestine or colon. When you have IBS your colon looks normal. But it does not work the way it should.

  • Home Page - Digestive Disorders

    Detailed information on digestive disorders, including anatomy of the digestive system, digestive disorders diagnosis, digestive disorders medications, colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, and stomach cancer

  • Indigestion

    Indigestion (dyspepsia) is a pain or burning feeling in your upper belly or abdomen. It is common in adults.

  • Inguinal Hernia

    An inguinal hernia is when part of your intestine pushes through a weak spot in your lower belly (abdominal) wall. This area is called the groin. The hernia creates a lump in your groin. Over time, the hernia may get bigger.

  • Lactose Intolerance

    Lactose intolerance is when your body can’t break down or digest lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose intolerance happens when your small intestine does not make enough of a digestive enzyme called lactase. Lactase is needed to break down the lactose in food so it can be absorbed by your body.

  • Medicines and the Digestive System

    Medicines taken by mouth can affect the digestive system in a number of different ways. Both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, while usually safe and effective, may create harmful effects in some people.

  • Online Resources - Digestive Disorders

    List of online resources to find additional information on digestive disorders

  • Peritonitis

    Peritonitis is a redness and swelling (inflammation) of the tissue that lines your belly or abdomen. This tissue is called the peritoneum.

  • Topic Index - Digestive Disorders

    Detailed information on digestive disorders, including anatomy of the digestive system, digestive disorders diagnosis, digestive disorders medications, colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, and stomach cancer

  • Peptic Ulcers

    A peptic ulcer is a sore on the lining of your stomach or the first part of your small intestine (duodenum).

  • Viral Hepatitis Overview

    Detailed information on the different types of hepatitis, including viral hepatitis, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C

  • Intra-Abdominal Abscess

    An intra-abdominal abscess is a collection of pus or infected fluid that is surrounded by inflamed tissue inside the belly.

  • Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome

    Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES) is a rare digestive disorder. If you have ZES, you likely have one or more tumors in the first part of the small intestine, the pancreas, or both. These tumors release the hormone gastrin. This causes the stomach to release too much acid and can cause painful ulcers.

  • Pancreas Transplantation

    Pancreas transplantation is a type of surgery in which you receive a healthy donor pancreas. It is a choice for some people with type 1 diabetes.

  • Acute Pancreatitis

    Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It can be caused by gallstones, alcohol consumption, and certain medications, among other causes.

  • Annular Pancreas

    The term annular pancreas means that a ring of excess pancreatic tissue encases the first part of your small intestine. Your pancreas can still function with this irregularity, but the excess tissue can cause a number of symptoms. It can also disrupt your digestive process and other bodily functions.

  • Chronic Pancreatitis

    Pancreatitis is an inflamed, swollen and irritated. If you don't recover from an acute pancreatitis attack, the inflammation gets gradually worse, you have chronic pancreatitis.

  • Gallstone Pancreatitis

    Pancreatitis is a disease that causes inflammation and pain in your pancreas, the small organ that produces fluids and enzymes to break down food. This is part of the digestive process. When a gallstone blocking your pancreatic duct causes pancreatitis, it’s known as gallstone pancreatitis.

  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis

    When you think of allergic reactions, you probably envision itchy eyes and a runny nose. But an allergic reaction can happen in the esophagus—your food pipe—as well.

  • Infectious Esophagitis

    Infectious esophagitis is swelling and irritation of your esophagus, triggered by an infection.

  • Esophagitis

    Esophagitis is the irritation and inflammation of the lining of your esophagus, or food pipe. Because the lining of the esophagus is sensitive, many things can cause swelling and irritation.

  • Coping with Swallowing Difficulties

    Swallowing difficulties can happen for reasons ranging from dehydration to illness. Most cases are short-lived, but sometimes you might need medical treatment or special home care.

  • Anal Fistula

    An anal fistula is an abnormal opening in the skin near the anus that leads to the inside of the anal canal in the colon.

  • Anal Fissures

    An anal fissure is a small, painful tear in the lining of the anus. Anal fissures may hurt and bleed during or after a bowel movement, but about 90% heal without surgery.

  • Anorectal Abscess

    An anorectal abscess is a collection of pus under the skin in the area of the anus and rectum.

  • Rectal Prolapse

    If the rectum drops out of its normal place within the body and pushes out of the anal opening, the condition is called rectal prolapse.

  • Smoking and the Digestive System

    Smoking can harm your digestive system in many ways. It weakens the sphincter and allows stomach acid to flow backward into your esophagus.

  • Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

    Fatty liver disease means that you have fat deposits inside your liver. These deposits may keep your liver from doing a good job of removing toxins from your blood.

  • Portal Hypertension

    Portal hypertension is high blood pressure of the portal vein, which is in your abdomen. It collects nutrient-rich blood from your intestines and carries it to the liver for cleaning.

  • Toxic Megacolon

    A toxic megacolon is a rare yet life-threatening complication of severe colon disease or infection. It is diagnosed when your colon has expanded by more than five to six centimeters.

  • Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

    Your bile and pancreative juices flow through a duct that is opened and closed by a valve called the sphincter of Oddi. If this valve goes into spasm, you end up with severe belly pain.

  • Dietary Changes for Celiac Disease

    Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that damages your small intestine and keeps it from absorbing the nutrients in food. A protein found in wheat, barley, and rye called gluten is what causes the damage to the intestinal tract.

  • What Is a Gluten-Free Diet?

    Many people are reducing or eliminating their dietary intake of gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and some other grains. But only those who have celiac disease need to completely stop eating gluten.

  • Eating Well for Digestive Health

    If you're like most people, you may have gas, constipation, or heartburn every now and then.

  • Bacterial Gastroenteritis

    Gastroenteritis is inflammation in the digestive tract, including the stomach and the small and large intestines. A virus, bacteria, or parasites can cause gastroenteritis. When it's caused by a type of bacterium, it’s known as bacterial gastroenteritis.

  • The Digestive Process: Digestion Begins in the Mouth

    Digestion is a multistep process that begins the moment you place a piece of food in your mouth or sip some juice.

  • Health Care Providers in Digestive Health

    The right specialist or health care team can help you manage chronic digestive conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn's disease.

  • The Digestive Process: How Does the Esophagus Work?

    Your esophagus, about 10 inches long, has one main purpose in life: to move food from your throat to your stomach.

  • Fecal Incontinence

    Fecal incontinence means that you are not able to hold your feces, or stool, within your rectum until you get to a toilet. There are many reasons for fecal incontinence, such as a case of diarrhea that strikes suddenly, or there are damaged muscles or nerves within your rectum.

  • The Digestive Process: How Does the Gallbladder Aid in Digestion?

    Despite its size - only 3 to 4 inches long and 1 inch across - the gallbladder is critical to digesting your food and absorbing energy from it.

  • Understanding an Intestinal Obstruction

    If your doctor determines that you have an intestinal obstruction, it means that something is blocking your intestine. Food and stool may not be able to move freely.

  • The Digestive Process: The Large Intestine

    The large intestine is one of the many important parts of your digestive tract. This is a series of organs that begins with your mouth and ends with your anus, the opening of your rectum.

  • Mallory-Weiss Tear

    Your esophagus is the tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach. It plays a vital role in digestion. Sometimes, violent coughing or vomiting can tear the tissue of your lower esophagus and it can start to bleed. The condition is called a Mallory-Weiss tear.

  • The Digestive Process: The Liver and its Many Functions

    The liver is the largest organ in your body. At about 3 pounds and about the size of a football, it performs many functions essential for good health and a long life.

  • The Digestive Process: What Is the Role of Your Pancreas in Digestion?

    Your pancreas plays a significant role in digestion. It is located inside your abdomen, just behind your stomach, and it is about the size of your hand.

  • The Digestive Process: What Does the Small Intestine Do?

    At 20 feet long, your small intestine is the longest part of the human digestive system. Most of the digestive process takes place there.

  • The Digestive Process: How Is Food Digested in the Stomach?

    Few activities in life seem as natural as eating and drinking — we do them every day without giving them much thought. Yet, what happens inside your body after you eat is an interesting and complex process.

  • Viral Gastroenteritis

    Viral gastroenteritis is a viral infection of your gastrointestinal tract. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting and other symptoms. In most otherwise healthy adults, it usually runs its course in a few days. The biggest risk is dehydration.

  • Achalasia

    Achalasia is a disease that makes it hard to eat and drink normally. It affects your esophagus, which is the swallowing tube that connects the back of your throat to your stomach.

  • Alagille Syndrome

    Alagille syndrome is an inherited condition in which bile builds up in the liver because there are too few bile ducts to drain the bile. This results in liver damage.

  • Bernstein Test

    The Bernstein test (esophageal acid perfusion test) is used to see if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

  • Mesenteric Ischemia

    Mesenteric ischemia is decreased or blocked blood flow to your intestine.

  • Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC)

    Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a rare disease that attacks the bile ducts. The word sclerosing means scarring. In PSC, your bile ducts become scarred and gradually narrow until bile backs up into your liver and starts to damage it.

  • Insulinoma

    Tumors on your pancreas, called insulinomas, make extra insulin, more than your body can use. This causes blood sugar levels to drop too low. This can cause symptoms of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.

  • Ascites

    Ascites is a condition in which fluid collects in spaces within your abdomen. They can be painful and keep you from moving around comfortably. Ascites can set the stage for an infection in your abdomen. Fluid may also move into your chest and surround your lungs. This makes it hard to breathe.

  • Ampullary Cancer

    Ampullary cancer, or ampullary carcinoma, is a life-threatening cancer that forms in a body part called the ampulla of Vater in the duodenum, where the pancreatic and bile ducts release their secretions into the intestines.