You may have achalasia if it is challenging for liquid and food to pass through your esophagus into your stomach. In achalasia, your esophagus muscles do not work properly, making it more difficult for food to pass into the stomach, which runs the risk of food becoming lodged in the esophagus.
Possible symptoms include:
- Dysphagia—feeling solid food or liquids getting stuck in the throat or chest
- Regurgitation—spitting up after drinking/eating
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
Frequent heartburn is often caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). With GERD, the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus.
Learn more about acid reflux treatment options
Anemia happens when your body does not produce enough healthy red blood cells needed to carry the appropriate amount of oxygen throughout the body. Types of anemia vary and symptoms can be temporary or long-term.
Common symptoms of anemia are:
- Excessive tiredness
- Yellowish or pale skin
- Irregularity in heartbeats
- Shortness of breath
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Cold feet and hands
- Chest pain
Barrett’s esophagus is typically associated with those patients that have been diagnosed with GERD. Barrett's esophagus replaces the tissue lining of the esophagus with softer tissues similar to what is found in the intestines.
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Bile duct stones
Bile duct stones can be a complication of gallstones. Gallstones are small masses that can form inside the gallbladder. The bile duct passes bile from the liver and gallbladder through to the intestine. Occasionally, the gallstones that are formed in the gallbladder and travel to the bile duct and become lodged, causing significant symptoms for the patient.
Common symptoms of bile duct stones include:
- Abdominal pain in the middle-upper or right-upper abdomen
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Light-colored stools
Cirrhosis is often irreversible scarring of the liver. This is usually the result of various problems that damage liver cells over time. Eventually, the damage becomes so severe that the normal structure of the liver is changed and it stops functioning correctly.
Learn more about cirrhosis treatment options
Colon and rectal cancer occurs when the cells in either the colon or rectum start to grow out of control. It usually begins as a polyp or growth of tissue. It is the third most common form of cancer for both men and women.
Learn more about colon and rectal cancer treatment options
Colon polyps are small growths that occur in the rectum and lining of the colon. Having a polyp does not mean you have cancer, however, colon cancer most often does begin with polyps. The American Cancer Society recommends colon cancer screenings begin at age 45 for those with no family history.
Risk factors for colon cancer include:
- Being older than 50
- Having a family history of polyps or colorectal cancer
- Having inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease
- Being overweight or obese
- Smoking cigarettes
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is a chronic condition that may recur at various times over a lifetime. It usually involves the small intestine, and in some cases, both the small and large intestines are affected. Sometimes, inflammation may also affect the entire digestive tract, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, duodenum, appendix or anus.
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Diverticular disease, also called diverticulosis, is an infection in the tiny pouches that some people get in their colon. The pouches are called diverticula and can sometimes bulge out through weak spots in your colon. The pouches can become inflamed (red, swollen) or infected. Diverticulitis is when these tiny pouches in the colon get infected. About half of all Americans over age 60 will have diverticulosis.
Learn more about diverticulitis treatment options
Dysphagia is a medical condition where an individual has difficulty swallowing or passing food down the esophagus into the stomach. With this condition, it takes more effort and time to move liquid or solid food from the mouth to the stomach. In some cases, patients may have pain with swallowing or may find it difficult to pass any food down.
Nearly everyone has occasional trouble with swallowing, especially when food is not chewed correctly, or you eat a meal too fast. This is not a concern, in itself. However, if the dysphagia persists, it is best to seek medical help to get a diagnosis and treatment. While dysphagia can occur at any age, it is more common in older adults.
Esophageal cancer is when the cells in any part of the esophagus begin to abnormally grow at a fast rate. There are two types of esophageal cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.
Learn more about esophageal cancer treatment options
Fistulas can form when inflammation leads to sore or ulcers that form on the walls of the intestines. Fistulas can form in a variety of different organs and require removal. Symptoms of fistulas can include:
- Urinary tract infections
- Cloudy urine or blood in the urine
The gallbladder is a small organ under your liver that stores bile made by the liver. Gallstones are lumps of solid material that form in your gallbladder, made when the digestive juice called bile gets hard and stone-like. In some cases, gallstones block the tubes that carry bile, which can lead to a life-threatening infection of the bile ducts, pancreas or liver.
Learn more about gallstone treatment options
Stomach cancer is usually caused by the mucus-producing cells that line the stomach and be caused by acid reflux, smoking or obesity.
Risk factors for stomach cancer can include:
- A diet high in salty or fatty foods
- A family history of stomach cancer
- Long-term stomach inflammation
Gastroparesis delays the emptying of the contents of the stomach into the intestines that can cause prolonged retention of acid, liquids and food content in the stomach. Common symptoms of Gastroparesis can be vomiting, abdominal bloating, fullness, acid reflux/heartburn, weight loss and a lack of appetite. A new endoscopic procedure called G-POEM can help to treat the symptoms of Gastroparesis and improve patient's quality of life.
GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Typically, GERD is where abnormal amounts of acid refluxed back from the stomach into the esophagus, leading to symptoms such as heartburn. One in five Americans claims to experience some type of acid reflux or GERD symptoms.
GERD can lead to symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, feeling like you have a lump stuck in your throat or chest, burping, regurgitated food and upper stomach pain. These symptoms are usually experienced after eating or a night time when laying flat.
Without proper treatment, complications can arise from the prolonged stomach acid, including damage to the esophagus or the development of scar tissue which can lead to an esophageal ulcer or the development of esophageal cancer.
Learn more about GERD treatment options
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that results in liver cell damage and destruction. There are several different types of hepatitis, but the two most common are B and C.
Learn more about treatment hepatitis options
Hepatobiliary cancers can include cancers of the liver, bile duct or gallbladder.
Learn more about hepatobiliary cancer treatment options
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an intestinal disorder that causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating and changes in bowel habits. Because an organic cause has not been found, IBS often has been thought to be caused by emotional conflict or stress. While stress may worsen IBS symptoms, research suggests that other factors also are important.
Learn more about IBS treatment options
Cysts are the build up of fluid in the pancreas that can lead to cancer. To evaluate the severity, the physician can take fluid samples from the cyst to determine the best course of treatment.
Pancreatic cancer and pancreas tumors
Pancreatic cancer affects the abdominal organ that helps to aid digestion and provides the hormones that helps to manage blood sugar. Typically, it is not detected until the later stages of the disease.
Pancreatic cancer symptoms can include:
- Upper abdomen pain radiating to the back
- Unintended weight loss or loss of appetite
- New onset diabetes
- Blood clots
- Yellowing eyes or skin
Pancreatitis happens when the pancreas, an abdominal organ that helps to aid digestion and provides the hormones that help to manage blood sugar, becomes inflamed. Typically the result of pancreatitis is when the digestive enzymes become activated while they are still in the pancreas.
Signs and symptoms of pancreatitis can include:
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Abdominal pain radiating into the back
- Worse abdominal pain after eating
- Rapid pulse
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tenderness of the abdomen
Learn more about pancreatitis treatment options
There are some certain diseases and conditions that can lead to swallowing disorders:
- Acid reflux and tumors that reduce the esophageal passageway
- ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis
- Stroke that damages digestive muscle function
- Achalasia, the loss of the ability of the esophagus to move food to the stomach and problems with the muscular valve between them failing to fully relax
Learn more about swallowing disorder treatment options
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which the inner lining of the large intestine (colon or bowel) and rectum become inflamed. Inflammation usually begins in the rectum and lower intestine and spreads upward to the entire colon. Ulcerative colitis rarely affects the small intestine, except for the lower section.
Learn more about ulcerative colitis treatment options
There are two common ulcers found in the digestive system: peptic ulcers and esophageal ulcer. An esophageal ulcer is an open sore in the lining of the esophagus. A peptic ulcer is a sore on the lining of your stomach or the first part of your small intestine.
Learn more about treatment options for ulcers