Gastrointestinal Generic Drugs F.A.Q.
What is gastrointestinal tract?
It is a digestive system. It performs food processing through the physical and chemical impacts, ensures the uptake of consumed foodstuffs by the blood and lymph, and performs the elimination of the residues.
It consists of the organs of the primary gastrointestinal tract and auxiliary organs such as liver, pancreas, gall bladder, etc.
The average length of the digestive tract in adults is around 9-10 meters. It consists of:
– Small intestine.
What are the diseases of the gastrointestinal tract?
Digestive tract diseases are very frequent. For instance, stomach ulcer affects around 7% of the world population.
The diseases are usually directly related to what and how a person eats. The regularity of eating, the balance of nutrients in the diet, the very nature of the meal and much more - all this can both prevent the diseases or cause of their occurrence.
Digestive diseases are quite common in modern people who don’t have time to cook and eat healthy food. The negative habits such as eating “on the go”, junk food consumption, irregular diet, overeating, and alcohol consumption.
All this can trigger the frequent digestive tract diseases:
– Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach. It is the most frequent result of poor diet and eating habits. The manifestations include nausea, heartburn, and heaviness, weakness, and drowsiness after eating, irritability, and bowel disorder symptoms.
– Stomach and duodenum ulcer. The impact of spicy, fatty foods, smoked meats, salted foods, alcohol and a number of medicinal formulations can lead to a mucosal defect. Localization depends on where and how pain manifests itself: pain after eating means a stomach ulcer, pain on an empty stomach - a duodenal ulcer.
– Dyspepsia of the stomach is the impairment of its motility. It appears in those who do not give themselves time to chew food thoroughly, and also eat too large portions and include in their diet big amounts of fatty proteins. Heartburn, burping, nausea, bloating and pain in the belly are the major frequent manifestations.
Other diseases include:
– Stomatitis is the inflammation of the oral cavity. The symptoms are edematous, painful, hyperemic mucosa of the mouth; it can be coated with a white or yellow patina. Hypersalivation is noted (increased salivation). There may be bleeding gums and bad breath.
– Esophagitis a disease of the esophagus distinguished by the inflammation. Causes of esophagitis include gastroesophageal reflux, infections, a chemical burn, physical damage due to radiation therapy or after invasive examination,
– Gastroesophageal reflux is a chronic recurrent disease distinguished by a spontaneous, regularly repeated injection of gastric and/or duodenal insides into the esophagus resulting in its irritation. It can develop due to lifestyle factors such as including stress, work related to the inclined body position, obesity, pregnancy, smoking, nutrition factors (fats chocolate, coffee, fruit juices, alcohol, spicy foods), and the use of increasing peripheral dopamine concentration medicines.
– Chronic duodenitis is the disease of the duodenum. It is promoted by an irregular diet with the frequent consumption of spicy, irritating, and hot meals. It can also appear in gastritis, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer, pancreatitis, giardiasis, and allergy to food. The major factor is Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
– Chronic enteritis is an inflammation of the small intestine. Chronic enteritis can be the result of poor nutrition (systematic eating disorders, abuse of spicy food, strong alcoholic drinks, etc.), helminth infections, giardiasis, chronic intoxication with some industrial poisons (for example, lead compounds), prolonged uncontrolled use of medicines (for example, saline laxatives, antibiotics), certain genetic diseases distinguished by impaired production of some enzymes, and so on. Atrophy of the mucosa slowly develops, release of intestinal enzymes diminishes, and uptake is disturbed. Individuals who have it are worried about rumbling in the intestines, dull pain in the belly, nausea, weakness, and diarrhea. Due to intestinal absorption problems, various eating disorders can occur. Detection of enteritis is made by studies of feces, abdominal and parietal digestion, and others.
– A chronic colitis is an inflammatory condition of the lining of the colon. Chronic colitis is considered as the extension of the symptoms of acute colitis, with occasional exacerbations.
– Proctitis is an inflammation of the rectum and sigmoid colon. It is a result of untreated acute disease or has a specific nature - tuberculosis, syphilitic, gonorrheal, due to helminthic invasion or another. It is clinically manifested by recurrent feelings of discomfort in the rectum, a feeling of incomplete emptying, periodic exacerbations, accompanied by an increase in stool with a mucus and sometimes blood, painful impulses to defecate. Chronic inflammatory processes can lead to the development of ulcers on the inner lining of the intestine, the formation of fistulas.
– Cholelithiasis or gallstone disease is the formation of stones in the gallbladder. The triggers for its development include pregnancy, hormonal drugs use, a sharp decrease in body weight.
– Pancreatitis is a group of diseases in which an inflammation of the pancreas occurs. In its occurrence, the enzymes made by the gland are not passing to the duodenum, but are activated in the gland itself and begin to destroy it (self-digestion). Enzymes and toxins that are released in this process are often released into the blood and can seriously damage other organs (brain, lungs, heart, liver, and others). The main triggers for the condition are the over-consumption of alcohol and complications of cholestasis.
Additionally, digestive tract organs can be also affected by cancer.
What are the risk factors of digestive tract disease development?
There are unchangeable and changeable risk factors for the development of the disease.
The unchangeable include:
– Age. The risk of ulcer of the stomach and duodenum is increased in men aged 20-40. The risk of digestive tract cancer is higher in men over 50. In men, age over 40 is related to the increased risk of gallstone disease.
– Sex. Stomach cancer is two times more frequent in men. Women develop gallstone disease 3-5 times more frequently than men.
– Genetic predisposition. If your parents or other closest blood relatives had a peptic ulcer or stomach and colon cancer in the past, then in your case the risk of developing the corresponding diseases increases.
The changeable factors are:
– Excess body mass. It can greatly contribute to diseases such as pancreatitis, gallbladder cancer, and gallstone disease. The risk is elevated even with a slight excess of the normal value of body mass index.
– Alcohol abuse. It doubles the risk of ulcer and digestive tract cancer developing. Alcoholism is also a direct path to pancreatitis, hepatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver. In general, alcohol has a devastating effect on the entire digestive system and is a catalyst for all associated diseases.
– Smoking. It is definitely one of the decisive factors in the onset of gastric ulcers. With an existing peptic ulcer, the treatment does not give significant results if the person continues to smoke.
– Improper nutrition. The abundance in the diet of fat and fried meals, red meat, fast food, an excess of carbohydrates (especially simple), smoked and salted meat and fish, marinades, preservatives - all this greatly elevates the risk of stomach cancer and other diseases of the digestive system onset.
– Dietary disturbance. Lack of breakfast, long breaks (more than 4 - 5 hours) between meals, eating before bedtime, drinking soda on an empty stomach and other eating disorders promote the appearance of all types of digestive dysfunctions, from relatively harmless gastritis to stomach cancer.
– Stress. In the body experiencing stress or nervous tension, there is a spasm of capillaries - in this case, the capillaries of the stomach. This prevents the secretion of mucus that protects the mucous membrane. Gastric juice eats away the walls of the stomach, which leads to ulcers development. Besides, stress causes an imbalance of intestinal flora, and therefore dysbiosis.
– Diabetes. A half of individuals with diabetes mellitus develop various diseases of the digestive system. The most characteristic for patients with diabetes are diseases such as chronic gastritis, colitis, hypersecretion with high acidity, and dysbiosis. Diabetic enteropathy, diabetic hepatopathy, and diabetic neurogenic gall bladder are specific for patients with diabetes mellitus.
– Abuse of coffee and soda. Coffee contains acids, which can cause heartburn and irritation of the stomach. Carbonated drinks also irritate the stomach walls.
– Low physical activity. The lack of movement, and consequently, the lack of tonus complicates the body’s task of dealing with negative factors. This also applies to immunity, and specific problems - for example, weakness of the muscles of the abdominal wall.
– Binge eating. When eating too much food, the stomach is not able to produce enough gastric juice, so food is processed and digested incompletely. This leads to problems, and then diseases of the digestive system.
How to prevent digestive tract diseases?
– Eat frequently in small servings.
– Wash your hands and products that are not thermally processed thoroughly.
– Minimize the consumption of fatty, smoked, fried, salted, pastry, soda.
– Increase the portion of fiber (cereals, bran bread, vegetables, fruits), eat as many fresh salads, coarse-fiber foods, salt food moderately, try to use less vinegar and similar ingredients when cooking.
– Do not overeat. The standard dosages for men are 400 ml and 300 ml for women.
– Control your weight. If you are overweight, lose weight correctly weight - no more than 0.5 (for women) and 1 (for men) kg per week in order not to cause even greater harm to the digestive system.
– Cease alcohol use or at least minimize its consumption. The maximum daily dosage of ethanol for women is 20 ml and 30 ml for men.
– Quit smoking.
– Learn to control stress. Move more, walk, sleep enough time, learn how to meditate, and so on.
– If you have diabetes, control your disease. Follow all recommendations of your doctor. In the occurrence of any painful sensations in the digestive tract organs, make sure to consult your doctor immediately.
– Limit the consumption of coffee and carbohydrate drinks. The norm of coffee consumption is 300-400 mg a day or around 2-3 coffee cups a day.
– Move more. The norm of physical activity for an adult is 150 minutes a week. If you do physical exercising including walking for less than this time, try to increase your activity levels.
What are the symptoms of gastrointestinal tract diseases?
The symptoms of different diseases can differ but some of them occur in most cases and are quite similar:
– Nausea and vomiting;
– Constipation or diarrhea;
– Unpleasant smell from the mouth;
– White tongue;
– Pain in the upper abdomen, pain in the left or right side of the abdomen;
– General weakness;
– Lack of appetite;
– Heaviness in the stomach;
Other symptoms include yellowing of the skin (bile stasis, hepatitis), vomiting with blood, acute pains in the left side of the abdomen, fever (in pancreatitis).
How are digestive tract diseases diagnosed?
Not to let an aggravation of your chronic condition happen, it is recommended to get checked once a year.
– The diagnosis methods for stomach and esophagus include gastroenteroscopy with analysis for Helicobacter pylori, blood tests.
– Tests for pancreas, bile ducts, liver, and gallbladder include ultrasound, blood tests, patient survey.
– Intestinal diseases are tested with blood tests and colonoscopy (in people over 50 it is especially recommended to do this test once a year or two years).
– For the diagnosis of proneness to the digestive tract diseases, cholesterol in the blood should be measured once every five years or more often if a doctor tells you so.
How are digestive tract diseases treated?
A major part in the treatment of all digestive tract diseases plays diet. It is different for different groups of diseases. For instance, for gastritis with increased acid production, stomach ulcer and duodenum, gastroesophageal reflux disease there is a certain diet that includes foodstuffs that do not trigger the production of the gastric acid. Besides, it includes mashed meals so that the walls of the stomach do not get irritated and hurt. But for the treatment of gastritis with lowered content of gastric juice, on the contrary, a diet with foods that enhance the production of the gastric juice are used.
The medicines used for digestive diseases include:
– Adsorbents. Used for acute food poisoning, poisoning with various poisons, drugs and narcotics, alcohol and food overload, withdrawal syndrome
– Antacids are used to lower the acidity of the stomach in gastritis, stomach ulcer, and others.
– Carminatives are used to reduce the formation of gases in the gastrointestinal tract and help their removal during flatulence.
– Gastroprotectors are used to protect the ulcer of the stomach and duodenum from the irritation by food.
– Hepatoprotectors are used to protect the liver and facilitate its functioning.
– Choleretic drugs and bile formulations are used for treating diseases of the hepatobiliary system (bile stasis, gallstones).
– H2 antihistamines are appointed for the therapy of acid-related diseases of the gastrointestinal system. They reduce the amount of gastric acid by blocking the histamine H2 receptors in the gastric mucosa.
– Proton pump inhibitors are the medicines intended for the treatment of acid-related diseases of the stomach. They act by diminishing the production of gastric acid by blocking the proton pump in the parietal cells of the gastric mucosa. (Examples of such medicines – Esomeprazole by Astra Zeneca)
– Antidiarrheal drugs are used to stop diarrhea. Example - Imodium (Loperamide) by GlaxoSmithKline.
– Antiemetics are anti-vomiting medications used for nausea and vomiting reduction in GI diseases. Example - Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate).
– Prokinetics are the medicines that stimulate the motility of the stomach. They are used in stomach ulcer, pains in the abdomen, and other diseases.
– Appetite regulators. This includes both medicines that improve appetite or on the contrary suppress it depending on the needs for the treatment of a particular disease.
– Laxatives are used in constipation.
– Means normalizing the intestinal flora are medicines with favorable bacteria that are needed in intestinal dysbiosis.
If you have any disorders of the digestive tract, you should get tested and use only the formulations that your healthcare provider prescribes. It is important to get your diagnosis figured as certain diseases can have similar or even the same symptoms but require absolutely different therapies.