5 Common Digestive Diseases
May 8, 2023
“All disease begins in the gut,” according to the father of modern medicine – Hippocrates II, nearly 2500 years ago.
Though the idea may not be accurate, a distressed digestive system is linked to poor general health. Digestive diseases were ranked as the 7th principal cause of hospitalization in Malaysia’s public and private hospitals in 2021, accounting for more than 185,000 admissions. So let’s take a closer look into Malaysia’s 5 common digestive diseases.
Disease 1: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
IBD is a term that describes disorders involving long-standing inflammation of tissues in your digestive tract. Types of IBD include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Common signs and symptoms of IBD are diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, fatigue, and weight loss.
Disease 2: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a common disorder that affects the stomach and intestines. There are 4 types of IBS, categorized based on symptoms, e.g., constipation-predominant (IBS-C), diarrhea-predominant (IBS-D), mixed (IBS-mixed), or unclassified (IBS-U). Typical symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both.
Disease 3: Diarrhea
Diarrhea is the passage of 3 or more loose or liquid stools per day or more frequently than is normal for the individual. During an episode of diarrhea, water, and electrolytes, including sodium, chloride, potassium, and bicarbonate, are lost through liquid stools, vomit, sweat, urine, and breathing. A person with diarrhea becomes dehydrated when these losses are not replaced.
Disease 4: Constipation
Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. It occurs when waste or stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract or cannot be eliminated effectively from the rectum, which may cause the stool to become hard and dry.
Disease 5: Bloating
Bloating can be characterized as the feeling of having an inflated balloon in the abdomen. It is sometimes associated with distension or the visible increase in the width of the area between the hips and chest. In addition, the symptoms may be linked with other gas-related complaints, such as burping or belching, swallowing air, and passing intestinal gas.
- Infografik Statistik Kesihatan 2021 https://www.moh.gov.my/index.php/pages/view/6148?mid=1624
- Malaysia: Probiotics Education Programme by the Nutrition Society of Malaysia https://www.nutriweb.org.my/probiotics/content/pdf/news-eng-1.pdf
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/inflammatory-bowel-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353315
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360016
- Diarrhoea https://www.who.int/health-topics/diarrhoea#tab=tab_1
- Constipation https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation/symptoms-causes/syc-20354253
- Understanding Bloating and Distension https://iffgd.org/gi-disorders/symptoms-causes/bloating-and-distension/