Top 5 digestive disorders and their symptoms

As a Nutritionist I’ve always been fascinated by GUT health and the way our digestive system works. I do believe that all disease begins in the GUT.

At least 70% of our Immune system is housed in the GUT (Gastrointestinal Tract).

In order to our Immune System be able to work properly our Digestive System (from mouth to anus) has to function properly and vice versa.


When we are in our mom’s womb as an embryo, our GUT and our brain developes from the same tissue with millions of nerves and neurons connection. The GUT and the brain communicates with each othe via the vagus nerve. That is why our GUT often referred as our second brain.

Therefore any GUT related issue effects the brain.

  1. IBS

IBS is the most common gastrointestinal diagnosis in the world, affecting nearly 20% of the global population.

IBS sufferers are twice as likely to be female.


Commone IBS symptoms are:

-stomach pain or cramps before or after bowel movement.


-diarrhoea, constipation or both


Other symptoms of IBS may include:

mucus in the stool

-incomplete bowel movements

-bowel incontinence



-lack of energy

-urgent urination

-bladder incontinence



IBS is a chronic condition affects the large intestine.

The exact cause of IBS isn’t known, but there are over 40 underlying conditions that could be the root cause of IBS including yeast overgrowth, parasitic infection, large intestine overgrowth or infection, H. pylori infection, celiac disease, non-celiac gluten intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease, food intolerances, histamine intolerance, diabetes, hypo or hyperthyroidism and so on.


Symptoms of IBS can be triggered by:

Certain foods or beverages, including wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, fermented food, milk and carbonated drinks.

-Stress. Most people with IBS experience worse or more-frequent signs and symptoms during periods of increased stress. But while stress may aggravate symptoms, it doesn’t cause them.




  1. Ulcerative colitis


Is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that  causes irritation, inflammation, and ulcers in the lining of your large intestine/colon.

Is’s a chronic, uncureable but managable condition.

Ulcerative colitis can occur in people of any age, but it usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30, and less frequently between 50 and 70 years of age. It affects men and women equally and appears to run in families

Ulcerative colitis symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • diarrhea, often with blood or pus
  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • rectal pain
  • rectal bleeding — passing small amount of blood with stool
  • urgency to defecate
  • inability to defecate despite urgency
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • in children, failure to grow
  • abdominal pain
  • Ongoing diarrhea that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medications
  • diarrhea that awakens you from sleep
  • an unexplained fever lasting more than a day or two
  • malnutrition
  • increased abdominal sounds

UC may cause additional symptoms, such as:

  • joint pain
  • joint swelling
  • arthritis
  • osteoporosis
  • liver disease
  • nausea and decreased appetite
  • skin problems
  • mouth sores
  • eye inflammation

Ulcerative colitis diagnosed via blood test, stool sample, CT/MRI scan, Colonoscopy

Factors that may play a role in who develops UC include genes, immune disorders, dietery and environmental factors such as bacteria and viruses.

Ulcerative colitis symptoms often get worse over time.  Symptoms may be constant or may come and go.

The goal with therapy is to remain in remission as long as possible by following the right diet and lifestyle.



  1. Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease causing chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.

The exact cause is unknown, but several factors are related to Crohn’s disease including genetics, underlying conditions, food allergies and intolerances, gut bacteria population and environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle.

Crohn’s disease is more common in western or westernised countries probably due to the high consumption of Carbohydrate and low consumption of fruits and vegetables as well as smoking, higher alcohol and Oral Contraception Pill use.

Crohn’s affects the whole digestive system causing inflammation anywhere from the mouth to the anus, but mainly at the end of the small bowel.

The most common symptoms are

  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain
  • tiredness, weight loss
  • joints pain


But it can be anything form

  • mouth ulcer
  • bloating
  • vomiting

To blood and mucus in the stool.

Diagnosis of Crohn’s are based on the patient’s symptoms.

Most commonly diagnosed via Colonoscopy, MRI, stool and blood test.

Treatment options include medications,supplements to reduce inflammation or surgery to remove part of the digestive system.

There is no cure for Crohn’s. Its effects people differently causing flare ups and remission.

Remission can be maintained by diet and lifestyle changes.


5. GERD Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder affecting mainly the lining of the esophagus, the stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter.

Occurs when the valve , called the lower esophageal sphincter at the end of your esophagus doesn’t close properly allowing acid to flow back from the stomach into the tube connecting your mouth causing burning sensation, and irritation in the lining of the esophagus.

The most common symptoms are

·         heartburn

·         regurgitation

·         a sensation that food is stuck in the oesophagus

·         stomach pain

·         abdominal bloating/gas

·         acidity

·         excessive burping

·         nausea

·         trouble swallowing

·         asthma

·         sore throat

·         excessive nighg cough/dry cough

·         sudden increase of saliva and bed breath

·         ear aches

GERD can be develope at any age, but its more commone among overweight people, pregnanat women, smokers and those who suffering from hiatal hernia or taking certain medications for asthma, high blood pressure and allergies; as well as painkillers, sedatives and anti-depressants.

GERD can be diagnosed by X-Ray, Endoscopy and Biopsy, Esophageal pH level monitoring

GERD left untreated for long term can lead to more serious health problems such as inflammations, ulcers or even cancer.

GERD can be maintained by reducing certain oesophageal sphincter pressure factors, diet and Lifestyle changes.

As a Nutritionist I always choose and advise the natural healing path by following the right diet and lifestyle.




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