Also called: Gastrointestinal diseases
When you eat, your body breaks food down to a form it can use to build and nourish cells and provide energy. This process is called digestion.
Your digestive system is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube. It runs from your mouth to your anus and includes your esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines. Your liver, gallbladder and pancreas are also involved. They produce juices to help digestion.
There are many types of digestive disorders. The symptoms vary widely depending on the problem. In general, you should see your doctor if you have
- Blood in your stool
- Changes in bowel habits
- Severe abdominal pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Heartburn not relieved by antacids
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by your body’s immune system.
In adults, the foods that most often trigger allergic reactions include fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts, such as walnuts. Problem foods for children can include eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat.
The allergic reaction may be mild. In rare cases it can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. Symptoms of food allergy include
- Itching or swelling in your mouth
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps and pain
- Hives or eczema
- Tightening of the throat and trouble breathing
- Drop in blood pressure
Your health care provider may use a detailed history, elimination diet, and skin and blood tests to diagnose a food allergy.
When you have food allergies, you must be prepared to treat an accidental exposure. Wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace, and carry an auto-injector device containing epinephrine (adrenaline).
You can only prevent the symptoms of food allergy by avoiding the food. After you and your health care provider have identified the foods to which you are sensitive, you must remove them from your diet.
NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases