The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the system our body uses to ingest, breakdown and utilize food in order to feed the body and support energy needs.
The GI tract is a complex system of organs that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. It is a processing plant for food that depends upon the proper function of the entire system.
Here are a few facts to understand the GI system:
There are two basic forms of GI disorders, functional and structural. Functional disorders are those in which the intestines look normal but do not function properly: constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. Structural disorders are those in which the intestines look abnormal and they do not function properly: hemorrhoids, anal fissures or diverticular disease.
The various GI disorders can affect different patient populations. There are several disorders that are more prevalent in some populations than in others.
The vast number of commonly treated GI disorders range from simple heartburn to colorectal cancer or pancreatitis. Preventive screening for colorectal cancer with a colonoscopy is critical, as coordinated with the primary care physician. Diagnosing and treating acute onset and persistent GI symptoms early is important to overall health and wellness.