What Is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly and stomach contents splash back, or reflux, into the esophagus (the esophagus is the tube which carries food from the mouth to the stomach). The LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a camera shutter between the esophagus and stomach, keeping the stomach contents from coming back up.
What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a chronic or recurrent gastrointestinal condition characterized by abdominal pain, discomfort and altered bowel habits, i.e., diarrhea and/or constipation. It is considered a “functional” bowel disorder which refers to the fact that these conditions cannot (yet) be reliably diagnosed by blood tests, abdominal imaging studies, tissue samples, or other routine tests; that is, they cannot be easily explained by anatomic or structural abnormalities.
What Is Chronic Constipation?
Chronic constipation is a common condition that is characterized by difficult, infrequent, or perceived incomplete evacuation of bowel movements. Symptoms of constipation include having less than 3 bowel movements per week, straining, hard stools, incomplete evacuation and inability to pass stool. Patients with chronic constipation do not have diarrhea unrelated to using laxatives. The prevalence of chronic constipation ranges from 2-28%. Up to 63 million people in North America meet the diagnostic criteria for chronic constipation. Epidemiologic studies demonstrate that the prevalence of constipation increases with age and is more common in women than men.
What Is Dyspepsia?
Dyspepsia, which means “bad” (dys) “digestion” (pepsia) is a term which is often used by doctors to describe a set of symptoms which are believed to have their cause somewhere in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. Dyspepsia consists of upper abdominal pain or discomfort, which is recurrent and is not associated with bowel movements. The symptoms can include a burning or sharp pain, dull ache, abdominal fullness or pressure, or even nausea or vomiting. Often symptoms are worst after eating. Dyspepsia affects approximately 25% of the population.