Have you been experiencing stomach pain that you think is due to gastrointestinal issues? A number of illnesses may present with gastrointestinal issues, and it may be hard to tell what the source of your discomfort is. Read on to learn more about four common gastrointestinal-related illnesses.

It is never a good day when it is spent running to the restroom. For some people, undiagnosed disorders may be causing unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, abdominal pain, or nausea and vomiting. While there are many illnesses that also cause digestive issues, the frequent occurrence of these symptoms could be due to more than just the stomach bug or something you ate. Read about four common disorders that may be causing your discomfort, then speak to your health care provider if you believe you may have any of them, or if you are having any other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an allergy to gluten, a protein commonly found in products that contain wheat, barley, and rye. When someone with celiac disease eats a food containing gluten, the body’s immune system reacts negatively, causing inflammation and damage to the lining of the small intestine. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, this disorder affects up to 1 in 100 people worldwide. It is thought to be an auto-immune disorder, and also hereditary. Symptoms of Celiac disease include diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, abdominal pain and weight loss. Your doctor can perform tests to diagnose this disease, and if you have Celiac disease, will likely suggest a gluten-free diet as treatment. Affected individuals who follow this diet usually see immediate improvement in their symptoms.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation to the digestive tract. Commonly occurring in young adults, cases of Crohn’s can vary in severity from case to case. The disease may also affect different parts of the digestive tract, often spreading into the bowel tissue. In most flare-ups, there is blood or mucus in the stool, diarrhea, pain and possibly a fever. If left untreated, Crohn’s disease can lead to more serious complications such as weight loss, malnutrition, anemia and even bowel obstruction. Treatment may include dietary adjustments, lifestyle changes, medications, and in some cases, surgery.


Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a disorder that affects the large intestine. IBS is the most common source of gastrointestinal discomfort in young adults. Symptoms include abdominal cramping or pain, bloating, and constipation or diarrhea. While the causes of this disorder are not widely known, it may be caused by factors such as increased muscle contractions in the intestine, abnormalities or inflammation in the digestive system, or changes in the bacteria in your digestive tract. There is no cure for IBS, however, your doctor will help suggest ways to manage your symptoms, such as lifestyle changes, adjusting your diet, or taking medications.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis is another inflammatory bowel disease that affects the large intestine. This disease may cause irritation, inflammation or ulcers in the colon and rectum. Gastrointestinal symptoms associated with Ulcerative Colitis can develop over time, and may vary in severity. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, the frequent urge to have a bowel movement, painful bowel movements, decreased appetite, weight loss and fatigue. There are treatments for ulcerative colitis that include dietary changes, medications, and in severe cases, surgery.

If you think you may have any of the above disorders, or are experiencing any other persistent or recurrent GI problems, speak with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment. Usually with treatment, people who are diagnosed with these disorders can live normal and healthy lifestyles with minimal symptoms, and minimal trips to the bathroom!

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