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Diarrhea Infection Case Essay Sample

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Diarrhea Infection Case Essay Sample

Diarrhea describes bowel movements (stools) that are loose and watery. It is very common and usually not serious. Many people will have diarrhea once or twice each year. It typically lasts two to three days and can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Some people have diarrhea often as part of irritable bowel syndrome or other chronic diseases of the large intestine. Doctors classify diarrhea as “osmotic,” “secretory,” or “exudative.”Osmotic diarrhea means that something in the bowel is drawing water from the body into the bowel.

A common example of this is “dietetic candy” or “chewing gum” diarrhea, in which a sugar substitute, such assorbitol, is not absorbed by the body but draws water from the body into the bowel, resulting in diarrhea. * Secretory diarrhea occurs when the body is releasing water into the bowel when it’s not supposed to. Many infections, drugs, and other conditions cause secretory diarrhea. * Exudative diarrhea refers to the presence of blood and pus in the stool. This occurs with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and several infections.

What Causes Diarrhea?

The most common cause of diarrhea is a virus that infects the gut. The infection usually lasts for two days and is sometimes called “intestinal flu” or “stomach flu.” Diarrhea may also be caused by: * Infection by bacteria (the cause of most types of food poisoning) * Infections by other organisms

* Eating foods that upset the digestive system
* Allergies to certain foods
* Medications
* Radiation therapy
* Diseases of the intestines (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis) * Malabsorption (where the body is unable to adequately absorb certain nutrients from the diet) * Hyperthyroidism
* Some cancers
* Laxative abuse
* Alcohol abuse
* Digestive tract surgery
* Diabetes
* Competitive running
Diarrhea may also follow constipation, especially for people who have irritable bowel syndrome. What Are the Symptoms of Diarrhea?
Symptoms of diarrhea can be broken down into uncomplicated (or non-serious) diarrhea and complicated diarrhea. Complicated diarrhea may be a sign of a more serious illness. Symptoms of uncomplicated diarrhea include:

* Abdominal bloating or cramps
* Thin or loose stools
* Watery stool
* Sense of urgency to have a bowel movement
* Nausea and vomiting
In addition to the symptoms described above, the symptoms of complicated diarrhea include: * Blood, mucus, or undigested food in the stool
* Weight loss
* Fever
Contact your doctor if you have prolonged diarrhea or a fever that lasts more than 24 hours. Also see your doctor promptly if vomiting prevents you from drinking liquids to replace lost fluids.

How Is Diarrhea Treated?

If you have a mild case of diarrhea, you can just let it run its course, or you can treat it with an over-the-counter medicine. Common brand names include Pepto-Bismol, Imodium A-D, and Kaopectate, which are available as liquids or tablets. Follow the instructions on the package. In addition, you should drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day. Choose fruit juice without pulp, broth, or soda (without caffeine). Chicken broth (without the fat), tea with honey, and sports drinks are also good choices. Instead of drinking liquids with your meals, drink liquids between meals. Drink small amounts of fluids frequently.

Appendicitis

Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a 3 1/2-inch-long tube of tissue that extends from the large intestine. No one is absolutely certain what the function of the appendix is. One thing we do know: We can live without it, without apparent consequences. Appendicitis is a medical emergency that requires prompt surgery to remove the appendix. Left untreated, an inflamed appendix will eventually burst, or perforate, spilling infectious materials into the abdominal cavity.

This can lead to peritonitis, a serious inflammation of the abdominal cavity’s lining (the peritoneum) that can be fatal unless it is treated quickly with strong antibiotics.Sometimes a pus-filled abscess (infection that is walled off from the rest of the body) forms outside the inflamed appendix. Scar tissue then “walls off” the appendix from the rest of the abdomen, preventing infection from spreading. An abscessed appendix is a less urgent situation, but unfortunately, it can’t be identified without surgery. For this reason, all cases of appendicitis are treated as emergencies, requiring surgery. In the U.S., one in 15 people will get appendicitis. Although it can strike at any age, appendicitis is rare under age 2 and most common between ages 10 and 30.

What Causes Appendicitis?

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes blocked, often by stool, a foreign body, or cancer. Blockage may also occur from infection, since the appendix swells in response to any infection in the body.

What Are the Symptoms of Appendicitis?

The classic symptoms of appendicitis include:
* Dull pain near the navel or the upper abdomen that becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right abdomen. This is usually the first sign.
* Loss of appetite
* Nausea and/or vomiting soon after abdominal pain begins
* Abdominal swelling
* Fever of 99-102 degrees Fahrenheit
* Inability to pass gas
Almost half the time, other symptoms of appendicitis appear, including:
* Dull or sharp pain anywhere in the upper or lower abdomen, back, or rectum
* Painful urination
* Vomiting that precedes the abdominal pain
* Severe cramps
* Constipation or diarrhea with gas.If you have any of the mentioned symptoms, seek medical attention immediately since timely diagnosis and treatment is very important. Do not eat, drink, or use any pain remedies, antacids, laxatives, or heating pads, which can cause an inflamed appendix to rupture.

Understanding Ulcers

What Are Ulcers?

There is no clear evidence to suggest that the stress of modern life or a steady diet of fast food causes ulcers in the stomach and small intestine, but they are nonetheless common in our society: About one out of every 10 Americans will suffer from the burning, gnawing abdominal pain of a peptic (or gastric) ulcer at some point in life. Peptic ulcers are holes or breaks in the protective lining of the duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine) or the stomach — areas that come into contact with stomach acids and enzymes. Duodenal ulcers are more common than stomach ulcers. Comparatively rare are esophageal ulcers, which form in the esophagus — or swallowing tube — and are often a result of alcohol abuse. Until the mid-1980s, the conventional wisdom was that ulcers form as a result of stress, a genetic predisposition to excessive stomach acid secretion, and poor lifestyle habits (including overindulging in rich and fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco).

It was believed that such influences contribute to a buildup of stomach acids that erode the protective lining of the stomach, duodenum, or esophagus. While excessive stomach acid secretion certainly plays a role in the development of ulcers, a relatively recent theory holds that bacterial infection is the primary cause of peptic ulcers. Indeed, research conducted since the mid-1980s has persuasively demonstrated that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is present in more than 90% of duodenal ulcers and about 80% of stomach ulcers. Other factors also seem to contribute to ulcer formation. Overuse of over-the-counter painkillers (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen), heavy alcohol use, and smoking exacerbate and may promote the development of ulcers.

Research indicates that heavy smokers are more prone to developing duodenal ulcers than are nonsmokers, that people who drink alcohol are more susceptible to esophageal ulcers, and that those who take aspirin frequently for a long period of time are more likely to develop stomach ulcers than those who don’t. Other studies show that stomach ulcers are more likely to develop in older people. This may be because arthritis is prevalent in the elderly, and alleviating arthritis pain can mean taking daily doses of aspirin or ibuprofen. Another contributing factor may be that with advancing age the pylorus (the valve between the stomach and duodoneum) relaxes and allows excess bile (a compound produced in the liver to aid in digestion) to seep up into the stomach and erode the stomach lining.

Also, for no known reason, people with type A blood are more likely to develop cancerous stomach ulcers. Duodenal ulcers tend to appear in people with type O blood, possibly because they do not produce the substance on the surface of blood cells that may protect the lining of the duodenum. Fortunately, peptic ulcers are relatively easy to treat; in many cases they are cured with antibiotics, antacids, and other drugs that reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach. There are also a variety of self-help and alternative treatments that can aid in relieving pain. Still, the dangers associated with peptic ulcers — such as anemia, profuse bleeding, and stomach cancer — are serious, so ulcers should always be monitored by your doctor.

Gallstones

Gallstones form in the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver. The gallbladder aids in the digestive process by storing bile and secreting it into the small intestine when food enters. Bile is a fluid produced by the liver and is made up of several substances, including cholesterol, bilirubin, and bile salts.

What Are Gallstones?

Gallstones are pieces of solid material that form in the gallbladder. These stones develop because cholesterol and pigments in bile sometimes form hard particles. The two main types of gallstones are:

* Cholesterol stones: Usually yellow-green in color, approximately 80% of gallstones are cholesterol stones. * Pigment stones: These stones are smaller and darker and are made up of bilirubin.

What Causes Gallstones?

Several factors may come together to create gallstones, including:
* Genetics
* Body weight
* Decreased motility (movement) of the gallbladder
* Diet

Gallstones can form when there is an imbalance in the substances that make up bile. For instance, cholesterol stones may develop as a result of too much cholesterol in the bile. Another cause may be the inability of the gallbladder to empty properly. Pigment stones are more common in people with certain medical conditions, such as cirrhosis (a liver disease in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue) or blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia.

What Are the Risk Factors for Gallstones?

Risk factors for getting gallstones include:

* Genetics. If other people in your family have had gallstones, you are at increased risk of developing gallstones. * Obesity. This is one of the biggest risk factors. Obesity can cause a rise in cholesterol and can also keep the gallbladder from emptying completely. * Estrogen. Estrogen can increase cholesterol and reduce gallbladder motility. Women who are pregnant or who take birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy have higher levels of estrogen and may be more likely to develop gallstones.

* Ethnic background. Certain ethnic groups, including Native Americans and Mexican-Americans, are more likely to develop gallstones. * Gender and age. Gallstones are more common among women and older people. * Cholesterol drugs. Some cholesterol-lowering drugs increase the amount of cholesterol in bile, which may increase the chances of developing cholesterol stones. * Diabetes. People with diabetes tend to have higher levels of triglycerides (a type of blood fat), which is a risk factor for gallstones. * Rapid weight loss. If a person loses weight too quickly, his or her liver secretes extra cholesterol, which may lead to gallstones. Also, fasting may cause the gallbladder to contract less. What Are the Symptoms of Gallstones?

Gallstones often don’t cause symptoms. Those that don’t are called “silent stones.” A person usually learns he or she has gallstones while being examined for another illness. When symptoms do appear, they may include:

* Pain in the upper abdomen and upper back. The pain may last for several hours.
* Nausea
* Vomiting
* Other gastrointestinal problems, including bloating, indigestion and
heartburn, and gas Diverticulitis – Topic Overview
What is diverticulitis?
Diverticulosis happens when pouches form in the wall of the colon . If these pouches get inflamed or infected, it is called diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can be very painful. What causes diverticulitis?

Doctors aren’t sure what causes diverticula in the colon(diverticulosis). But they think that a low-fiber diet may play a role. Without fiber to add bulk to the stool, the colon has to work harder than normal to push the stool forward. The pressure from this may cause pouches to form in weak spots along the colon. Diverticulitis happens when feces get trapped in the pouches (diverticula). This allows bacteria to grow in the pouches. This can lead to inflammation or infection. What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of diverticulitis may last from a few hours to a week or more. Symptoms include: * Belly pain, usually in the lower left side, that is sometimes worse when you move. This is the most common symptom.

* Fever and chills.
* Bloating and gas.
* Diarrhea or constipation.
* Nausea and sometimes vomiting.
* Not feeling like eating.

How is diverticulitis diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and will examine you. He or she may do tests to see if you have an infection or to make sure that you don’t have other problems. Tests may include: * Blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC).

* Other tests, such as an X-ray or a CT scan.

How is it treated?

The treatment you need depends on how bad your symptoms are and whether you have an infection. You may need to have only liquids at first, and then return to solid food when you start feeling better. If you have an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Take them as directed. Do
not stop taking them just because you feel better. For mild cramps and belly pain:

* Use a heating pad, set on low, on your belly. * Relax. For example, try meditation or slow, deep breathing in a quiet room. * Take medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, for example). You may need surgery only if diverticulitis doesn’t get better with other treatment, or if you have problems such as long-lasting (chronic) pain, a bowel obstruction, afistula, or a pocket of infection (abscess).

How can you prevent diverticulitis?

You may be able to prevent diverticulitis if you drink plenty of water, get regularexercise, and eat a high-fiber diet. A high-fiber diet includes whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. hemorrhoids

What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal. Veins can swell inside the anal canal to form internal hemorrhoids. Or they can swell near the opening of the anus to form external hemorrhoids. You can have both types at the same time. The symptoms and treatment depend on which type you have. Many people have hemorrhoids at some time.

What causes hemorrhoids?
Too much pressure on the veins in the pelvic and rectal area causes hemorrhoids. Normally, tissue inside the anus fills with bloodto help control bowel movements. If you strain to move stool, the increased pressure causes the veins in this tissue to swell and stretch. This can cause hemorrhoids. Diarrhea or constipation also may lead to straining and can increase pressure on veins in the anal canal. Pregnant women can get hemorrhoids during the last 6 months of pregnancy. This is because of increased pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvic area. Straining to push the baby out during labor can make hemorrhoids worse. Being overweight can also lead to hemorrhoids.

What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of both internal and external hemorrhoids include: * Bleeding during bowel movements. You might see streaks of bright red blood on toilet paper after you strain to have a bowel movement. * Itching.

* Rectal pain. It may be painful to clean the anal area.
Internal hemorrhoids
With internal hemorrhoids, you may see bright red streaks of blood on toilet paper or bright red blood in the toilet bowl after you have a normal bowel movement. You may see blood on the surface of the stool. Internal hemorrhoids often are small, swollen veins in the wall of the anal canal. But they can be large, sagging veins that bulge out of the anus all the time. They can be painful if they bulge out and are squeezed by the anal muscles. They may be very painful if the blood supply to the hemorrhoid is cut off. If hemorrhoids bulge out, you also may see mucus on the toilet paper or stool. External hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids can get irritated and clot under the skin, causing a hard painful lump. This is called a thrombosed, or clotted, hemorrhoid. How are hemorrhoids diagnosed? Your doctor can tell if you have hemorrhoids by asking about your past health and doing a physical exam. You may not need many tests at first, especially if you are younger than 50 and your doctor thinks that your rectal bleeding is caused by hemorrhoids. Your doctor may just examine your rectum with a gloved finger. Or your doctor may use a short, lighted scope to look inside the rectum.

Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a malignant tumor arising from the lining of the stomach. There has been a significant decrease in the number of people diagnosed with stomach cancer in the past 60 years.Stomach cancers are classified according to the type of tissue where they originate. The most common type of stomach cancer is adenocarcinoma, which starts in the glandular tissue of the stomach and accounts for 90% to 95% of all stomach cancers. Other forms of stomach cancer include lymphomas, which involve the lymphatic system and sarcomas, which involve the connective tissue (such as muscle, fat, or blood vessels). Stomach cancer may often be cured if it is found and treated at an early stage. Unfortunately, the outlook is poor if the cancer is already at an advanced stage when discovered. In most cases, stomach cancer is found at later stages. What Is Your Cancer Risk? Take the WebMD Cancer Health Check What Causes Stomach Cancer?

The exact cause of stomach cancer is unknown, but a number of factors can increase the risk of the disease, including: * Gender — men have more than double the risk of getting stomach cancer than women. * Race — being African-American or Asian may increase your risk. * Genetics — genetic abnormalities and some inherited cancer syndromes may increase your risk * Geography — stomach cancer is more common in Japan, the former Soviet Union, and parts of Central America and South America. * Blood type — individuals with blood group A may be at increased risk. * Advanced age — stomach cancer occurs more often around ages 70 and 74 in men and women, respectively. * Family history of gastric cancer can double or triple the risk of stomach cancer.

* Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating a diet low in fruits and vegetables or high in salted, smoked, or nitrate-preserved foods may increase your risk * Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection of the stomach. H. pylori is a bacterium that infects the lining of the stomach and causes chronic inflammation andulcers. * Certain health conditions including chronic gastritis, pernicious anemia, gastric polyps, intestinal metaplasia, and prior stomach surgery. * Work-related exposure due to coal mining, nickel refining, and rubber and timber processing and asbestos exposure.

What Are the Symptoms of Stomach Cancer?
In the early stages of stomach cancer, you may have very few symptoms. These may include:
* Indigestion and stomach discomfort
* A bloated feeling after eating
* Mild nausea
* Loss of appetite
* Heartburn

These symptoms are similar to those caused by a peptic ulcer. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should see your health care provider so that a proper diagnosis can be made and timely treatment given. A stomach cancer can grow very large before it causes other symptoms. In more advanced cancer, you may have:

* Discomfort in the upper or middle part of the abdomen.
* Blood in the stool (which appears as black, tarry stools).
* Vomiting or vomiting blood.
* Weight loss.
* Pain or bloating in the stomach after eating.
* Weakness or fatigue associated with mild anemia (a deficiency in red blood cells). * Mouth cancer

This factsheet is for people who have mouth cancer, or who would like information about it, including symptoms, causes and treatments. Mouth cancer (oral cancer) is caused by an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the mouth. Types of mouth cancer

Nine out of 10 mouth cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. They develop in the flat, skin-like cells that cover the inside of your mouth. Other, rarer types of mouth cancer include: * salivary gland cancer, which starts in your salivary gland cells * lymphoma, which starts in lymph tissue near the base of your tongue and tonsils * melanoma, which starts in skin pigment cells around your mouth or on your lips Symptoms of mouth cancer

The two most common symptoms of mouth cancer are:
* an ulcer in your mouth or on your lip that won’t heal
* constant discomfort or pain in your mouth
Other symptoms can include:
* red or white patches in your mouth

* a lump on your lip, tongue or in your neck

* bad breath

* unexplained bleeding in your mouth

* numbness in your mouth

* loose teeth

* problems chewing or swallowing, difficulty moving your jaw or a feeling that something is caught in your throat

* changes to your voice – it may sound husky or quieter or you may slur your words

* weight loss because of problems swallowing

These symptoms aren’t always caused by mouth cancer but if you have any of them, see your GP or dentist. Causes of mouth cancer The exact reasons why you may develop mouth cancer aren’t fully understood at present. However, you may be more likely to develop mouth cancer if you: * smoke any form of tobacco – cigarettes, cigars and pipes, as well as bidis or hand-rolled cigarettes that contain cannabis * chew tobacco, such as betel quid, gutkha and paan

* drink excessive alcohol, especially at the same time as smoking or chewing tobacco * have already had certain types of cancer, such as skin cancer * regularly expose yourself to the sun or ultraviolet (UV) light as this increases the risk of lip cancer * have a weakened immune system – people who have HIV/AIDS, or who are taking medicines that suppress the immune system, are more likely to develop mouth cancer * eat a poor diet that doesn’t include many vitamins and minerals * have the human papilloma virus (HPV) as this causes some cancers of the oropharynx (part of the throat at the back of your mouth), including the soft palate, the base of your tongue, and your tonsils Diagnosis of mouth cancer

The earlier mouth cancer is diagnosed, the better your chances of recovery. Your dentist may spot mouth cancer in its early stages during a routine check-up, so it’s important to visit your dentist regularly. Your GP or dentist will ask about your symptoms and examine you. He or she may also ask you about your medical history. Your GP or dentist will feel your neck and face to check for swellings and may refer you to a head and neck specialist for further tests. You may have the following tests to confirm a diagnosis of mouth cancer. * Mouth and throat examination – your doctor may use a special instrument called a flexible laryngoscope to look inside your mouth and throat. * Biopsy – a biopsy is a small sample of tissue. This will be sent to a laboratory for testing to determine the type of cells and if they are benign (not cancerous) or cancerous. If you’re found to have cancer, you may need to have other tests to assess if the cancer has spread.

The process of finding out the stage of a cancer is called staging. The tests may include the following. * X-rays of your upper and lower jaw (Panorex X-ray), or your chest, or both. * Scans, which may include ultrasound, MRI or CT. These will check your muscles, organs and tissues in your face, throat and chest. * Further biopsies of nearby lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are glands throughout the body that are part of the immune system. * Endoscopy. This allows a doctor to look at the inside of the body. The test is done using a narrow, flexible, tube-like telescopic camera called an endoscope. * A barium swallow and meal test, which involves swallowing a drink containing barium (a substance which shows up on X-rays). X-ray images will show up any unusual growths in your digestive system down to your stomach.

Treatment of mouth cancer

Your treatment will depend on the type of mouth cancer you have, where it is and how far it has spread. Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. There are three main treatments for mouth cancer.

These are surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Prevention of mouth cancer

Making some simple lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of mouth cancer. These include the following.
* Visit your dentist for regular check-ups.
* Look for any changes in your mouth such as sore patches or ulcers that don’t heal and report them to your GP.
* Don’t smoke.
* Don’t chew tobacco.
* Drink only in moderation. The Department of Health guidelines recommend that men drink no more than three or four units a day and women drink no more than two or three units a day. * Eat a healthy diet with at least
five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. * Protect your skin from sunlight and other UV exposure such as sunbeds. Wear sunblock on your lips, stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm and wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face.

What Is Liver Cancer?

The liver continuously filters blood that circulates through the body, converting nutrients and drugs absorbed from the digestive tract into ready-to-use chemicals. The liver performs many other important functions, such as removing toxins and other chemical waste products from the blood and readying them for excretion. Because all the blood in the body must pass through it, the liver is unusually accessible to cancer cells traveling in the bloodstream. The liver can be affected by primary liver cancer, which arises in the liver, or by cancer which forms in other sites and then spreads to the liver. Most liver cancer is secondary or metastatic, meaning it started elsewhere in the body. Primary liver cancer, which starts in the liver, accounts for about 2% of cancers in the U.S., but up to half of all cancers in some undeveloped countries.

This is mainly due to the prevalence of hepatitis, caused by contagious viruses, that predisposes a person to liver cancer. In the U.S., primary liver cancer strikes twice as many men as women, at an average age of 67. Because the liver is made up of several different types of cells, several types of tumors can form in the liver. Some of these are benign (noncancerous), and some are cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body (metastasize). These tumors have different causes and are treated differently. The outlook for your health or recovery depends on what type of tumor you have. The more common benign tumors of the liver include:

* Hemangioma
* Hepatic adenoma
* Focal nodular hyperplasia
* Cysts
* Lipoma
* Fibroma
* Leiomyoma

None of these tumors are treated like liver cancer. They may need to be removed surgically if they cause pain or bleeding. Liver cancers include:

* Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
* Cholangiocarcinoma (These are really cancers of the bile duct. They will not be discussed in this article.) This article discusses hepatocellular carcinoma. It’s important to know what type of liver tumor you have. Be sure to get that information from your health care provider. What Is Your Cancer Risk? Take the WebMD Cancer Health Check What Causes Liver Cancer?

Primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) tends to occur in livers damaged by birth defects, alcohol abuse, or chronic infection with diseases such as hepatitis B and C, hemochromatosis (a hereditary disease associated with too much iron in the liver), and cirrhosis. More than half of all people diagnosed with primary liver cancer have cirrhosis — a scarring condition of the liver commonly caused by alcohol abuse. Hepatitis B and C and hemochromatosis can cause permanent damage and liver failure. Liver cancer may also be linked to obesity and fatty liver disease.

Various cancer-causing substances are associated with primary liver cancer, including certain herbicides and chemicals such as vinyl chloride and arsenic. Smoking, especially if you abuse alcohol as well, also increases risk. Aflatoxins, cancer-causing substances made by a type of plant mold, have also been implicated. Aflatoxins can contaminate wheat, peanuts, rice, corn, and soybeans. These are rare problems in most developed countries like the U.S. Other causes include the hormones androgen and estrogen and a dye formerly used in medical tests called thorotrast.

What Is Gastroparesis?

Gastroparesis is a condition in which your stomach cannot empty itself of food in a normal fashion. It is caused by damage to the vagus nerve, which regulates thedigestive system. A damaged vagus nerve prevents the muscles in the stomach and intestine from functioning, preventing food from moving through the digestive system properly. Often, the cause of gastroparesis is unknown.

However, the causes of gastroparesis can include:

* Uncontrolled diabetes
* Gastric surgery with injury to the vagus nerve
* Medications such as narcotics and some antidepressants
* Parkinson’s disease
* Multiple sclerosis
* Rare conditions such as: Amyloidosis (deposits of protein fibers in tissues and organs) and scleroderma (a connective tissue disorder that affects the skin, bloodvessels, skeletal muscles, and internal organs) What Are the Symptoms of Gastroparesis?

There are many symptoms of gastroparesis, including:
* Heartburn or GERD
* Nausea
* Vomiting undigested food
* Feeling full quickly when eating
* Abdominal bloating
* Poor appetite and weight loss
* Poor blood sugar control
What Are the Complications of Gastroparesis?
Some of the complications of gastroparesis include:

* Food that stays in the stomach too long can ferment, which can lead to the growth of bacteria. * Food in the stomach can harden into a solid collection, called a bezoar. Bezoars can cause obstructions in the stomach that keep food from passing into the small intestine. * People who have both diabetes and gastroparesis may have more difficulty because blood sugar levels rise when food finally leaves the stomach and enters the small intestine, making blood sugar control more of a challenge.

How Is Gastroparesis Diagnosed?

To diagnose gastroparesis, your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history. He or she will also give you a physical exam and may order certain blood tests, including blood sugar levels. Other tests used to diagnose and evaluate gastroparesis may include: * Barium X-ray : You drink a liquid (barium), which coats the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine and shows up on X-ray. This test is also known as an upper GI (gastrointestinal) series or a barium swallow. * Radioisotope gastric-emptying scan (gastric scintigraphy): You eat food that contains a very small amount of radioisotope (a radioactive substance), then lie under a scanning machine; if the scan shows that more than 10% of food is still in your stomach 4 hours after eating, you are diagnosed with gastroparesis.

* Gastric manometry: A thin tube that is passed through your mouth and into the stomach measures the stomach’s electrical and muscular activity to determine the rate of digestion. * Electrogastrography: This test measures electrical activity in the stomach using electrodes placed on the skin. * The smart pill: This is a small electronic device that is swallowed. It sends back information about how fast it is traveling as it moves through the digestive system. * Ultrasound : This is an imaging test that uses sound waves to create pictures of body organs. Your doctor may use ultrasound to eliminate other diseases. * Upper endoscopy : This procedure involves passing a thin tube (endoscope) down the esophagus to examine the lining of the stomach. *

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