GI Diseases / Conditions
Health education is an important component of the journey towards improved understanding of one’s symptoms and illness. Education can help to empower you to actively participate in your care, help you to self-manage and better cope with your condition.
Our aim with this section of the website, is to help you navigate the sea of existing health information. There are many existing resources, and your search may be best guided by your symptoms.
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a long tube, beginning in the mouth and ending with the anus. From the mouth, food/ liquid passes into the swallowing tube or esophagus, past the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) into the stomach, past the pylorus (a muscular sphincter) and into the small bowel. The small bowel is the workhorse of the gut, responsible for absorbing most of our nutrients. It is divided into 3 main constituents: the duodenum, the jejunum and the ileum. The ileocecal valve divides the small and large bowel or colon – here is where stool and residual wastes are collected, water and salts are absorbed, to passed into the rectum, and out through the anus.
There are multiple organs that participate in the complex work of digestion including the pancreas, responsible for generating and secreting important enzymes for digestion, as well as hormone production, necessary to use the nutrients absorbed (insulin) and mobilize those created (glucagon). The liver is responsible for many functions including fat, cholesterol and glucose metabolism, de-toxification of various chemicals, generation of bile – a necessary component for fat absorption and elimination of toxins.
There are many common GI symptoms. Here is a map to guide your inquiry: