You’ve likely heard the term before, but you may be wondering, “What is GI and what does it stand for?” The gastrointestinal (GI) tract or system refers to the organs that form a long tube, leading from the mouth to the anus. This system helps digest and move food and drink through your body to get the nutrients it needs. The GI tract is made up of your:1
Large intestine (colon, rectum, and anus)
Sometimes, GI issues can develop that affect how well the GI tract works. These can also lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation.2 Knowing the different types of GI diseases and their symptoms can help you get the appropriate care if needed.
Types of GI Diseases
There are two main types of GI disorders:
These can affect any part of the GI tract, causing different conditions and diseases.
Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are disorders that don’t appear to have a physical cause that can be diagnosed with standard testing methods like blood tests, x-rays, or other imaging tests. Instead, FGIDs are thought to be caused by a combination of abnormal muscle contractions, sensitive nerves, and brain-gut dysfunction, which affects communications between the brain and GI tract:3,4 Examples of these disorders include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).5
Structural Gastrointestinal Disorders
On the other hand, structural gastrointestinal disorders (SGIDs) are caused by physical changes to the GI tract, leading to symptoms. These disorders can be detected with imaging tests and/or bloodwork. Examples of SGIDs include tumors, strictures (narrowing of the tract), or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).5
9 Common Stomach Conditions
Below is a list of 9 common stomach conditions and their signs and symptoms.
Diverticulitis involves inflammation of small sacs or pouches (known as diverticula) in the lower colon that push outwards in weak spots. Symptoms of this condition include pain and cramping in the lower left abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and fever.6
2. Crohn’s Disease (CD)
CD is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and irritation mainly in the small and large intestines. Common symptoms of CD include abdominal pain and cramping, weight loss, and diarrhea.7,8
3. Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
UC is another chronic inflammatory disease, but it mainly affects the large intestine (colon). Symptoms of UC include abdominal pain and cramping, bloody stools, diarrhea, and constantly feeling the urge to have a bowel movement even if your bowel is empty.9,10
4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS refers to a group of GI symptoms that occur together that cause abdominal pain and affect your bowel movements. Depending on the type of IBS you have, you may experience painful bowel movements with diarrhea, constipation, or both.11,12
5. GERD (Heartburn & Acid Reflux)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) refers to severe, chronic acid reflux caused by stomach acid coming back up your esophagus. Symptoms of GERD include stomach pain, heartburn, chest pain, nausea, and regurgitation (food coming back up your esophagus and into your throat or mouth).13,14
6. Stomach Ulcer (Peptic Ulcer)
Stomach ulcers are sores that form in the lining of your stomach or first part of your small intestine (duodenum). Symptoms of these ulcers include nausea, vomiting, bloating, severe stomach pain, and feeling full early in a meal or after eating.15,16
7. Ulcer (General)
Ulcers can also form in other parts of the GI tract, including the esophagus. Symptoms of esophageal ulcers include chest pain, nausea, vomiting, pain when swallowing, and feeling like food is stuck in your throat. 17
8. Stomach Bleeding
Stomach bleeding is a symptom of many GI tract diseases. Symptoms can include bright red bloody vomit, abdominal cramps, vomit that looks similar to coffee grounds, black or tar-like stools, bright red or dark blood in stools, and shortness of breath.18
Gastritis refers to inflammation in the stomach lining. Symptoms of gastritis include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Breakdown of the stomach lining or ulcers may also cause stomach bleeding.19,20
Acetaminophen & Stomach Problems
Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in TYLENOL®, is an effective pain reliever and is safe when used as directed. It can be a good pain relief option for those with stomach problems.21
Why TYLENOL® May Be a Better Choice
For those with a history of stomach problems, TYLENOL® can be a more appropriate pain relief option than NSAIDs like ALEVE®, Advil®, or MOTRIN® (Third party trademarks are the property of their respective owners). It’s the #1 doctor recommended pain reliever brand for people with stomach problems because it is safe, gentle, and doesn’t irritate the stomach like the way ALEVE® or even Advil® or MOTRIN® can.
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