Gastrointestinal System

The gastrointestinal system consists of hollow organs like the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. The GI tract also includes solid organs such as the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and salivary glands, which make the digestive juices to help the body digest food and liquids.

Let’s discuss the main functions of the gastrointestinal system!

The 4 vital gastrointestinal system functions are as follows-

  1. Motility- The food moves through the gastrointestinal tract by the process of peristalsis. This involves the mixing of digestive nutrients.
  2. Secretion- In this process, there is a discharge of enzymes, hormones that help the body to digest the food that is consumed.
  3. Digestion- The digestive system breaks down food so that the body can use them for energy. For example, proteins break down to amino acids, fats break down to fatty acids, and glycerol; and carbohydrates break down into sugars.
  4. Absorption- The digested nutrients pass from the gut to the blood. Then the circulatory system can further pass to the rest of the body for usage and storage.

What are the general symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders?

Symptoms of digestive diseases vary from person to person depending on the condition. However, there are some common gastrointestinal symptoms which include-

  • Difficulty in swallowing food
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Abdominal discomfort like bloating or cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea or constipation. Sometimes both can happen together
  • Fecal inconsistency
  • Fatigue

If you notice blood in your stool or vomit, immediately seek medical assistance from a health care physician.

Gastrointestinal symptoms Covid-19

Most patients of COVID-19 suffer from fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of sensation. Whereas some patients complain about gastrointestinal conditions. Symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain are common in such patients.

Gastrointestinal system disease

Keep reading to know some common gastrointestinal conditions-

  • Celiac disease- This disease involves the digestive system, but the symptoms can be seen in other parts of the body as well. The patient suffers from awful smelling stool, diarrhea, stomach pain, abdominal bloating, vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite. Both children and adults are affected and the symptoms can be shown outside the intestine like headache, joint pain, skin rashes, weak bones, and even seizures.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)- This disorder is a group of gastrointestinal conditions where an individual experiences a combination of abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and cramps. Symptoms may vary from person to person depending on the condition and severity.
  • Lactose intolerance- This is a condition in which a person is not able to digest lactose completely. It is due to the low level of the enzyme lactase that is responsible for digesting lactose. Common symptoms shown in these disorders are abdominal cramps, diarrhea, gas, bloating.
  • Chronic diarrhea- It is a gastrointestinal disorder in which a person passes out watery on mushy stools lasting more than 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)- In this disorder acid reflux or heartburn occurs when stomach contents and acid spill over into the esophagus. This condition is called acid regurgitation.
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease- PUP is a digestive disorder and it is caused by an infection of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori. In this condition, ulcers develop in the inner lining of the duodenum and stomach. Common symptoms are vomiting, nausea, and burning sensation in the abdomen.
  • Crohn’s Disease- This is a chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal disease that can affect the digestive tract. Symptoms usually get worse as the condition progresses. In the early stages the individual experiences weight loss, fatigue, and bloody stools. Serious symptoms appear much later and it includes ulcers, skin inflammation, shortness of breath.
  • Ulcerative Colitis- It is one of the common inflammatory bowel diseases. Ulcerative colitis is caused by inflammation of the inner lining of the colon or this large intestine. The common symptoms shown in these conditions are diarrhea, bloody stools, fever, stomach pain, abdominal sounds.

There are many other gastrointestinal diseases like gallbladder stones, liver problems, pancreatitis, appendicitis, hemorrhoids.

Gastrointestinal disease risk factors

The risk factors for digestive disorders vary with specific conditions. We have discussed some common gastrointestinal risk factors, which includes-

  • Being obese or overweight. These conditions put extra pressure on the abdominal organs and increase the risk of hemorrhoids.
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Family history of digestive disorders
  • Consuming medicines like antidepressants, narcotics, iron supplements.
  • Changing a normal routine. This can upset the digestive process
  • Having an unhealthy lifestyle, like not exercising and having stress.
  • Consuming a low fiber diet and not drinking enough water

Gastrointestinal bleeding

Gastrointestinal bleeding can occur in any organ. If bleeding occurs in the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine it is considered upper gastrointestinal bleeding. On the other hand, when the bleeding is seen in the large intestine, rectum, or anus it is considered lower gastrointestinal bleeding. An infection by H pylori bacteria causes peptic ulcers and this is a common reason for gastrointestinal bleeding. Symptoms like dark and sticky stool, blood coming out of the rectum, vomiting blood, and sometimes vomiting look like coffee grounds. GI bleeding can get extremely serious so seeking medical treatment is essential.

Gastrointestinal bleeding risk factors

The factors that increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding are-

  • Consuming alcohol
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Medication that includes NSAIDs like aspirin, naproxen
  • Gastrointestinal surgery
  • Individuals suffering from all ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Trauma

Gastrointestinal cancer risk factors

People are at more risk to get gastrointestinal cancer if they have these factors-

  • Above 50 years
  • Have an infection with H pylori
  • Family history. If someone in the family had stomach cancer, the chances are high
  • Leading an unhealthy lifestyle
  • Have certain gastrointestinal conditions like acid reflux, gastritis

Males are at more risk than females

Why is GoodDeed clinic the best for gastro health checkups?

GoodDeed provides you with a proper clinic setup and medical assistance. We ensure you get high-quality overall health checkup clinic services at the best price possible. GoodDeed has exceptionally qualified and experienced doctors who are trained in the USA and are practicing here in the clinic and diagnostic center of health checkup in Patna. You can simply fix an online appointment with doctors, and have a one-to-one conversation. We are also open for long-distance packages for families who stay abroad and their parents are in India. To get smooth and effective treatment, consult GoodDeed, a full body checkup clinic in Patna.


What are the common symptoms of gastrointestinal infection (GI)?

GI infection lasts for a few days, mostly characterized by abdominal cramps and followed by diarrhea nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and blood in the stool.

How to prevent gastrointestinal infection?

In most cases, changing the lifestyle, taking self-care measures can help in recovery. It is recommended to take high fiber foods and to stay hydrated. Before taking any medication consult a healthcare professional.