The human digestive system is a complex and vital part of the body. It is a long, coiled tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus. In between, there are several important organs that help to break down food and absorb nutrients. These include the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), and rectum. It is responsible for breaking down food into nutrients, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream and used by the body’s cells. The digestive system also helps to get rid of waste from the body.
Maintaining a healthy digestive system is important for overall health and well-being, as it is through a healthy digestive process that you get the nutrients your body needs for optimal functioning, as well as to rid it of toxins and waste.
Let’s talk more about the consequences of poor digestive health.
Consequences of Poor Digestive Health
In the short run, an unhealthy digestive system can lead to indigestion, heartburn, bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea. These symptoms can be uncomfortable and may interfere with your daily activities and prevent you from having restful sleep. If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it’s important to see your doctor, so they can rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Long-term consequences of an unhealthy digestive system include malnutrition and weight loss from malabsorption of nutrients, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver disease, pancreatitis, and even cancer of the esophagus, stomach, or colon. Many of these conditions are serious or life-threatening illnesses that require ongoing treatment and monitoring by a healthcare professional.
Maintaining Good Digestive Health
There are several things you can do to keep your digestive system healthy, such as:
- Eating a balanced diet, including plenty of fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Avoiding fatty or greasy foods, as they can slow down digestion and lead to discomfort
- Drinking adequate fluids every day – about 3.7 liters of water daily for men and 2.7 liters for women
- Exercising regularly
- Managing stress in healthy ways
- Not smoking tobacco products
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Practicing good hygiene habits, such as washing your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or handling raw meat
- See your doctor for recommended screenings, such as for colon cancer, and checkups if you develop persistent digestive symptoms, such as chronic heartburn or abdominal pain, persistent constipation, diarrhea, chronic hemorrhoids, and blood in the stool.
Maintaining good digestive health is extremely important, and sometimes, you need a professional’s help to achieve it. A gastroenterologist, who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of gastrointestinal disorders, can provide many services, including personalized attention to your specific gastrointestinal needs.
Board-Certified and Fellowship-TrainedGastroenterologists in Central Texas
Austin Gastroenterology (AG) has 30 board-certified GI doctors on its team and is the largest physician group in Central Texas. We are committed to your digestive health and will provide you with the individualized attention you deserve. Whether you need diagnostic testing for your GI symptoms or a health screening, we can provide for all your GI needs. Austin Gastroenterology (AG) has several locations in Central Texas, from Georgetown and Kyle to Marble Falls and Bastrop.