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Gastroenterology is a branch of medicine that focuses on the functioning and diseases of the digestive system, which includes the esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum, and digestive glands such as the liver, pancreas, and bile ducts. Additionally, gastroenterology also examines the healthy balance of microorganisms in the body, known as the microbiome, and their impact on processes within the body, such as obesity, depression, and overall human well-being.
Indigestion – a digestive disorder caused by factors such as excessive consumption of fatty or spicy foods, alcohol, stress, or medications.
Stomach and duodenal ulcers – damage to the mucous membrane caused by excessive production of hydrochloric acid or infection with the Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
Reflux disease – the backward flow of stomach contents into the esophagus, causing burning, pain, and irritation of the mucous membrane.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a functional disorder of the intestines characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
Gastritis – an inflammatory condition of the stomach’s mucous membrane, caused by factors such as viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections, alcohol abuse, or the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Enteritis – an inflammatory condition of the intestines, caused by factors such as bacterial or viral infections, food allergies, or autoimmune reactions.
Ulcerative colitis – a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the entire thickness of the colon and rectum.
Crohn’s disease – a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus.
The diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases is based on medical history, physical examination, laboratory tests (e.g., complete blood count, liver function tests, pancreatic enzyme levels), and imaging studies (e.g., ultrasound, X-ray, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging). The most important endoscopic examinations are gastroscopy and colonoscopy, which allow direct visualization and biopsy of the mucous membrane in the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, and large intestine.