Gastrointestinal diseases refer to any disease that occurs in the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, liver, gallbladder or pancreas, which are otherwise known as the gastrointestinal system. The gastrointestinal system is directly related to the function of absorbing and processing nutrition.
Esophageal disease occurs in the esophagus. The most common form of esophageal disease is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), otherwise known as acid reflux. In GERD, stomach acid comes up into the esophagus from the stomach, and is characterized by heartburn and regurgitation.
Gastric diseases are gastrointestinal disease of the stomach. Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach. Also common in the stomach are gastric ulcers. Indigestion and vomiting are frequent signs of gastric disease.
Both the small and large intestines can suffer from entercolitis, an inflammation that leads to diarrhea. Celiac disease is another affliction of the small intestine. The large intestine is susceptible to appendicitis, irritable bowel syndrome and even constipation.
Gastrointestinal diseases in the anus and rectum are more common in older adults, and not just colon cancer, but anal cancer, anal fissures and anal fistulas. All of these are serious conditions that require medical attention.