Nighttime heartburn is one of the many reasons for sleeping problems. And it is more common than most people think. But often the symptoms are not well understood and you spend an entire night looking at the ceiling trying to pinpoint the cause of your insomnia. Heartburn is a symptom and not a disease. It occurs when your stomach acid flows backward from your stomach (where it is produced) to your oesophagus (food pipe). And while it may worsen after a meal or with specific foods and drinks, most people do not know that heartburn worsens at night when the stomach acid production peaks even if you have not eaten .
Diarrhoea, or a running stomach, is one of the most common intestinal problems that we all face several times in life. In most cases it just goes away on its own within a few days but sometimes it can persist for longer and need medical treatment. Diarrhoea is a symptom of some underlying problem and should always be evaluated by a doctor. Proper medical treatment is advisable rather than trying to manage diarrhoea on your own without medical advice. Even with treatment, there are several ways that you can help to ease diarrhoea while the medication you are using is taking effect.
Colorectal cancer, commonly referred to as colon cancer, is an abnormal pattern of growth of cells that invade and destroy the health surrounding tissue and may spread to distant sites. Cancer is life-threatening and early diagnosis, rapid treatment and proper monitoring is therefore essential. Malignant tumors may arise anywhere in the body and sometimes this spreads to the colon and rectum in which case it is known as a secondary tumor or metastases. If the tumor originates within the colon and rectum, then it is known as a primary tumor. Colorectal cancer is a very common types of cancer and a person with risk factors, like a family history of colorectal cancer, needs to be tested regularly.
What is colon cancer?
Colon cancer is a malignant growth in the colon. It usually affects the rectum as well so the joint term is coloretal cancer (CRC). The colon is the longest part of the large intestine and processes all the waste material in the bowels that are eventually passed into the rectum and evacuated as faeces. Like the rest of the gut, it is lined with epithelium known as the mucosa. Most colorectal cancers starts as overgrowths of mucosal tissue know as polyps or adenomas. Not every polyp is cancerous though. Colorectal cancer is among the five most common types of cancers and screening in high risk individuals is advisable.
Bowel movements should be regular and ideally at least once daily. The stool should be soft but firm and pass out without any pain or straining. However, bowel habit varies from person to person. It is normal to have a bowel movement between 3 times a day and 3 times a week. The stool may also vary among different bowel movements even within the same day. Constipation is defined by having :
- fewer than 3 bowel movements per week.
- passing hard stools.
- straining to defecate.
- feeling of incomplete bowel movement after defecating.
Pain may be present when passing stool and at times manual intervention may be necessary to remove the stool and facilitate defecation. Constipation is a symptom and its presentation may vary among individuals but most people who are constipated experience two or more of the features above.
What is irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS for short, is a bowel disorder that is associated with abdominal pain and changes in bowel habit. It is a functional bowel disorder meaning that there is no evident disease process but is rather associated with a disturbance in the normal functioning of the bowel. IBS is also known by another now outdated term – ‘spastic colon’. It is often confused with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) which is another common yet less prevalent disorder that is due to actual disease processes affecting the bowels.