What is the Gastrointestinal System? And What Are Its Diseases?

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Gastrointestinal system can be defined as the path from mouth to anus, which includes all organs of the digestive system in the human body and also in other animals.

This channel, which our body forms between the mouth and anus, is a system whose main task is digestion by encompassing many organs related to its structure.

The main task of the gastrointestinal system in our body is to perform digestion, but our organs perform many interrelated tasks in a complex structure.

Our Gastrointestinal system, one of the main systems of our body, is responsible for processes such as chewing, digestion, absorption and excretion between the mouth and anus.

Our Gastrointestinal system, which is expressed as a long tubular structure from mouth to anus, is a main system whose main task is “digestion”.

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What Are The Duties Of The Gastrointestinal System?

The functioning of the “Gastrointestinal system” and the organs in it are very important in order to maintain the vital functions in our body at normal levels.

It is possible to see that many tasks are carried out in the Gastrointestinal system, whose main task is “digestion“. Apart from its digestive function, the gastrointestinal tract is also responsible for managing and supporting the “digestive” activities of organs.

Any problem that may occur in the Gastrointestinal system can be at a level that can negatively affect our daily life. We can list the functions and tasks carried out by the system in our body as follows;

Chewing and swallowing: It is the delivery of food to the esophagus through the mouth-pharynx by breaking it into small pieces.
Digestion: It is the breakdown of ingested food into small absorbable molecules by enzymes (stomach, small intestines).
Absorption It is the passage of absorbable molecules (protein, carbohydrate, fat), minerals and vitamins into the blood and lymph fluid (small intestines).
Excretion: To carry out the functions of storing non-absorbable food residues and throwing them out by anal route (large intestine).
Digestive System: Mouth, Pharynx (pharynx), Esophagus (esophagus), Stomach, Small intestines, Large intestines, Rectum, Anal canal tubular structure and associated with this structure; consists of the salivary glands, gall bladder, liver, pancreas organs as a whole.

In more detail, the pancreas not only secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine for digestion, but also secretes a large number of hormones, primarily insulin and glucagon, which regulate blood sugar.

While the stomach supports chemical digestion with the release of hydrochloric acid and pepsin, on the other hand, it plays a role in the absorption of vitamin B12 with intrinsic factor and regulation of appetite with the release of ghrelin hormone.

Similar digestive and hormonal activities continue in other parts of the digestive system.

What is the Structure of the Gastrointestinal System?

The tubular structure of the gastrointestinal tract basically consists of four layers. Tubular wall structure from inside to outside; mucosa – submucosa – muscularis propria – serosa. Although the wall structure of the digestive system shows structural changes in accordance with the functions of the organs, the tubular structure ensures the functioning of the system in our body by providing the mixing and pushing forward of the foods.

Mucous or mucus is the ectodermic origin, covering, mucus secreting membrane that forms the outermost layer in some internal organs and cavities opening to the outside. It is an epithelial structure. It takes part in the system in absorption and secretion.

The submucosa is the vascular connective tissue between the mucosa and the muscle layer. It contains elastic fibers and is a loose connective tissue layer. Here, blood vessels, nerves, lymph vessels and lymphoid tissue elements are parts of the system and functioning, and the mucous layer gives special structures in different parts of the digestive tract.

Muscularis propria is the main muscle structure in the gastrointestinal system that shows two layers, circular and longitudinal.

In the serosa system, the serous membrane that covers the internal organs in the body cavities is the visceral membrane, and the second layer that covers the body wall is the smooth layer called the parietal membrane.

The majority of cancers in the digestive system originate from the innermost layer, the mucosa.

What are Gastrointestinal System Diseases?

This system, whose main task is digestion, has a risk group that includes a wide variety of diseases, including the digestive tract and digestive organs. In our age, the main center of many diseases is “Gastrointestinal system“.

Most of the other diseases caused by these diseases can disappear spontaneously when the “main disease” disappears, or they can be resolved with “drug treatments”.

In cases where it is not possible to be treated with medication, the risks of diseases related to surgery are among the situations that may be encountered. The Gastrointestinal system diseases that have been mentioned frequently recently are listed below;

• Reflux discomfort
• Indigestion problems
• Constipation & Piles (Hemorrhoids)
• Anus Fissure
• Colitis
• Pancreatic Inflammations
• Cancers (Stomach, Intestine, Liver, Pancreas and Esophagus)
• Stomach Ulcer & bleeding
• Gastritis Problems
• We frequently see various Gastrointestinal system diseases such as Gallstones and Inflammations.

In short, in the digestive system; Although there are hundreds of different diseases from constipation and dyspepsia to cancer, these diseases also offer a wide range of treatment options, from drug treatment to surgical treatment and organ transplantation.

Alternatives in treatment are increasing day by day and there are many recent developments in diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal system diseases. To give brief information about the most common diseases;

Reflux; In this disease, which is known as gastroesophageal reflux, in general terms “reflux” among the people, stomach contents, stomach acid or bile, come back to the esophagus. Due to its short duration, reflux is usually not noticed when it first starts. However, prolonged and repeated reflux complaints during sleep indicate “pathological reflux” and may cause ulcers. Reflux, which can progress the picture up to Barret’s esophagus, is one of the diseases that must be treated.

Gastritis; Gastritis, known as a kind of inflammation of the gastric mucosa, is seen in two ways. The complaint of gastritis, which presents an acute or chronic picture, may first cause erosion and then ulceration if it progresses. Gastritis caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria should also not be forgotten.

There are many reasons that can cause hemorrhoids; but often the cause of hemorrhoids is not fully understood. If hemorrhoids are located under the skin on the outside of the anus, they are called external, and if they are located in the last part of the large intestine, which we call the rectum, they are called internal hemorrhoids.

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How Are Gastrointestinal System Diseases Treated?

Digestive system diseases are very common nowadays, but necessary precautions are taken late. Before waiting for the disease to occur, some precautions can be taken. Especially a healthy and balanced diet is indispensable for the health of the digestive system.

Consumption of adequate fiber food supports the system, and drinking enough water relaxes the system. Nutrition is of great importance in the prevention or treatment of digestive system diseases.

Gastrointestinal system is one of the main systems of our body and is a system where many diseases are seen. Advances in diagnosis and treatment, increase in awareness level provide more effective treatments for diseases.

With the development of endoscopic methods such as gastroscopy and colonoscopy in the diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal system diseases, the ability to see the inside of the organs directly and the endoscopic treatment of some diseases greatly facilitates the treatment of system diseases.

On the other hand, with the developments in laparoscopy, many surgical interventions can now be performed laparoscopically (closed) (gall bladder, reflux surgery, obesity surgery, colorectal surgery…).

With the combination of knowledge in surgical treatment and technology, much more successful surgeries are performed, and it is more possible to treat diseases more effectively, to control diseases before they progress through early diagnosis, and to maintain quality of life in today’s conditions.

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