Patients suffering from functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID) may have several types of difficulties in gastrointestinal functioning. These can include, poor motility causing vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, bloating and related difficulties in gastrointestinal functioning.. Such chronic symptoms may also cause additional distress both emotional and physical.

Gastrointestinal Treatments

The treatment of GI disorders differs based on the specific type of GI disorder that the patient is suffering from. There is a wide range of treatments available for FGIDs, ranging from dietary interventions to psychological interventions.

1) Probiotic treatments have been found to be useful in treating abdominal bloating, a sense of indigestion and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) because of the influence of the gut microbes on the brain-gut interactions. For people with IBS or related FGIDs, the homeostasis maintained by the gut microbes is disrupted, probiotics then help to build up this equilibrium. In other words, probiotics are supplements that help maintain a healthy balance between the good and bad bacteria in the intestinal system. Lactobacillus GG, Saccharomyces boulardii, and Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 are some probiotics that have been effective in clinical trials.

2) For adults suffering from gastroparesis, prokinetic agents are commonly prescribed. These agents not only help to improve motility, but also relieve patients of all the symptoms that are associated with delayed gastric emptying. The specific prokinetic agents that are used to treat FD come with their fair share of side-effects. While domperidone and metoclopramide may help with gastric motility, they may have side-effects like fatigue, agitation, and drowsiness. Erythromycin is an effective prokinetic agent but only in small doses; when you increase the dosage, it reduces the gastric accommodation. Functional dyspepsia is associated with early fullness after eating or a burning sensation in the upper abdomen. For these conditions proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) muscle relaxants of the upper stomach (e.g., buspirone) or antidepressants (e.g., mirtazapine) have been shown to help this condition.

3) Antidepressants can be prescribed to patients suffering from FGIDs, specifically tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) for pain and mirtazapine or olanzapine for nausea and vomiting. They are found to be useful because they have an effect on the central as well as the peripheral nervous system. The patients are likely to feel good psychologically when you prescribe antidepressants because one of their main functions is to regulate the mood of the person.

4) Nutrition therapy affects the patient’s stomach and digestive system directly. The right nutritional support can go a long way in relieving symptoms and preventing any recurrence. Fiber softens the stools,which is helpful for constipation. A diet that is rich in fiber may also help people suffering from milder IBS with constipation to some extent. Another diet that can be used under nutrition therapy is the low-fructose diet. Fructose is easily available in the market today – it is used in juice, candies and sodas. Higher intake of fructose can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as chronic abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and nausea. Finally a low FODMAP diet is useful for people suffering from IBS with diarrhea.

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