WHAT DO WE MEAN BY FUNCTIONAL BOWEL DISORDER?
The gut is in fact one long organ of digestion. It runs from the mouth to the anus and is approximately six metres in length. Although sections of it become specialised for different activities, it is essentially a hollow muscular tube. For effective digestion to occur, the gut must propel ingested material all the way along its length, and prevent excessive back flow throughout.
The gastro-intestinal (GI) organs are part of a very primitive system, and the first that organisms developed during evolution. The connections to and from it therefore are very intricate and variable, particularly those that link it to the nervous system and brain. The gut and brain in fact often act as a single highly complex unit (brain-gut-axis) and this also governs how sensitive we are, and hence how we respond to certain provocations.
The gut also contains billions of bacteria and other microscopic organisms. Many of these are essential to help us with our digestion, however too many of the wrong type, and problems can occur. We are beginning to increasingly realise how important this factor is the health of our GI system and hence our general health.
Sometimes, the function of the gut does not as work effectively as it can. Problems can arise, and the brain perceives some of these as symptoms. How bad these symptoms are depended on how affected the function is, and how the brain perceives the signals it receives.
Some distinct conditions with certain characteristics are defined as a specific disease such as reflux and certain motility disorders. In many cases, however there are a combination of problems which do not neatly fit into a disease category, but fit in somewhere along a wide spectrum of bowel disorder.
Our patients say . . .
I wanted to say thank you for everything you have done for me by offering me the LINX Surgery and completely changing my quality of life for the better.
Following my Heller Cardiomyotomy I am pleased to tell you that at this moment it would appear to be 100% successful. It is no exaggeration to say it has transformed my life.
After nearly four years of pain and sickness every time I ate or drank, I can now do both normally without any sign of pain or sickness at all. It has made a tremendous difference to my life.
I cannot thank you enough for your great care through my surgery. Great to be able to eat normally.
Thank you so much for giving me back the enjoyment of eating and drinking everything again. For so long my acid reflux has dominated my life, making it rather miserable at times but since my operation I am one hundred per cent better and can’t believe the difference it has made, it’s just wonderful.
I just want to say a huge BIG thank you to for doing my hiatus hernia operation – I feel like a new person and am so grateful for all your care and consideration that has made such a difference for me.
I would just like to say a huge thank you for the exceptional support I received from you. I’m happy to say I am eating normally again and am totally reflux free. Keep on doing the wonderful job you do.
I have no acid reflux problems and it has made such a difference for my lifestyle. Thank you very, very much for all that you have done for me.
Thank you very much for operating on me. I am now relishing in the consumption of double cream, pate, cheese and butter a thoroughly enjoying putting my weight back on!
I must tell you how wonderful it is not to suffer constant acid reflux anymore it’s amazing. Thank you for everything.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF FUNCTIONAL BOWEL DISORDER?
There is an enormous range of symptoms which fit in with functional bowel disorder. Many overlaps with symptoms of common gastro-intestinal conditions including reflux, hiatus hernia, gallstones, ulcer disease and diverticular disease. Indeed, many of these conditions also exist on the background of functional bowel disorder, so it may be difficult to differentiate between them.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a certain type of functional bowel disorder. Some of the common symptoms include pain or discomfort in the chest, upper, middle or lower abdomen; bloating; heartburn; regurgitation; difficulty in swallowing; nausea; vomiting; diarrhoea or loose motions; constipation and problems with defecation. These can be very variable, and come and go, sometimes being extremely severe and sometimes not be there at all. Several symptoms can occur at the same time.
All sorts of factors may affect these symptoms including diet, activities, mood, stress, anxiety and general health. If symptoms deteriorate or are not well controlled, then this can have a profound and negative detrimental impact of quality of life and wellbeing. Functional bowel disorders may also affect other body systems (e.g. respiratory, immune) and result in nutritional deficiencies and psychological problems.