The Path of Food through the Digestive System and Each Organā€™s Role in the Digestive Process, Plus Two Digestive Dysfunctions that Impact your Health

Jan 12, 2021

The digestion system is remarkable. Food moves first through our mouth where the saliva helps break down the food and turns into enzymes which then go through the esophagus to the stomach. After the stomach, it goes to the small intestine and then the large intestine, followed by the colon, rectum, and eventually the anus. These digestive organs break the food into smaller parts so we can excrete, because of the digestive juices which include stomach acid, bile, and enzymes that break the food down. The intestines break down the food into their smallest parts so they can absorb them which gets distributed to the body which uses it to build and nourish cells to provide the body energy. The intestines are where nutrient absorption happens and then the elimination of indigestible food. 

Two digestive dysfunctions that can occur and how they impact one's health:

1. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS):

IBS has become a common disorder and affects the large intestine. Known causes of IBS are said to be from gastroenteritis (a severe bout of diarrhea), from a virus, bacteria including bacterial overgrowth, poor diet (processed foods), and too much stress including people who experienced a lot of stress in childhood. Symptoms include cramping, pain, anxiety, depression, bloating, gas, constipation, and or diarrhea. People with IBS often feel irritated and disappointed with their digestion system and will have to watch their diet and avoid certain foods, eat a clean whole food diet, do some emotional healing, and perhaps even do a gut cleanse. If I had IBS I would stay away from alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, large heavy meals, fried foods, excessively fatty foods, dairy (be dairy-free), refined grains (go gluten-free), and refined sugars. I do believe IBS can be healed, or go away forever, but it can take time, patience and perseverance, and commitment to a new lifestyle and diet changes. 

2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD):
IBD is a fairly new term for the name for a group of conditions that cause the digestive system to become inflamed. The most common types of IBD are colitis and Crohn's disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that IBD is the result of a defective immune system, and is believed that a properly functioning immune system attacks foreign organisms, such as viruses and bacteria, to protect the body and bowel. Other causes of IBD are said to be allergic reactions, infections, parasites, drug-induced colitis. If I had IBD I would make diet and lifestyle changes, and focus on strengthening my immune system. Symptoms of IBD include pain, fever, brain fog, diarrhea, and weakened immunity.