• The appendix is a small worm-shaped tube that projects from the large intestine near the point where it joins the small intestine, in the lower right side of your abdomen. It has no known function now, but may have played a role in our ancient ancestors who ate a much higher fibre diet. Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, usually requiring surgical treatment.

  • Diverticulosis is an extremely common condition characterized by the presence of small outpouchings (diverticulae) of the wall of the large intestine (colon). In North America, 50% of people over the age of 50 have some diverticulosis of the colon (diverticulosis of the small intestine is extremely uncommon).

  • An anal fissure, or fissure-in-ano, is a crack in the lining of the lower anal canal and can be one of several possible causes for anal pain. The lower anal canal is an exquisitely sensitive area of skin and can produce fairly significant signals of pain if it is damaged. Fissures begin as a small tear or ulceration, due to either a bout of diarrhea or sometimes a particularly large bowel movement.

  • Gallstones are classified as cholesterol stones, calcium bilirubinate stones (pigment stones), and calcium carbonate stones, which are extremely rare. Pure stones, however, are almost never found. All gallstones contain variable amounts of bile pigments, cholesterol, calcium carbonate, and apatite, and their core usually consists of bile pigments or mucoprotein, which is secreted by the inner lining of the gallbladder, also known as the epithelium.

  • The focus of this article is on a condition known as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, and lots of interesting findings have been presented at the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) annual meetings on this condition. IBS is a very frustrating condition that is said to affect up to 20% of North Americans, and it is much more prevalent in women.

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a term used to describe two similar, yet distinct conditions: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These diseases affect the digestive system and cause the intestines to become inflamed, develop ulcerations, bleed easily, scar, and sometimes narrow. Symptoms of IBD include abdominal pain, cramping, weight loss, fatigue, and diarrhea.

  • The diaphragm is a muscle that helps us breathe and it separates the chest from the abdomen. Your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach, is located above your diaphragm. Your stomach is normally located below your diaphragm. A natural hole in your diaphragm allows your esophagus and stomach to meet.

  • Most people who think they have hemorrhoids are actually mistaken. We've all been convinced by clever advertising for hemorrhoid creams that any skin irritation around the anus is a symptom of hemorrhoids. The truth is hemorrhoids rarely cause significant symptoms and when they do, over-the-counter remedies are not going to solve the problem.

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