Let’s face it, the eating habits of most of our countrymen are not particularly healthy. Add to that the propensity to not exercise, have oily foods, and eat till late in the evening—and we have a classic gastrointestinal disease at hand that needs urgent care by a gastroenterologist.
However, apart from poor eating habits, other gastrointestinal issues like hepatitis c have taken a form of epidemic in our county. Many of the hospital admissions in government hospital are due to complications of this disease—like blood in vomiting or stool.
According to the gastroenterology department of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), there were as many as 87,790 visits of patients in the hospital due to gastric issues, in the year 2017-2018. This figure shows a 30 percent increase in patient number, compared to the previous year. Patients sought treatment for gastric ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, complications of hepatitis, H. Pylori infection, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and pancreatitis.
Furthermore, the number of pediatric patients presenting with gastrointestinal issues in Pakistan is rising. Data from PIMS suggests that over 20,000 children presented to the hospital for gastric issues. The culprit could be a lack of clean drinking water, lack of healthy eating and anxiety.
This rise in gastrointestinal diseases does not go unnoticed. Pakistan Network of Liver and Gastroenterology (PNLG) has decided to launch sessions for public health awareness, and also train GPs and young doctors for effective treatment of GI issues. The objective is to create awareness among the masses when it comes to dealing with these diseases, and even preventing them. The rise in GI issues is mostly among the female population of Pakistan, but they are reluctant to seek treatment from male healthcare providers.
Here is a list of common gastrointestinal diseases that plague our region:
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GERD is a common issue among people. It is seen when acid in the stomach frequently flows back to the oesophagus. This backwash of acid can irritate the lining of the oesophagus (tube connecting the mouth and stomach) and even cause pain and discomfort. Lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication can greatly alleviate this disease.
This occurs due to ingestion of contaminated food or water. It causes the inflammation of the stomach and intestinal lining, thus causing discomfort, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea. The common culprits are viruses, bacteria and parasites. The symptoms can last from a few days to even a week. In the summer, gastroenteritis usually takes the form of an epidemic in Pakistan. The best way to treat gastroenteritis is to take a break from eating so that the stomach settles. It is also important to take rehydration fluids—as electrolyte imbalance can further aggravate diarrhoea.
Another common ailment in our population especially the females is constipation. A lack of a balanced diet and exercise are the main causes of this condition. Healthy lifestyle options, regular exercise and plenty of water can go a long way in combating this condition. Other options include chia seeds, flaxseed, ispaghol and over the counter medication.
If you are facing any of the aforementioned gastrointestinal issues, then seek professional help from competent gastroenterologists in your city. Book an appointment with top gastroenterologists in Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.