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Stomach and intestine: Functions and disorders


The stomach and intestine are the most important parts of the gastrointestinal tract, which we pay attention only when they do not function and we have unpleasant sensations. Our civilized way of life, unfortunately, does not help to facilitate the work of the stomach and intestine – office work, fast food and limited mobility lead to typical symptoms, for example, constipation. In this case, intestinal cancer is the third most common cancer in Germany after breast cancer and lung cancer.

Gastrointestinal tract

The human gastrointestinal tract includes all organs that provide food intake, its grinding, passage, splitting into nutrients and their absorption. After the mouth, throat and esophagus follows the stomach – an organ with numerous functions. Gastric acid and enzymes that break down the protein begin to process protein; acidic gastric juice kills almost all bacteria; all the solid particles of food are in the stomach for as long as they do not mix and become liquid. Further, gruel (chyme) moves into the intestine.

In the first part of the intestine (duodenum), juices from the gallbladder and pancreas are mixed – fat digestion can begin. In the next section of the intestine, the absorption of nutrients takes place, and the next section – only the absorption of the liquid with dissolved electrolytes in it. During the daily digestive process, about ten liters of liquid (drink, saliva, gastric juice, bile, pancreas secret, intestinal juices) enter the intestine, which must be sucked back; if this system is broken, they threaten diarrhea and dehydration.

Complaints from the stomach and intestine

Some common diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, we experienced from our own experience. They cause several days of poor health, but still you can cope with the help of home remedies, bed rest and plenty of drinking. Complaints from the stomach and intestine are very diverse, they indicate different symptoms and are often found in combination. It is very rarely, when someone only has pain or only diarrhea as the only symptom.

Frequent complaints and symptoms are pain, feelings of constriction or overcrowding, heartburn, nausea, vomiting of the contents of the stomach or blood, flatulence, diarrhea. Also as symptoms may be singultation, burning sensation, blood or mucus in the stool and other stool changes. Otherwise, if there is no improvement, if severe gastrointestinal infections with fever (indicates infection), inflammation of the gastric mucosa (gastritis) or in case of gastric or duodenal ulcer, it is necessary to seek professional help.

Chronic diseases

Chronic diseases refer to irritable bowel or stomach syndrome; also, lactose intolerance (milk sugar) or food allergy is a common disease characterized by repeated diarrhea after eating certain food. Less common are Crohn’s disease, celiac disease (congenital sprue), or a systemic disease like porphyria. In addition, eating disorders in the form of unnatural eating behavior lead to persistent symptoms from the gastrointestinal tract.

Acute illnesses

With some diseases, it is forbidden to wait for several days until the improvement itself comes – on the other hand, the manifestations of the disease pattern are often so critical that no one dares wait. Specialists talk about an acute abdomen and have in mind suddenly developed diseases that can be life-threatening without treatment. Here we should mention gastric bleeding, inflammation of the cecum, intestinal obstruction (ileus), as well as inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Although the latter is located only near the stomach and intestines, but its inflammation strongly violates their functioning.

The presence of blood in stool is characterized by diverticula, hemorrhoids or intestinal cancer. The latter, however, can develop for a long time without visible signs – so the annual screening for the presence of intestinal cancer is so important. 



All complaints must be clarified through a targeted interview, also called medical history. For example, pain can be in the epigastrium or in the omphalus area, they can be spastic or permanent or may occur before or after eating. Clarification of all these differences will allow the doctor to make the correct diagnosis, as different diseases have different symptoms – and complaints made by the patient.

Examination, palpation, percussion and auscultation

Nobody cannot notice the bloated stomach with flatulence. Palpation of the painful abdomen helps the doctor to determine the cause more accurately. A filled bowel is characterized differently than empty; resistance from the patient (protective voltage) at palpation allows to make a conclusion about the disease.

Tapping on the stomach can reveal fluid between the loops of the intestine, with auscultation the intestine “plays” with splashing, rumbling sounds or does not make any sounds – which can be a sign of constipation. With constant complaints, there is nothing left but to conduct further diagnostics; in addition to the analysis of blood and urine, sometimes invasive methods of examination are necessary.

Blood tests/respiratory tests

Many diseases of the intestine affect the picture of the blood and its indicators. A blood test determines whether the markers of inflammation are increased or the level of the red pigment of the blood is lowered (hemoglobin level) (with bleeding). A respiratory test can detect the presence of gastric bacteria Helicobacter, the most common cause of inflammation of the gastric mucosa and ulcers.

Endoscopy of the stomach and intestine (gastroscopy and colonoscopy)

When the endoscopy of the stomach (gastroscopy) is introduced a thin tube through the mouth and esophagus into the stomach. A small camera provides an overview of the stomach cavity. In this way, an accurate examination of the mucosa of the esophagus and stomach is performed. Suspicious looking areas are taken for analysis (biopsy).

Gastric bleeding can be stopped with this probe. It is even possible to perform ultrasound examination of the liver and pancreas with the help of gastroscopy. Endoscopy of the intestine (colonoscopy) is carried out for the small intestine through the mouth and esophagus, for the large intestine – through the anus. In addition to examination and biopsy, polyps can also be removed (outgrowths of the gut).

Ultrasound, X-ray, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

With ultrasound examination, single intestinal loops are visible, as well as free fluid contained in the case of certain diseases outside the intestine. Radiography in the standing position detects, for example, free air under the dome of the diaphragm during perforation of the stomach ulcer. Computer tomography or magnetic resonance tomography builds a body image from a variety of thin "incisions", so that the slightest changes and ulcers can be detected.

Proper nutrition

In addition to things that can prompt common sense, such as easily digestible food or refusal to eat, plenty of drinking and bed rest, ordinary home remedies - teas, hot water and natural remedies - also feel when you feel full, flatulent and constipated. Curiously, sharp spices can relieve the pain of a sensitive stomach. By the way, did you know that sleep on the left side can relieve heartburn?

In some diseases - with celiac disease or lactose intolerance - it is worth abandoning the corresponding disease of food. It goes without saying that for each disease there is a special approach in terms of diet, medication or other possible activities, such as hospitalization, infusion therapy or surgery.

Nutrition, treatment, cancer screening

Nutrition, treatment, cancer screening are the three most important provisions for a healthy gastrointestinal tract.

  • Eating food rich in ballast substances – enough vegetables and fruits – stimulates digestion and is recognized as a defense against cancer and diverticulosis. Nutrition is currently being evaluated as an important factor in carcinogenesis.
  • The motor activity protects the intestine during its daily work, for a small warm-up during a break, a program consisting of 20 elements is proposed. So, the intestine is set in motion and you can avoid flatulence and constipation. In addition, motor and relaxing exercises are a balm for the soul and body in such stress-related diseases as gastritis or irritated bowels.
  • Cancer screening is a delicate topic. Bowel cancer is common, but, unfortunately, it is mostly detected very late; and in the early stages it can be treated - in the case when a free screening was conducted! Unfortunately, this means of early detection is used only by every sixth man and every second woman.

If you have doubts or real concerns about your health, contact our clinic for a free consultation or a second opinion. The Clinic of Gastroenterology, Oncology and General Internal Medicine of the City Clinical Hospital in Solingen, Germany is one of the best in Europe.

We have Russian-speaking staff.



Gotenstrasse 1

42653 Solingen

NRW / Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 212/547 - 69 13

+49 (0) 177 540 42 70

+49 (0) 173 203 40 66

Fax: +49 (0) 212/547 - 2288



Gotenstraße 1, 42653 Solingen 
+49 212 547 69 13  l  +49 177 540 42 70  l  +49 173 203 40 66
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