Gastrointestinal diseases affect the stomach and intestines, which is called the gastrointestinal tract. There are a variety of diseases, and they range from mild to severe and vary in symptoms. The main job of the stomach is to digest the foods we eat, by mixing the ingested food with enzymes and hydrocloric acid. When this process is disrupted, for example, a gastrointestinal disease will develop. These diseases include:
Gastritis: inflammation of the gastric mucous membrane used in digestion
Constipation or diarrhea
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): caused by sensitivity of nerves in the bowel
Peptic ulcer: caused by a stomac-lining infection
As you've read in earlier chapters stress and anxiety wield power over the gastrointestinal tract, for stomach aches are one of the most common symptoms associated with stress and anxiety. All the functions associated with this tract, such as eating, digestion, and elimination are moderated by signals from nerve cells and hormones, which can be altered and disrupted due to anxiety.