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Intestine disease

Category: Illnesses and disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

 

The Intestine (or bowel, or gut) is the segment of the alimentary canal extending from the pyloric sphincter of the stomach to the anus and consists of two segments, the small intestine and the large intestine.

The small intestine is further subdivided into the duodenum, jejunum and ileum while the large intestine is subdivided into the cecum and colon.

Its purpose is to enable nutrients to be absorbed and provide a route whereby waste products can be expelled from the body.

The stomach and the intestines are finely balanced systems.  The Intestines rely on a complex array of 'gut flora' which performs both a processing and a protective function, filtering the food for essential nutrients and processing it so that it is in the form needed by the body.
It is more like a food processing factory with trillions of workers than a single organ.

For more details see the entry on Intestinal flora in the Science section.

Illnesses and diseases

I have provided some more detailed explanations for specific problems of the intestine notably:

But this catch-all section enables me to add observations which are not specifically covered by these entries.  Other illnesses and diseases include:

Intestinal pseudo obstruction

Malfunction

  • Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction is caused by a malformation of the digestive system, resulting in 'severe impairment in the ability of the intestines to push and assimilate'.
  • Hirschsprung's disease (HD) is a disorder of the abdomen that occurs when part or all of the large intestine or antecedent parts of the gastrointestinal tract have no nerves and therefore cannot function.

 

 

Inflammation

  • Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the intestines. It occurs more frequently than any other disease of the intestines.
  • Ileitis is an inflammation of the ileum.
  • Colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis is a disease of the colon (large intestine), that includes characteristic ulcers, or open sores
  • Appendicitis is inflammation of the vermiform appendix located at the caecum.
  • Diverticular disease occurs when pouches form on the intestinal wall. Once the pouches become inflamed it is known as diverticulitis.
  • Pseudomembranous colitis is an inflammation of the colon.
twisted bowel

Blockage

  • Ileus is a blockage of the intestines
  • Bowel twist or similarly, bowel strangulation.
  • Intussusception - part of the intestine has collapsed into another section of intestine, similar to the way in which the parts of a collapsible telescope slide into one another. This can often result in an obstruction.
Polyps

Polyps

  • Colon polyps – are small outgrowths. They are a concern because of the potential for colon cancer being present microscopically and the risk of benign colon polyps transforming over time into malignant ones.

Bleeding and lesions

  • Angiodysplasia of the colon -

    angiodysplasia is a small vascular malformation of the gut. It is a common cause of otherwise unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding and anaemia. Lesions are often multiple, and frequently involve the cecum or ascending colon, although they can occur at other places.

Symptoms

Pain, bleeding from the anus, bloody stools, bloating and distention, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and/or constipation.  Symptoms also include discomfort in the digestive tract,  failure to thrive (in children), anaemia, headaches, vitamin and/or mineral deficiency.  There may also be chronic fatigue.

Causes

When our immune system is compromised by vitamin deficiency or mineral deficiency or by stress;  or we have served to compromise our defences by upsetting the balance of our stomach acids using, for example, proton pump inhibitors or antacids and heartburn treatments; or we have used medication to suppress the nausea reflex that protects us from harmful ingested substances by making us sick and thus 'throwing them up', a vast range of harmful ingested things can enter the intestines.  Diarrhoea is an indication of infection and the presence of toxic substances, as I have stated in the section on diarhoea it does not need 'treating', but a check should be made to ensure the toxic substance or pathogen has successfully been removed by our system.  Where the diarrhoea has not flushed out the pathogen or toxic substance disease can result and the causes are then:

Food overdose

overload

It doesn't actually matter what the food is, but if we have too much of it, it seems that the body is unable to process it and it can make us ill - it starts acting as a poison. 

Think of the gut flora and enzymes as the processing factory - what happens when we overload factory workers?  Well they either go on strike or they don't process things properly, or they collapse exhausted.  This is what overload does.

Additional problems may be caused by foods the body is just not designed to handle.  Genetically modified foods, artificial colourings and sweeteners, are in essence toxins to the body.  So our factory workers are also having to sift though all the inputs to try to identify dangerous substances from not dangerous substances at the same time they are doing their normal processing.  Again, too many dangerous substances and they collapse exhausted, our defences are breached and we become ill.

Food allergy

The food is being treated in this case as a poison.  The likely result will be diarrhoea, although constipation is not unknown.  You need to turn to the section on Food allergies to understand why a food allergy occurred.

The presence of a food allergy can be tested by you without needing a doctor - a number of reputable laboratories exist that provide simple home test kits to identify the intolerances or allergies.  

 

Viruses

Numerous viruses are able to gain access to our intestines, once the immune system has been compromised and our early defences have been compromised. 

Viruses may cause inflammation and damage.  Enteroviruses, for example, are named by their transmission-route through the intestine (enteric meaning intestinal). 
"A 2007 study suggested that acute respiratory or gastrointestinal infections associated with enterovirus may be a factor in chronic fatigue syndrome".  And

Enterovirus 71 (EV71) infection may be asymptomatic or may cause diarrhea, rashes, and hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). However, EV71 also has the potential to cause severe neurological disease. To date, little is known about the molecular mechanisms of host response to EV71 infection. PMID: 15385252

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children. It is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae. Nearly every child in the world has been infected with rotavirus at least once by the age of five.  There are five species of this virus, referred to as A, B, C, D, and E. Rotavirus A, the most common species, causes more than 90% of rotavirus infections in humans.  The virus infects and damages the cells that line the small intestine and causes gastroenteritis.  And...............

Noroviruses are a major cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks worldwide. Norovirus outbreaks frequently occur as epidemics which appear to be related to both genetic and environmental factors. ... The norovirus genome undergoes continuous change and this appears to be important in the persistence of the virus in the community. .... some norovirus outbreak epidemics involving this genotype are correlated with specific changes in the genome. ....Topics reviewed here include long term excretion of norovirus in some individuals, long term survivability of norovirus in the environment, the role of meteorological factors in the control of norovirus outbreaks and the possible zoonotic transmission of the virus. PMID: 21695033

Norovirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis among adults in America, causing greater than 90% of outbreaks.  Other viruses implicated include the adenoviruses and astroviruses.......

Viral gastroenteritis presents a major public health concern worldwide. ....This review covers the four most common causes of adult viral gastroenteritis, Calicivirirdae (predominantly noroviruses), astroviruses, enteric adenoviruses and rotaviruses  PMID: 21210762

Bacteria

The bacteria Campylobacter jejuni is a major cause of bacterial gastroenteritis, other common types of bacterial cause include Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter species.  In the developing world, especially sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, cholera is a common cause of gastroenteritis,  an infection of the small intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

Micrograph of a colonic pseudomembrane in C. difficile colitis

Toxigenic Clostridium difficile is an important cause of diarrhoea in the elderly and in those who are hospitalized and is frequently associated with antibiotic use. Staphylococcus aureus infectious diarrhea may also occur in those who have used antibiotics. "Traveler's diarrhea" is usually a type of bacterial gastroenteritis. Acid-suppressing medication increases the risk of significant infection after exposure to a number of organisms, including Clostridium difficile, Salmonella, and Campylobacter species. The risk is greater in those taking proton pump inhibitors.

 Pseudomembranous colitis, is often, but not always, caused by the bacterium Clostridium difficile.  There are many more bacteria that appear, in certain circumstances, to be able to get past the stomach and find their way into the intestines.
Salmonella enterica causes substantial morbidity and mortality in humans and animals. Infection and intestinal colonization by S. enterica require virulence factors that mediate bacterial binding and invasion of enterocytes and innate immune cells. PMID: 24454310"

The mucosal lining forms the physical and chemical barrier that protects against pathogens and hostile particles and harbors its own population of bacteria, fungi and archea, known as the microbiota. The immune system controls tolerance of this population of microorganisms that have proven to be beneficial for its host. Keeping its physical integrity and a correct balance with the microbiota, the mucosa preserves its homeostasis and its protective function and maintains host's health. However, in some conditions, pathogens may succeed in breaching mucosal homeostasis and successfully infecting the host. In this review we will discuss the role the mucosa plays in the defense against bacterial pathogens by considering the gap junction protein connexins. We will detail their implication in mucosal homeostasis and upon infection with bacteria in the respiratory and the gastrointestinal tracts. PMID:  24631537

Vaccines

 When we vaccinate someone we give them a dose of a virus or a bacteria in the hope they will build up immunity.  Where the vaccine used in the injection is a live virus, there are instances where it, although apparently vanquished by the immune system, lays low and continues to attack, albeit at a much reduced rate. Very often it embeds itself in adipose tissue, where it is difficult for the immune system to find and attack it.  And it waits for our immune system to become compromised.  

One vaccine being rolled out at the moment is the rotavirus vaccine.....

In 2009 the World Health Organization recommended that the rotavirus vaccine be offered to all children globally. Two commercial rotavirus vaccines exist and several more are in development. ... Since 2000, the implementation of a rotavirus vaccination program in the United States has substantially decreased the number of cases of diarrhea .......

Rotarix is a human, live attenuated rotavirus vaccine containing one rotavirus strain of G1P specificity. In 2010, the FDA recommended that clinicians suspend the use of Rotarix while the agency investigated the finding of DNA from porcine circovirus-1 (PCV1) in the vaccine. Since that time, both FDA and GSK have confirmed the presence of PCV1 in the vaccine.   RotaTeq is a live, oral pentavalent vaccine that contains five rotavirus strains.  A neonatal strain vaccine (G9P11) being developed by Bharat Biotech in India, has the VP4 of bovine rotavirus origin, and all other segments of human rotavirus origin, so we are now manufacturing new live viruses, never unleashed before on an unsuspecting populace.

In contrast, there are two variants of the oral cholera vaccine currently in use: WC-rBS and BivWC. WC-rBS is an inactivated vaccine containing killed whole cells of V. cholerae. BivWC is also an inactivated vaccine.

This may make a few military men sit up and take notice......

Adenoviruses are common pathogens that often are associated with ..... gastrointestinal illness ...During the 1950s and 1960s, up to 10% of recruits were infected with adenovirus.... Beginning in 1971, all military recruits received oral, live, enteric-coated vaccines that were licensed by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective in preventing illness from adenovirus serotypes 4 and 7.  PMID: 11456329

In some ways development of vaccines is putting the cart way before the horse and it is a runaway cart liable to do untold damage.  We do not know the entirety of diseases or illnesses caused by viruses or bacteria, nor do we know precisely whether each one is eradicated by the immune system or simply lies low. 

To give anyone a live virus when this information is not known, carries enormous risk - and one of the risks may be that a child develops IBS or some other intestinal affliction.

Vaccines are known to cause food allergies, as such they contribute indirectly to intestinal problems anyway.  But they may also contribute directly.

 

Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceuticals can severely disrupt the 'flora' in the intestine and thus compromise its function.  Antibiotics have a particularly bad record for causing problems here, but the list of pharmaceuticals that cause intestinal problems is too long to include here. 
Clostridium difficile is a gram-positive, anaerobic, spore-forming bacillus. Usually it does not cause disease unless a patient who is colonized with toxin-producing strains has been treated with antibiotics, particularly those that change the anaerobic flora of the large intestine.PMID: 24427503"

Acne treatments and antidepressants appear to also have  a very bad case history of producing intestinal problems.

from eHealthme case reports:  Since being hospitalized last September with thickening of the stomach liner & bloody stools/severe cramping & diarrhea, I have cut my dosage back on the topamax [migraine and epilepsy drug] hoping that it would help my symptoms. ..... I was originally taking a low dose of 25mg x 2 a day. Now, I take one every other day & I am still experiencing Nast side effects.  I also have a lot of fibroid cysts with one growing on my right ovary. My periods have become more severe, also.  I also had a colonoscopy a week ago to full out chron's & other IBD's. The test showed 2 perforations in my colon which causes me to get deathly ill resulting in a trip to the ER. I have asked several doctors if Topamax could be the cause of my stomach problems & they all said no. Do they not have access to the same info that I find about this evil drug?!!

We do not help ourselves when we use anti-diarrhoea medication, as diarhoea is the body's defence mechanism -  an attempt to expel harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites as well as toxins.  As such by stopping the reaction we simply cause the organism to remain in the body and do harm.  The following provide some links to help you see which pharmaceuticals have been specifically linked with intestinal diseases, the link takes you to the eHealthme website

  • Intestinal strangulation an twisted bowel - LINK
  • Angiodysplasia - LINK
  • Intestinal haemorrhage - LINK, I think it worth pointing out that there are well over 3000 case reports for acne treatments alone
  • Inflammation of the rectum - LINK
  • Intestinal obstruction - LINK for reasons which are not clear, acne medication has a very bad record here over 2000 case reports, but statins, antidepressants and drugs to treat auto-immune diseases can also be found on the list
  • Intestinal polyps - LINK
  • Gastroenteritis - LINK
  • Colitis - LINK
  • Colon cancer - LINK

from eHealthem case reports - Nicole on May, 24, 2012:  I am 40, female & been on Cymbalta [anti depressant]  for about 2 years living in Australia.   I gained over 10kg, massive sugar cravings. I have been of it for about 2-3 months. Seen a naturopath who did a stool test as I had blood & mucuos in my stools. My digestive tract is so out of whack. (awaiting a colonoscopy) Left untreated would lead to colon cancer. - NOT HAPPY! Thanks conventional medicine

Heavy metals and toxins 

At only 23 .................

Both heavy metals and toxins cause inflammation
"Non-absorbed heavy metals have a direct impact on the gut microbiota. In turn, this may impact the alimentary tract and overall gut homeostasis. Our results may enable more accurate assessment of the risk of intestinal disease associated with heavy metal ingestion.PMID: 24325943"


Copper overload can be a particular problem. Copper is an antibacterial agent, it is even used in hospitals to destroy the bacteria on work surfaces.  If you have too much copper in your system it can destroy your intestinal flora.  If you follow the link you will be able to see all the causes of copper imbalance, but three key ones are

  • copper pipes when the drinking water is acidic,
  • pesticides particularly those used on vines for wine making and
  • bad farming practise - where copper is fed as a growth promoter to animals and their slurry spread on fields, note that being a vegetarian does not help here if the crops were grown on the fields on which the slurry was spread.

One very obvious cause of heavy metal expsure is via Dental amalgam fillings leaching mercury.  If you have swallowed inadvertently or during dental procedures part of, or all of, a mercury amalgam filling, for example, and it has not passed quickly through your system, but lingered, caught in the intestines somewhere, you are in deep trouble.  As is your baby if you are pregnant.

Other exposure to both heavy metals and toxins in general can occur via food.  Very sadly Fish these days may contain high levels of mercury.  Our fruit and vegetables may also contain high levels of pesticide and insecticides.

Parasites and Mites

Cats ... a blessing and a curse........

Numerous parasites, including the mite family, attack the intestines and the intestine wall causing inflammation, blockage and lesions.  They include tapeworms, single celled organisms and hookworms.

Ascariasis, for example, is a disease caused by the parasitic roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides. Perhaps as many as one quarter of the world's population are infected, with a prevalence of 45% in Latin America and 95% in parts of Africa. The worms in the intestine may cause malabsorption and anorexia which contribute to malnutrition. The worms can occasionally cause intestinal blockage.

A number of protozoans can cause gastroenteritis – most commonly Giardia lamblia – but Entamoeba histolytica and Cryptosporidium species have also been implicated. As a group, these agents comprise about 10% of cases in children. Giardia occurs more commonly in the developing world, in persons who have traveled to areas with high prevalence, children who attend day care, and in 'men who have sex with men'.

Blastocystis is a single-cell organism that has been reported to produce symptoms of abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhoea in patients.  Studies from research hospitals in various countries have identified high Blastocystis infection rates in patients with IBS symptoms.

Dientamoeba fragilis is a single-cell organism that also produces IBS symptoms - abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Studies have reported a high incidence of infection in developed countries.

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite infects most genera of warm-blooded animals, including humans, but the primary host is the felid (cat) family - see Being with cats.  These parasites cause a whole host of diseases not just intestinal problems.

Physical damage

Surgery can compromise the effectiveness of any of the organs in the gastrointestinal system, although blows to the stomach can also cause problems. 

For example, removal of the gall bladder can result in more infection by invaders, as the gall bladder produces and stores bile, which is released into the small intestine. Wikipedia says that 'Humans can live without a gallbladder', but what they have failed to add is "not for long".

The so called 'gastric sleeve' or 'adjustable gastric banding' operation has an appalling record for producing complications, but very little of this is reported in the medical literature because unbelievably, no monitoring is undertaken.

 

Across all studies [of this Cochrane review] adverse event rates and reoperation rates were generally poorly reported. Most trials followed participants for only one or two years, therefore the long-term effects of surgery remain unclear. PMID: 25105982

Even in the two years, the only recording appears to be of whether weight loss has occurred, other side effects are not recorded.  On sites dedicated to patients, the principle complaint appears to be pain, however, the study described below at least did do some post operative monitoring

Data for patients who underwent LRYGB and LSG in our clinic from 2009 through August 2012 were collected. Early post-operative complications prolonging HS (>5 days) were retrospectively analyzed, highlighting their relative incidence, management, and impact on length of HS.  .. Leakage and bleeding were the most common complications after either procedure. … Prolonged elevation of inflammatory markers was the most common presentation for complications after LSG   PMID:  23846474

Fungal infections

One area where this is particularly prevalent appears to be where antibiotics are used, which then destroy the interal flora and an attempt is made to restore the flora using, for example, probiotics.  These then result in further fungal infection, for example

 

Saccharomyces cerevisiae, known as baker's or brewer's yeast, is used as a probiotic agent to treat gastroenteritis by modulating the endogenous flora and immune system. However, there have been increasing reports of fungemia due to S.cerevisiae and its subspecies S.boulardii.  We highlight a case of S.cerevisiae fungemia in a patient given probiotic treatment for antibiotic-associated diarrhea ….This case emphasized that clinicians should be cautious in case of probiotic application even in encapsulated form.  It is recommended that probiotics should be cautiously used in immunosuppressed patients, people with underlying diseases and low-birth weight babies  PMID:  24819274

in fact anyone, one would have thought.

 Nutritional deprivation

Any form of mineral imbalance, vitamin imbalance, acid/alkaline food imbalance or other food imbalance will result in two things.  In the first place the organs of the gastrointestinal system will no longer operate as effectively.  In the second place, the gut flora described above also needs feeding, so if we deprive the gut flora, we effectively deprive ourselves of their help.  Thus vitamin deficiency or mineral deficiency - lack of sun [vitamin D] or the right foods, can lead to intestinal disease.

But it is also possible to overdose.  The following is but one of the many examples on the eHealthme website of IBS resulting from vitamin overdose from supplements

On Sep, 11, 2014: 38,361 people reported to have side effects when taking Vitamins. Among them, 40 people (0.10%) have Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Trend of Inflammatory bowel disease in Vitamins reports

Birth method

There is a school of thought that says the method of birth of a baby has a bearing on the gut flora it is able to develop

Infants born by cesarean section—particularly cesareans performed before labor begins—don’t encounter the bacteria of the birth canal and maternal rectum. (If a cesarean is performed during labor the infant may be exposed to these bacteria, but to a lesser degree than in vaginal birth.) Instead, bacteria from the skin and hospital environment quickly populate the bowel. As a result, the bacteria inhabiting the lower intestine following a cesarean birth can differ significantly from those found in the vaginally-born baby.  Whatever the mode of delivery, a core gut microbiota is well established within a few weeks of life and persists largely intact into adulthood.

Whether the baby is breast fed and whether it is showered with kisses to its little mouth also have an effect because this is another way that 'good' defensive bacteria can be passed on.  If the poor little soul stays in an incubator in a hospital environment, its bacteria can be radically different to those of a baby delivered at home 'vaginally' as it says above.

Radiation

 

All radiation whether 'cosmic' or electromagnetic impacts our bodies and depending on its frequency it resonates different parts of us.  The reason that nuclear radiation is so dangerous is that it impacts cells, but what we appear to have overlooked is that all radiation impacts some part of us.

Every aggregate in our bodies - organs, cells, the body itself, has natural ‘resonance’.  Resonance is a substance’s natural tendency to oscillate – vibrate – at maximum amplitude at certain frequencies, known as the thing’s resonant frequency.

And the gastrointestinal system has a natural resonance, which, if it subjected to high intensity and fairly constant stimulation can cause  deterioration, degeneration and disease.

Treatment

Symptom based - There are any number of pharmaceuticals whose purpose is to treat the effect of pharmaceuticals or which deal with the pain, but which have no effect on the other causes, which tend to be ignored.

Cause based - find out what is attacking you.  See Healing yourself.  There are observations below which also suggest proven foods which have helped in combating bacteria, viruses etc - see also Eating for health.

One of the most helpful and obvious ways in which many of these causes could be prevented is by improving sanitation and hygiene.  Many countries don't need vaccines they need a sewerage system and accessible clean unpolluted drinking  and washing water.

 

 

 

How it works

Spiritual experiences of the negative sort - hallucinations, visions, near death etc - may be caused by the extreme pain resulting from the condition, or simply poisoning from the toxins.

For the more positive experiences - such as healing -  the observations need to be referenced to see what the mechanism is.

 

References and further reading

  • Mikrobiyol Bul. 2014 Apr;48(2):351-5.  [Saccharomyces cerevisiae fungemia in an elderly patient following probiotic treatment].  [Article in Turkish]  Eren Z1, Gurol Y, Sonmezoglu M, Eren HS, Celik G, Kantarci G.

Related observations