The gastrointestinal tract comprises several organs, all of which are used for digestion and the absorption of food. If you have a disease of the gastrointestinal tract (Gastrointestinal tract) it is mostly a disease of a single organ, but it can also be a disease of several organs. The gastrointestinal tract includes the esophagus (Esophagus), the stomach, the duodenum (Duodenum), the small intestine (Jejunum and ileum), the large intestine (colon), the rectum (rectum) as well as the anus (anus).

Causes of gastrointestinal diseases

There are various causes which lead to a disease of the gastrointestinal tract. A distinction is made between diseases that medicinal can be treated and do not require surgery (for example Flatulence, one Food intolerance) and diseases that one surgery need (for example a Appendicitis or a tumor).

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All gastrointestinal disorders that one Require surgery become the surgical gastrointestinal disorders summarized. This area of ​​medicine is also known as gastroenterological Surgery.

Starting with the esophagus (Esophagus) there are two diseases that require surgical intervention:

  • First there is that Esophageal carcinoma. This is one malicious (malignant) tumor in the esophagus, which is particularly common in patients of Asian origin.
  • Also a so-called Reflux esophagitis may require surgery. This is a Inflammation of the esophagus. This inflammation is caused by the very acidic and therefore harmful stomach acid, which in such patients repeatedly passes into the esophagus due to a lack of obstruction and there gradually the Mucous membrane harms and thus inflames. Reflux, i.e. the passage of stomach acid into the esophagus, is promoted by high-fat foods, chocolate and increased coffee consumption.
  • Also the stomach can cause problems that require surgical intervention. These include, for example Stomach ulcers, by excessive alcohol consumption can arise. Such gastric ulcers should be identified as soon as possible and removed surgically, otherwise they will develop Gastric cancer, so vicious Stomach tumors which can then still be surgically removed, but are associated with an increased death rate.
  • In the area of ​​the stomach, however, can also Constrictions be made. For seriously ill Diabetes mellitus For patients, a narrowing of the stomach can be a huge step forward in therapy to contain the disease again. Mainly, however, are stomach constrictions severely obese people made to their To reduce weight as effectively and permanently as possible.
  • Also Thin-or Large intestine may have conditions that require surgery. On the one hand, there is a large class of inflammatory bowel disease, for example the Crohn's disease or the Ulcerative colitis. In addition, in this area of ​​the Gastrointestinal tract carcinomaMalignant tumors that have to be surgically removed so that they do not spread to other tissue.
  • Other causes of surgery can be bleeding or inflammatory diverticula be. Diverticula are small protrusions in the intestine that do not cause problems in all cases. Often a person lives forever with "his“Diverticulum without even realizing it. However, if there are symptoms that are associated with an inflammatory reaction, the diverticulum should be removed immediately. In this case one speaks of a acute abdomen as the patient experiences sudden very severe pain.
  • The cause for surgical intervention can also be rectum, so that rectum and the anus (nach) be. There are different ones here pus-filled capsules (Abscesses) or Fistulas (Connections between two organs), which usually only require a small intervention. Also hemorrhoids are among the diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that require surgical intervention, but do not pose a significant health risk. However, there are too malignant tumors in the rectal and anal areas that require surgical intervention.

Read more on the topic: rectal cancer

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To a diagnosis To be able to pose, the doctor must first determine the location of the pain and the disease. To do this, he first introduces Patient talk, the anamnesis. The patient can, for example, provide information about the exact location and intensity of the pain. The doctor then takes the patient scan (palpate). If necessary, if the diagnosis is unclear Blood drawn will be to see if maybe Inflammation parameters have risen or there may be a Ultrasound examination or one CT scan be performed. In particularly unclear cases, it can also help the patient Contrast media takes to himself then im X-ray image find the exact cause of gastrointestinal disease.

Frequency distribution

Gastrointestinal diseases are one of them most common diseases in Germany. Alone Appendicitis (appendicitis) is operated 127,000 times a year in Germany. The probability one Diverticulum getting sick and getting sick from it increases with age and is already 30% among 60-year-olds. Thus, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are among the most popular diseases.


Depending on which gastrointestinal disease is present, the Symptoms be very different:

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  • Malignant tumors, no matter in which area of ​​the gastrointestinal tract, they usually only become noticeable very late because they do not lead to pain.
  • Of the Reflux esophagitis is usually noticeable through pain after the belching, compared to heartburn.
  • A Gastric ulcer or a Stomach tumor are often noticed when the patient no longer feels like consuming alcohol or when he strongly rejects high-fat foods, especially meat. It also occurs frequently nausea and Vomit.
  • Inflammatory diseases of the small or large bowel usually make themselves through a changed chair, mostly the change between diarrhea (Diarrhea) and Constipation (Constipation) noticeable. In addition, there is sometimes severe pain in the abdomen (abdomen).
  • Also a Diverticulum makes itself felt in a similar way, the pain here being through a Acute abdomen are marked, that is, they occur quickly and very intensely.
  • Diseases in the area of Rectum are quite common. Especially hemorrhoids affect more and more patients. The patients usually complain of an increasing Itching in the area of ​​the anus.
  • The symptoms in one abscess are often more unspecific. However, since it is a purulent inflammation, it usually occurs fever and chills. If there is an externally visible abscess on the bottom, the patient often has pain when sitting.
  • Also one fistula is usually associated with inflammation and can be difficult to diagnose under certain circumstances. If the fistula is in the area of ​​the anal canal, however, there is usually pain and the escape of blood and / or pus, which is then caught in the underwear.


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The illnesses discussed here usually all require surgical intervention. However, drug treatment is also very important.

All of the gastrointestinal disorders mentioned here require one surgery. In addition, however, one is usually required drug treatment:

  • At a malignant tumor (Carcinoma) this must be removed and possibly afterwards one chemotherapy be performed.
  • At a Reflux esophagitis Conservative therapy is sufficient in the initial stages, but later becomes one Fundus cuff applied to the upper part of the stomach around the reflux of Stomach acid to prevent.
  • Even with one Gastric ulcer In the beginning, drug therapy is often sufficient, but in more severe cases the ulcer must be surgically removed.
  • At the Crohn's disease it may be that the only therapy option is in the surgical removal of the inflamed section of the intestine lies.
  • In the Ulcerative colitis one also tries to carry out conservative therapy as long as possible. However, complications must either Parts of the intestine, sometimes even the entire large intestine (colon) away become.
  • A Diverticulum is only removed when it causes problems, which does not always have to be the case.
  • Abscesses, Fistulas and hemorrhoids are always removed surgically because the patients are usually symptom-free afterwards. However, anti-inflammatory drugs can also be administered.

Read more about drugs for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases at: Medicines for gastrointestinal diseases.


Very many gastrointestinal diseases are caused by one healthy lifestyle to avoid. Excessive alcohol consumption especially burdens the stomach and can cause too Ulcers and cancer to lead. Very fatty food and excessive coffee consumption promote the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus and thus promote one Reflux esophagitis. Thus a lot can be done for the intestines with the help of a healthy and balanced diet.


After the surgical removal the chances of leading a symptom-free life are usually very good. As long as the cancer is recognized early enough and removed before it could spread, the chances are good here too. This is an exception Gastric cancer, which has very bad prognoses to this day.

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Gastrointestinal tract disease (internal medicine)

All diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that range from the Internal medicine can be found under the following link:

  • Gastrointestinal tract - internal medicine

  • Dermatology-Online 
  • Neurology-Online 
  • Internal Medicine 
  • Schnheitschirurgie 
  • Anesthesia-Online 
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