Our digestive system begins as we start chewing the food and ends with the excretion of the food from our body. The entire process of digestion occurs at various stages, including the mouth, stomach, intestines, and anus, with each part playing a distinctive function in the process of digesting our fuel, i.e., food. 


As much as the brain and heart play an important role in our survival, the microbes in our gut and large intestine play an equally important role in our health and well-being. The microbes in the gut are also influenced by various other factors, such as demographics, heredity, and the medications you are taking. 


Gastroenterology is a pivotal branch of medicine that supports our health and well-being. The branch focuses on diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases and disorders related to the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. 


Today, let’s learn in detail about the entirety of gastroenterology and digestive care


What is gastroenterology?


Gastroenterology (from the Greek gaster- "belly,"  -énteron "intestine,"  and -loga "study of") is a branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders.


The function of the digestive system is to move food through the GI tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, and gall bladder. Digestion, absorption of nutrients, and excretion of waste through defecation are all functions of the digestive system. 


Healthcare professionals who specialize in the field of gastroenterology are called gastroenterologists


The process of the digestive system

The process of digestion, as said above, starts with the food in the mouth. The food is ground up by teeth with saliva, making it easy to swallow. The enzymes in saliva break the carbohydrates into sugars. On swallowing, the muscular contractions of the oesophagus make the food reach the stomach. 


Upon swallowing, the food reaches the stomach by passing through the sphincter, a ring-like muscle that helps regulate the flow and also prevents the food from re-entering the oesophagus. In the stomach, the food is mixed with gastric juices, where it is broken down mechanically and chemically. The food is then passed through the second sphincter into the small intestine, called the duodenum. 


In the small intestine, food is then mixed with digestive enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the liver, which help break down fats. The lower parts of the intestine, jejunum, and ileum absorb nutrients through finger-like projections called villi. Through the capillaries connected to the villus, nutrients enter the bloodstream. 


After the absorption of the nutrients, the waste then enters the large intestine, where it is stored in the rectum and passed through the anus. 


Day-to-day digestive issues

Most gastroenterologists list the following as the most common digestive disorders: 


Digestive Issues
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Occurs due to stomach acid frequently flowing back into the esophagus, causing continued discomfort and inflammation. 


  • Peptic Ulcers: This happens due to a hole in the mucous membrane lining of the stomach duodenum, or oesophagus. 


  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is usually characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. It’s a chronic disorder. 


  • Gallstones: occur due to the hardening of deposits in the gall bladder. It causes severe pain and also obstructs the normal flow of bile. 


  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Chronic inflammation of the digestive system is a characteristic of diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.


Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Digestive System


Although digestive conditions may require medical attention and help, most digestive disorders and problems can be maintained and kept under the radar by making a few lifestyle changes.


  1. Healthy Diet: Diet plays a crucial role in maintaining better gut health. Foods rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains support bowel function and a healthy gut microbiome. It is also pivotal to stay hydrated, incorporate probiotics, and exercise regularly in order to maintain an ideal gut system. 
  2. Exercise for Gut Health: Regular physical activity lowers the risk of digestive diseases, encourages bowel motions, and improves digestion efficiency. 
  3. Managing Stress for Better Digestion: Deep breathing exercises and other stress-reduction strategies can have a favorable impact on digestion, supporting the digestive system.

Furthermore, the following tips also prove important in maintaining a healthier gut. 

  • Limit caffeine intake. 
  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep. 
  • Limit processed and junk foods. 
  • Quit alcohol 

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy a life free from most gut-related symptoms and nourish your body at the same time.

The importance of visiting the gynecologist 


When you have persisting symptoms that cause discomfort and affect your quality of life, it is important to address the issues and visit a gastroenterologist. A visit to the gastroenterologist is essential to treat or prevent certain conditions, which may get problematic if left untreated. 


If you feel any one of the following symptoms, please visit your healthcare professional or a gastroenterology hospital for effective treatment. 


  • Rectal bleeding
  • Leakage/underwear stains
  • Bowel movement urges that are hard to control
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Pale-colored stools
  • Dark urine


As we navigate the workings of the digestive system, it's imperative to emphasize the importance of preventive care, healthy lifestyle choices, and early detection in maintaining gastrointestinal health. 


By fostering a holistic approach that integrates medical knowledge, dietary habits, and emotional well-being, we can optimize digestive function and promote overall vitality.


By maintaining a symbiotic relationship with our gut, we can pave the way for a healthier and more active future for our family and community alike. 


We, Oxymed, are one of the best gastroenterology hospitals in Chennai, with an expert team of doctors and cutting-edge technology to better serve our patients. 


Check out our website for any queries, or come visit us directly.