Gastrointestinal DisorderGastrointestinal Disorder Resource Center: Lifestyle Tips, Organizations & Treatment Options

Commonly asked questions about gastrointestinal disorders:

What are Gastrointestinal Disorders?

According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, gastrointestinal mobility is defined by the movements within the digestive system and the transit of its contents.

Functional GI and motility disorders cannot be diagnosed in a traditional way. No inflammatory, infectious, or structural abnormality can be seen by commonly used examination, x-ray or laboratory test. Problems include the nerves or muscles in any portion of the digestive tract and do not function in a coordinated fashion.

What are the Types of Gastrointestinal Disorders?

Many digestive diseases have similar symptoms, so learning how to recognize which ones you are experiencing is crucial and must be discussed with your doctor. Listed are the three main types of Gastrointestinal disorders:

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten damages the small intestine. This then leads to damage to the villi, small finger-like protections lining the small intestine that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi is damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. It causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Although the symptoms are uncomfortable, IBS doesn’t cause changes in bowel tissue or increase the risk of colorectal cancer.


Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lowest part of the rectum and anus. Sometimes the walls of the blood vessels can stretch and become significantly thinner, often causing the veins to bulge and get irritated. This is one of the most common causes of rectal bleeding.

Although, hemorrhoids are rarely dangerous and usually clear up in a couple of weeks, it is always best to see your doctor and make sure it is not anything more serious.

Gastrointestinal Disorder Treatment Options

Several different drugs can cause gastrointestinal disorders, and therefore should be avoided when treating the condition. However, pharmacotherapy can be useful for some patients.

  • Gastric preprandial dysrhythmia can lead to impaired gastric emptying, which can contribute to irregular absorption of drugs from the small intestine and thus disable response fluctuations of the therapy.
  • Cognitive Interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy have been successful in controlling abdominal pain in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Surgery is not a common form of treatment with gastrointestinal disorders. It is only commonly used in certain cases. For example, for patients with idiopathic constipation that doesn’t respond to medical therapies, patients with incapacitating symptoms, or patients whose nutritional diet is affected and require surgery to alleviate pain.

Gastrointestinal Disorder Organizations

Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease

Mission: The mission of the CGIBD is to promote and enhance multidisciplinary digestive disease research. Services include laboratories that provide training and technical support, a scientific enrichment program, and a professional environment with experts in faculty.


Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders, Inc.

Mission: To serve as an integral educational resource that concerns digestive motility diseases, disorders that function as an information base for members of the medical and scientific communities. Services provided include educational meetings for health care providers, resources, and support groups.


Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF)

Mission: To provide services and support for those with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis through programs of awareness, education, advocacy, and research. Services provided include educational events for health care providers and patients, public service announcements, publications for health care providers and patients, resources, and support groups.


  • 20350 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 240. Woodland Hills, CA 91364
  • Email:
  • Internet:
  • Phone: 818-716-1513

Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)

Mission: To cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improve the quality of life for children and adults affected. Services include advocacy and public policy, chapter locator, educational programs, meetings, events for health care providers, physician locator, research, and support groups.


  • 733 Third Avenue, Suite 510. New York, NY 10017
  • Email:
  • Internet:
  • Phone: 1-800-932-2423

Gastro-Intestinal Research Foundation (GIRF)

Mission: To raise funds for clinical and laboratory research in digestive diseases in the Gastroenterology Section at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and promote the education of the public regarding issues of digestive health. Services include elaborate research.


  • 70 East Lake St, Suite 1015. Chicago, IL 60601
  • Email:
  • Internet:
  • Phone: 312-332-1350

Pediatric/Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER)

Mission: To gather and disseminate information on pediatric gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and related disorders to both the medical community and general public; provide educational and emotional support to patients with GER, their families, and professionals; and promote research into the causes, treatments, and eventual cure for pediatric GER.


Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES)

Mission: To provide leadership in surgery — particularly gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgery — and to optimize patient care through education, research, and innovation. Services include continuing medical education, educational programs and meetings for health care providers, practice and clinical guidelines, and publications for health care providers and patients.


International Gastrointestinal Disorder Organizations

International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder

Mission: To inform, assist, and support people affected by gastrointestinal disorders. Services include advocacy and public policy, information for the media, publications for health care providers and patients, and a support group locator.


  • 700 West Virginia Street, Suite 201. Milawaukee, WI 53204
  • Email:
  • Internet:
  • Phone: 1-888-964-7176

TEF/VATER International

Mission: To provide support for adults seeking information about babies with vertebral defects, imperforate anus, tracheoesophageal fistula, renal defects, esophageal atresia, and tracheoesophageal fistula. Services include extensive resources.


International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders

Mission: To inform, assist, and support people affected by gastrointestinal or digestive disorders. This includes raising awareness among the public and professionals about functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders in adults and children, supporting research, and facilitating meaningful action to improve life for all who are affected.


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