Digestive System Common Pathologies 1

Published on 3rd October 2021


As part of our anatomy and physiology course, ITEC recently changed theri syllabus to incorporate common pathologies. This has been added to our anatomy and physiology e-course, but we would like to share the information for everyone who has done the course and missed this valuable information. It will greatly help you as a therapist when working with the public, to have a basic grounding and knowledge of disease. 


Gastrointestinal cancer refers to malignant conditions of the gastrointestinal tract and accessory organs of digestion, including the oesophagus, stomach, biliary system, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus.

Stomach (gastric) cancer is characterized by a growth of cancerous cells within the lining of the stomach and grows out of control, forming a tumour. It tends to happen slowly over many years.

Risk factors include lymphoma, H.pylori bacterial infections, tumours in other part of the digestive system and stomach polyps.

Coeliac’s disease

A digestive disorder that damages the small intestine.  The body’s immune system overreacts to gluten, the reaction damages the villi that line the small intestine.

The disease is triggered by eating foods containing gluten.

Common symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating and flatulence, indigestion, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, unexpected weight loss, an itchy rash, peripheral neuropathy, ataxia and oedema.


The passing of watery stools more than three times a day.  It is often a symptom of a bowel infection (gastroenteritis) which can be caused by a virus (such as norovirus or rotavirus) or bacteria (such as campylobacter, Clostridium difficile, Escherichia coli, salmonella or shigella)


Flatus (gas) is brought to the rectum and pressurized by muscles in the intestines.  It is expelled through the anus.

When excessive or malodorous, flatus can be a sign of a health disorder such as irritable bowel disorder, celiac disease or lactose intolerance.


Inflammation of the gums, or gingiva.  It commonly occurs because of a film of plaque, or bacteria accumulates on the teeth. It is a non-destructive type of periodontal disease but untreated can progress to periodontitis.


Also known as piles are swellings containing enlarged blood vessels that are found inside or around the rectum and anus.

Symptoms may include bleeding after passing a stool, itching, a lump hanging down outside of the anus, a mucus discharge after passing a stool, soreness and swelling around the anus.


Inflammation of the liver that results from a variety of causes, both infectious and non-infectious. In some instances, hepatitis results from an autoimmune reaction directed against the liver cells of the body.  Can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.

There are seven known hepatitis viruses, which are labelled A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. Hepatitis A, E, and F viruses are transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated food or water (called the fecal-oral route);

The B, C, D, and G viruses are transmitted mainly by blood or bodily fluids.


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