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Introduction to Diagnosis of Digestive Disorders

By

Jonathan Gotfried

, MD, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Last full review/revision Apr 2021| Content last modified Apr 2021

Disorders that affect the digestive (gastrointestinal) system are called digestive disorders. Some disorders simultaneously affect several parts of the digestive system, whereas others affect only one part or organ. (See also Overview of the Digestive System Overview of the Digestive System The digestive system, which extends from the mouth to the anus, is responsible for receiving food, breaking it down into nutrients (a process called digestion), absorbing the nutrients into... read more .)

These tests can help a doctor locate, diagnose, and sometimes treat a problem. Some tests require the digestive system to be cleared of stool, some require fasting, and others require no preparation.

Although diagnostic tests can be very useful in diagnosing the presence or absence of certain medical disorders, they can also be quite expensive and, in rare cases, cause bleeding or injury. It is important to discuss risks and benefits of a test with the doctor.

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Test your knowledge

Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are dilated, twisted (varicose) veins in the wall of the rectum and anus (anorectal area). Increased pressure in the veins of the anorectal area can lead to hemorrhoids. Which of the following is NOT a common cause of increased pressure that may lead to hemorrhoids?
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