b'When Things Go WrongAs complicated as digestion is, its no wonder most of us have experienced digestive upset at one time or another. While most digestive upsets are nothing more than a minor inconvenience, if symptoms become chronic it may signal that the body isnt getting all the nutrients it needs for optimal health. Here are the six most common conditions that can upend your gastrointestinal tract:ConSTipaTion having three or fewer bowel movements per week, and hard, dry stoolsplagues5 enemieS of a about 20 percent of us, and becomes more prevalent as we age. Stress, poor eating habits, lack ofhealThy GuTexercise, food allergies, an imbalance of bacteria in the gut (known as dysbiosis), and a lack of digestiveEven in a perfect world, your enzymes are common constipation triggers. Other,digestive tract is continually less obvious causes include prescription drugschallenged. Here are the biggest (such as antidepressants, antacids, and some painthreats to gastrointestinal bliss:medications), hypothyroidism, and diabetes. nThe Standard american Diet Diarrheacan be caused by a variety of factorsthat is low in fiber and nutrients, such as a gastrointestinal bug, antibiotics, foodand packed with sugar, gluten, and poisoning, or even stress. Normally, short-termchemical additives.diarrhea lasts just a day or two and typically goes away on its own. However, diarrhea lasting more thannalcohol overindulgence. A joint a few days may be a sign of a more serious problem. Ifstudy from Dartmouth-Hitchcock diarrhea lasts for four weeks or more, see a healthcareMedical Center and the Mayo Clinic provider as this may signal a chronic disease.has found that even moderate alcohol consumption may lead to GaSTroenTeriTiSis a catch-all phrase thatbacterial overgrowth in the small doctors often use to describe any irritation of theintestine and can trigger bloating, stomach and intestines. Marked by nausea, diarrhea,gas, abdominal pain, constipation, vomiting, and a low-grade fever, true gastroenteritis isand diarrhea.an inflammation of the lining of the intestines causednoveruse of medications, such by a virus, bacteria, or parasite. The most commonas antacids, non-steroidal anti-culprit is the norovirus, which spreads throughinflammatory drugs, and antibiotics. contaminated food or water, and by contact with an infected person. nexposure to harmful inDiGeSTioncan manifest as gas, bloating,chemicals, such as mercury and heartburn, stomach upset, and a feeling of fullness.mold, that damage normal gut The usual causes include eating too fast, eating whenfunction.stressed, or simply overindulging in that pepperoninChronic stress, which can alter pizza or spicy taco. But when occasional indigestionthe guts nervous system. Over becomes chronic, it could be a sign of something moretime, stress can compromise your sinister, like gallstones or a peptic ulcer. intestinal integrity. the G o od Gut5'