recurrence has never successfully been prevented. The origin of the condition is not
c. Cancer. The stomach is susceptible to cancer or neoplasms of the mucosal
lining. A cancer is an uncontrollable growth of cells. Neither the cause nor the cure for
cancer of the stomach is known. If discovered early, surgery can prove beneficial.
1-24. DISORDERS OF THE INTESTINES
a. Sprue. Sprue, or malabsorption of nutrients from the small intestine, can be
very serious. It usually involves impaired absorption of fats and vitamins that leads to
vitamin deficiency and anemia (inadequate red blood cell count). Treatment of sprue
usually consist s of a high carbohydrate, low protein, low fat diet with vitamin
supplements. Emergency replenishment of vital nutrients, if necessary, can be
accomplished by intravenous injection.
b. Diarrhea. Diarrhea is the frequent excretion of excessive, soft, or watery
stools. In some cases, the excretion may be totally liquid. Nausea and vomiting may
be present. Although the condition is obviously unpleasant for the patient, mild diarrhea
is usually not serious. However, if a patient has severe diarrhea, loss of nutrients and
electrolytes may occur which requires replacement therapy and medical care. Cholera,
a very serious condition, is characterized by a large loss of fluids and nutrients in watery
c. Colitis. Colitis is simply an inflammation of the colon that sometimes results
in diarrhea. If the condition is ulcerative colitis, then changes in the colon wall and scar
tissue formation may result. Anemia, malaise, and weakness may be present.
Treatment of colitis usually consists of rest, careful administration of anti-infectives, and
restricted diet. Symptoms usually go away after a period of two to three weeks, but
there is no cure for the condition.
d. Appendicitis. Appendicitis is simply an inflammation of the veriform
appendix, usually due to an obstruction. Treatment consists of surgical removal. If left
untreated, perforation into the peritoneal cavity with generalized peritonitis usually
e. Hemorrhoids (Piles). Hemorrhoids (or piles) are ulcerations of the
hemorrhoidal vein (a vein which lies in close proximity to the external mucosa of the
anus). Pain, itching, and general discomfort are the usual symptoms associated with
hemorrhoids. However, complications such as infection or obstruction may arise. It is
surgically possible to remove hemorrhoids.
f. Hepatitis. There are two types of hepatitis, serum (or long-term incubation)
and infectious (or short-term incubation). Infectious hepatitis is spread via the oral route
and the danger of an epidemic exists in close environments such as military bases and
hospitals. Serum hepatitis is transmitted by blood transfusion or by the use of an