Nutrition and Digestion: Some Digestive Disorders (Vomiting, Diarrhea, Constipation, Indigestion and Jaundice) (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Some Digestive Disorders (Vomiting, Diarrhea, Constipation, Indigestion and Jaundice)


  • Vomiting is a forceful contraction of the stomach that propels its contents up the esophagus and out the mouth. Vomiting is not diseases, but symptoms of many conditions such as; motion sickness, early stage of pregnancy, medication-induced vomiting, intense pain, emotional stress, gallbladder disease, food poisoning, overeating, heart attack, brain tumor, ulcers, some forms of cancer and a reaction of certain smells or odors. The most common cause of vomiting is gastroenteritis. This is an infection of the gut usually caused by virus or bacteria. Common symptoms of gastroenteritis are watery diarrhea and vomiting. It might also have stomach pain, cramping, fever, nausea and a headache. Many drugs, including alcohol and chemotherapy drugs can cause vomiting. Toxins, such as lead or those found in some foods and plants, can cause vomiting. Most of the time vomiting does not last for more than one or two days and is not very serious.
  • An oral rehydration solution or ORS is a great way to replace fluids and nutrients lost through vomiting and diarrhea. ORS is a special powder which contains sugar and salts in specific amounts. A homemade sugar solution with a pinch of salt can substitute for ORS. Person who is vomiting should sip this fluid at regular intervals. Vomiting should not be taken very lightly. If vomiting continues for more than one or two day, consulted doctor immediately.


  • Passing loose stool or liquid stool three or more times in a day is termed Diarrhea. Symptoms associated with diarrhea are loose, watery stools, abdominal cramps, abdominal pain, fever, blood in the stool, bloating and urgent need to have a bowel movement. It begins as an irritation in the colon wall, then peristalsis increases and absorption of water by the colon becomes very slow. Diarrhea causes by virus (Rotavirus) , bacteria (E. coli) and parasites (Giardia lamblia and cryptosporidium) .
  • Many medications, such as antibiotics can cause diarrhea. Antibiotics destroy both good and bad bacteria, which can disturb the natural balance of bacteria in intestines. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which can be life-threatening if untreated. Water and electrolytes (sodium, chloride, potassium and bicarbonate) are lost through liquid stools, vomiting, sweat and urine and with breathing.
  • A person suffering from diarrhea should be given ORS at regular intervals and doctor should be consulted if diarrhea persists for more than two day.
  • Some of the precautions for preventing diarrhea are:
    • washing hands with soap before taking food
    • fruits and vegetables thoroughly washed with water before eating or cooking
    • keeping food covered and unexposed to flies or dust and dirt
    • drinking safe and clean uncontaminated water


Constipation means bowel movements are tough or happen less often than normal. It is more common in older age and in pregnancy. Symptoms of constipation are few bowel movements, trouble having a bowel movement, hard or small stools, sense that everything didn՚t come out, swollen belly or belly pain and throwing up. Constipation is treating by increasing the amount of eating fiber, passing stool whenever one feels the urge, exercising regularly, Drink two to four extra glasses of water a day and Try warm liquids, especially in the morning.


Indigestion is called dyspepsia, which can cause discomfort or pain in the chest or stomach, usually after eating or drinking. Symptoms of indigestion include burning sensation in the chest or upper abdomen, abdominal pain, bloating, burping and passing wind, nausea and vomiting, acidic taste and rumbling stomach. Indigestion may be triggered by overeating, eating spicy, greasy or fatty foods, emotional stress, consuming too much of high fiber foods, caffeine or tobacco and smoking or drinking too much of alcohol. Indigestion can be prevented by changes in lifestyle and is includes cutting down on fatty foods, tea, coffee, alcohol, not eating too much food or too quickly, eating at least two or three hours before going to bed, reducing stress and giving up smoking.


  • Jaundice is a yellow color of the skin, mucus membranes, or eyes. The yellow coloring comes from bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells. Jaundice is a sign of an underlying disease process. Jaundice can occur when too much bilirubin builds up in the body.
  • Jaundice can occur by too many red blood cells are dying and going to the liver, the liver is overloaded or damaged, the bilirubin from the liver is unable to properly move into the digestive tract. Jaundice is caused by problems with the liver; jaundice can also occur among newborns, particularly premature babies.
  • Jaundice may also be caused by viral infection transmitted through infected water. Jaundice is related to the function of the liver, so it is necessary to keep the liver healthy by eating a balanced diet and doing regular exercises.

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