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Digestive Disorders/Diseases important notes for Biology Class 11

Biology notes for class 11 : The main aim of the digestive system is to process the
food we eat and drink in order to provide the body with its energy and nutrient needs
and then to deal with its waste products. The energy is needed to ensure our survival
and to repair our body tissues.
Digestive tract: The digestive tract starts at the mouth and ends at the anus.
A lack of food can lead to starvation and a lack of nutrition can lead to malnutrition.
An inability or reduced ability to absorb nutrients from the diet can lead to both
starvation and/or malnutrition.
When it comes to the body, one of the most sensitive components is the digestive
system. It’s often affected by many issues that may seem initially unrelated to
malfunctions in other parts of the body, stress, and emotional factors. Digestive
diseases affect millions every day. Digestive disorders are the cause of ill health
for millions of people around the world, and the causes and symptoms of these are
numerous. They range from slight heartburn or nausea after eating a big meal, to
serious, such as colon cancer.
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Some of the common digestive disorders :

1. Indigestion is often a sign of an underlying problem, such as gastro-esophageal

reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, or gallbladder disease, rather than a condition of its
own. Also called dyspepsia, it is defined as a persistent or recurrent pain or
discomfort in the upper abdomen. It is not a disease. A dyspepsia is a group of
symptoms which often include bloating, nausea and burping. Indigestion is usually
caused by stomach acid coming into contact with the mucosa of the digestive
system – the sensitive protective lining of the digestive system. Stomach acids
break down the mucosa, causing irritation and inflammation, which trigger the
symptoms of indigestion. In the majority of cases, indigestion is linked to eating
and/or drinking. Sometimes it may be caused by infection or some medications.
2. Constipation is a common digestive issue in which bowel movements are
infrequent or difficult to pass. A person is considered constipated if he/she has
fewer than three bowel movements in a week. After this point, the stool may harden
and become difficult or even painful to pass. Some common causes of constipation
are lack of fibre in the diet, physical inactivity, use of certain drugs, not taking
enough water, etc.
3. Vomiting describes the forceful expulsion of the contents of the stomach via the
mouth or sometimes the nose, also known as emesis. The causes of vomiting are
as wide-ranging as those for nausea and include anything from food poisoning or
gastritis to head injuries. There are several causes that lead to the feeling of
vomitings like Causes of nausea and vomiting may include:

 Motion sickness or seasickness

 Intense pain
 Emotional stress (such as fear)
 Gallbladder disease
 Food poisoning
 Infections (such as the “stomach flu”)
 Overeating
 A reaction to certain smells or odours
 Heart attack
 Concussion or brain injury
 Brain tumor
 Ulcers
 Some forms of cancer
 Ingestion of toxins or excessive amounts of alcohol
 Migraines)
 Certain medicines, such as antibiotics and opioid painkillers
 Drinking too much alcohol
 Kidney infections and kidney stones
 A blockage in the bowel, which may be caused by a hernia or gallstones
 Chemotherapy and radiotherapy
 An inflamed gallbladder (acute cholecystitis)

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4. Jaundice: It is also known as Icterus, means the appearance of a yellowish tinge

to the skin and sclerae (the white part of the eye) that is caused by an excess of
bilirubin in the blood (hyperbilirubinemia). Body fluids may also be yellow. Jaundice
is actually a waterborne disease, which means it is caused by a viral infection that
enters our body through water and infects the liver. Thus, liver is not able to
metabolize bilirubin normally. There are three main types of jaundice, depending on
what causes abnormal metabolism of bilirubin in the body-

 Hepatocellular jaundice – occurs as a result of liver disease or liver injury. This

may be due to the viral infection also.
 Hemolytic jaundice – occurs as a result of hemolysis (an accelerated breakdown
of red blood cells) leading to an increase in production of bilirubin.
 Obstructive jaundice – occurs as a result of an obstruction in the bile duct (a
system of tubes that carries bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small
intestine), which prevents bilirubin from leaving the liver.

5. Diarrhoea: It is usually a symptom of bowel infection. Diarrhoea is characterized

by abnormally loose or watery stools. Diarrhoea usually occurs when fluid cannot
be absorbed from your bowel contents, or when extra fluid leaks into the bowel,
causing watery stools. Diarrhoea is usually a symptom of gastroenteritis, an
infection of the bowel. Gastroenteritis may be caused by a virus, such as a
norovirus or a rotavirus, bacteria, such as campylobacter, Clostridium
difficile ( difficile), Escherichia coli (E. coli), salmonella and shigella – these may all
cause food poisoning. Parasites, such as the Giardia intestinalis, that causes
giardiasis and can come from contaminated water sources.

Diarrhoea caused by contaminated food or water from a foreign country is known

as ‘traveller’s diarrhoea’. Other short-term causes of diarrhoea include:

 Food poisoning (due to eating something stale or infected)

 Emotional upset or anxiety
 Drinking too much alcohol
 Drinking too much coffee
 Food allergy
 Appendicitis
 Damage to the lining of the intestines due to radiotherapy or prescribed
 Damage to the intestines due to reduced blood supply, for example, because of a

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You can read more topics of Biology Class 11

Nutritional disorders
Structure Of Small Intestine
Digestion in Stomach

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Tags – Digestive disorder, some of the common digestive disorders, Digestive

tract, Indigestion, Constipation, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, ‘traveller’s
diarrhoea’, Jaundice
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