This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Gastrointestinal/Digestive System- Relevant Symptoms, Conditions, and Disorders

The gastrointestinal system (aka "the GI tract" or "digestive system") includes the entire "tube" from the lips to the anus.  Because it is open to the outside world on both ends, the inside of the GI tract is considered to be outside of the body.  It is a system with many different components and functions and is especially immunologically active because it must protect us from pathogens and other dangerous exposures through what we eat and drink, and for the upper part even the air we breathe.  GI disorders and symptoms are very common among people with ASD, mast cell disease, and some of the other conditions discussed on this blog.  I am including links in this post about both the normal functioning of many of the parts of the GI system as well as the many symptoms, conditions, etc that can arise when things don't work properly.

For a general introduction to the GI tract, the book "Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ" by Giulia Enders is a great place to start.  This is an interview of her about her book.  The GI tract is still not very well understood and new discoveries are being made about's various functions, what can go wrong, options for treatment and for staying healthy, etc.  For example new organ in the GI tract was recently discovered called the Mesentery.

General information:
Introduction to the digestive system (video series from Anatomy Zone)
Digestive system by CrashCourse part 1     part 2     part 3   
YouTube Channel Gastroenterology 101
The enteric nervous system (the brain in the gut)

Specific disorders, conditions, symptoms, and syndromes:
Burning Mouth Syndrome
Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS)
Tonsil Stones

Swallowing disorders
Animation of both normal and dysphagic swallowing
Airway disorders (can have implications for the GI tract)
Dysphagia (disorders of swallowing)
Swallowing Disorders and Achalasia
Laryngospasm: Sudden, Terrifying Difficulty Breathing (Part II: Laryngospasm: Straw Breathing)
"There is some evidence that Laryngospasm is caused by damage to sensory nerves from a virus."
Laryngospasm: What causes it?
Acid Reflux aka GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)

How does the Stomach Function?
Dumping Syndrome (caused by injury to the Vagus nerve from surgery)
Gatroparesis (delayed emptying of the stomach and stomach paralysis)
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs)
Autoimmune Pancreatitis
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome - Kirsten Tillisch, MD | UCLA Digestive Diseases
SMAS (Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome)
Obstructed Defecation Syndrome (ODS)
Hirschsprung's disease

More advanced information: