Digestive Disorders

Disorders that affect the digestive (gastrointestinal) system are called digestive disorders. Some disorders simultaneously affect several parts of the digestive system, whereas others affect only one part or organ. Common symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas, regurgitation, stomach pain, difficulty swallowing, and stomach cramps. Treatment includes a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.

General Information
A wide array of disorders can affect your digestive tract, which is a long tube of organs that begins at your mouth and ends at your anus. Some of these disorders, such as an occasional bout of heartburn or constipation, are minor annoyances. But many digestive disorders, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ulcerative colitis can severely affect your ability to go about your daily activities, or even work a full time job. And, some digestive disorders, like colorectal cancer or a perforated ulcer, can be life threatening.

Approximately 70 million Americans have digestive disorders, which prompt nearly 60 million visits to doctors’ offices and hospitals each year. Doctors who treat digestive disorders are called gastroenterologists. Although digestive disorders can affect people of any age, many of these problems occur more frequently as we get older.

Most digestive disorders respond to treatment, and therefore few people satisfy the 12-month duration requirement to receive disability benefits. However, the Social Security Administration recognizes that some digestive disorders are severe enough to preclude gainful employment for more than a year.

Social Security Medical Listing 5.00 – Digestive Disorders
Potentially disabling disorders of the digestive system under the requirements of the Social Security Administration include gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hepatic (liver) dysfunction/failure, inflammatory bowel disease, short bowel syndrome, malnutrition, and liver transplantation. They may also lead to complications, such as obstruction, or be accompanied by manifestations in other body systems.

Documentation necessary to prove disability includes clinical and laboratory findings from appropriate medically acceptable imaging studies and reports of endoscopy, operations, and pathology to document the severity and duration of your digestive disorder. If your impairment(s) does not meet the requirements set forth in Social Security Medical Listing 5.00, Social Security will look at the effect your impairment has on your activities of daily living, treatment, compliance with treatment, response to treatment, prognosis, your age, past work, and residual function capacity.
Your representative can help you determine whether your digestive disorder or liver disease is severe enough for you to qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Administration.