A GI doctor or a gastroenterologist specializes in treating issues related to the digestive system, which includes the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, liver, intestines, and bowels. Usually, digestive health issues produce mild, moderate, or severe symptoms. Sometimes, the symptoms may get better on their own, but at other times, the symptoms require medical attention. Here are some signs that it is time to see a GI doctor.
If you are experiencing abdominal pain, gas, and bloating after consuming dairy foods, such as whole milk, you could be lactose intolerant. Abdominal pain after eating could also be due to indigestion. Lactose intolerance and indigestion can be distressing. By making changes to your lifestyle, you can avoid abdominal discomfort. However, if your abdominal pain is severe or recurring, it is best to see a GI doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Certain foods can cause the excessive production of gas. However, excessive gas accompanied by changes in bowel movements, pain, and unexplained weight loss could be a sign of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
One of the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is heartburn, which feels like a burning in the chest that may rise up to the throat and mouth. Heartburn can make falling and staying asleep difficult. Additionally, the stomach acids rising up to the mouth can increase your risk of esophageal cancer. There are ways to prevent heartburn and reduce stomach acid production that a GI doctor can discuss with you.
Changes in Bowel Habits
When you’re stressed or traveling, you may experience a change in your bowel movements. However, prolonged abnormality of bowel movements, either constipation or diarrhea, indicate a condition that needs treatment. Constipation may be due to a blockage and diarrhea may be due to an infection or a digestive disorder.
Blood in Stool
Seeing blood in your stool is not normal. It is a common sign of hemorrhoids or enlarged veins in the lower rectum, but it could also be due to other conditions. The blood from hemorrhoids is usually bright red, and it may not be life-threatening but can make passing stool very painful. Internal hemorrhoids, occurring inside the anus, are more challenging to treat. Dark red blood, on the other hand, can cause stools to have a tarry appearance and usually points to more serious digestive issues. If you are age 40 or older, this could be a sign of colorectal cancer, for example.
Unexplained Weight Loss
If you are losing weight without dieting or exercising, there are many health conditions that could cause this. People with Crohn’s disease and pancreatic, stomach, or colon cancer usually have unexplained weight loss as one of their symptoms. Talk to a GI doctor immediately for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Gastrointestinal Doctor in California
InSite Digestive Health Care provides the highest quality GI care to patients with all manners of digestive issues. Not only are our GI doctors highly skilled, but they’re also compassionate and driven to help patients heal and become healthier. To make an appointment with a GI doctor, click here.