A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specialized in digestive system disorders. Their expertise includes treating medical issues of the stomach, intestines, esophagus, gallbladder, bile ducts, liver, and pancreas.
Let’s talk about ten signs you should consult and see a gastroenterologist and where you can go to find the best gastroenterologist in California.
1. Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is a general term for discomfort in your abdominal region or between your pelvis and ribs. It consists of the following organs:
- Large intestine
- Small intestine
Symptoms of abdominal pain range from severe to barely noticeable, depending on the cause.
The discomfort may feel like a sharp, burning, and aching sensation in the stomach area. Sometimes, it can also be mild and intermittent.
2. Nausea And Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of many health issues. But you can link them to your GI tract if they occur after having a meal.
- Peptic ulcer – if the symptoms occur shortly after eating
- Food poisoning – if you feel nauseous and end up vomiting after one to eight hours after eating
Other gastric diseases that cause these symptoms to occur are:
- Gallbladder disease
- Intestinal blockage
Heartburn is an uncomfortable burning sensation that travels up your throat and neck. It can also cause a sour or bitter taste.
Patients who experience severe heartburn also complain of difficulty swallowing.
It is typical for heartburn to occur from time to time. But you should be observant if it becomes recurring and severe. That is a general symptom of gastrointestinal issues like:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Acid reflux
- Hiatal hernia, a condition that causes your stomach to bulge up into your chest
4. Stomach Bloating
Gastrointestinal bloating is a feeling of tightness, pressure, or fullness in your belly. It can feel anywhere from mild discomfort to intense aching.
It usually subsides after a while. But it might indicate a severe issue if it happens frequently.
A bloated stomach often results from too much intestinal gas. If you notice it happening after a meal, it’s most likely because of a digestive disorder or food allergy.
Other common causes of stomach bloating are:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Functional dyspepsia
- Carbohydrate malabsorption
- Visceral hypersensitivity
Diarrhea is a common gastrointestinal condition that causes loose and watery stools. It often results from a bacterial infection and resolves without intervention. Mild diarrhea may cause:
- Stomach cramping
- Abdominal bloating
- Increased, uncontrollable bowel movements
If you notice that your diarrhea is taking longer to go away or worsens over time, visit a gastroenterologist. Symptoms of a severe case are:
- Weight loss
- Excruciating pain
Constipation is a sign of unhealthy bowel movement and can cause other medical issues if left untreated.
Diverticulitis, stress urinary incontinence, and fecal impaction is common complications. The main symptoms of constipation include:
- Less than three bowel movements in a week
- Difficulty passing stool
- Hard and dry stools
- Pain and discomfort when passing stool
- A feeling that your bowels are not empty despite already passing stool
The most prominent sign of jaundice is the yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes. That is because of high levels of bilirubin in the body.
It is a yellow-orange pigment created from the breakdown of red blood cells after the liver secretes bile.
Too much bilirubin can cause a blockage or obstruction in your bile ducts, resulting in jaundice. The following gastrointestinal issues can occur:
- Gallbladder swelling and inflammation
- Pancreatic tumors
- Gallbladder cancer
8. Releasing Too Much Gas
Releasing intestinal gas is normal for everyone. It indicates the successful digestion of a meal and shouldn’t be worrisome.
But if you’re experiencing frequent burping, belching, bloating, and flatulence with pain, you may have a gastrointestinal issue. Other symptoms that accompany these are:
- Sudden or recurring diarrhea
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bloody or fatty stool that may look yellowish and greasy
- Foul-smelling stool
Indigestion is a sensation of discomfort in the upper abdominal area caused by irritation of the stomach and intestines.
It most often occurs because of various issues related to the stomach, such as excessive gas, bloating, and heartburn.
However, indigestion can also be a sign of severe gastrointestinal disorders. While dietary changes and medication can relieve symptoms, it is better to consult a gastroenterologist when you notice discomfort.
10. Sudden, Unexplained Weight Loss
Do you notice a sudden decrease in weight despite not doing anything to cause it? You might have a gastrointestinal issue.
A drop of more than 10 pounds in 6 to 12 months indicates a loss of 5% of body weight. It is a tell-tale sign of unexplained weight loss.
Your gastroenterologist may diagnose you with some of these conditions:
- Crohn’s disease – a condition that causes inflamed bowels
- Peptic ulcers
- Ulcerative colitis
- Dysphagia – a condition that causes difficulty swallowing
- Inflamed pancreas
- Celiac disease – a condition that causes gluten allergy
Gastroenterologist in California
For gastrointestinal issues, inSite Digestive Health Care is prepared to help patients manage and ease symptoms. Our dedicated team of gastroenterologists is highly capable of treating upper, lower, and functional GI disorders. We can also help with inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal issues.
We have over 20 affiliated private practices located all over California. For questions and inquiries, you may call the GI clinic that’s nearest to you.
You may also schedule an appointment with our GI doctor by submitting our convenient online request form.