Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended to provide educational guidance as there may be other treatment options available; it does not replace the need for professional medical advice and should not be relied upon as specific advice for individual cases.
When do I need to see a gastroenterologist?
Are you experiencing persistent abdominal pain, discomfort after eating, changes in bowel movements or other digestive symptoms? Have your attempts to self-treat these issues been unsuccessful? If so, it may be time to consider seeing a gastroenterologist — a doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the digestive system.
In this post we discuss the warning signs to be aware of and what conditions warrant contacting a specialist.
Chronic abdominal pain that doesn't go away
Chronic abdominal pain is a difficult and uncomfortable condition that can be disruptive to daily life. It can be frustrating when the pain doesn’t go away after a prolonged period. This type of pain can be due to a variety of causes, including digestive disorders, infections or inflammation in the digestive tract, or even stress and anxiety.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for this type of pain to persist for weeks or even months, it is important to seek medical attention if your symptoms persist beyond one to two weeks. Ignoring the pain could lead to serious complications or delays in treatment.
Severe constipation or diarrhoea, especially if it lasts more than a few days
Dealing with severe constipation or diarrhoea can be a real pain in the gut. Not only can it cause discomfort and inconvenience, but it can also be a warning sign of an underlying health issue.
While occasional bouts of constipation or diarrhoea are normal, especially after an indulgent weekend, when these symptoms persist for days, it’s time to seek medical attention.
Unexplained weight loss that can't be attributed to diet or exercise
Unexplained weight loss can be a concerning and puzzling occurrence, especially when it can’t be attributed to changes in diet or exercise. Despite sticking to a consistent diet and exercise routine, the numbers on the scale seem to keep dropping for no apparent reason. This can leave individuals feeling confused and helpless, as they struggle to find an explanation for their sudden weight loss.
While there are numerous factors that could potentially contribute to such a situation, it’s important to seek guidance from a healthcare professional in order to properly diagnose and address any underlying health issues.
Nausea, vomiting and bloating that don't resolve on their own
Suffering from nausea, vomiting, and bloating can make us feel incredibly uncomfortable and impede our ability to perform our usual daily activities. It can be unsettling, especially when it doesn’t seem to resolve on its own. The experience can be frustrating, and we may not know the underlying cause. It’s important to take these symptoms seriously because they could be a sign of an underlying health condition. Seeking medical attention can help alleviate the discomfort and identify any underlying issues that need attention.
Blood in your stool that you can't explain
Discovering blood in your stool that you can’t explain can be a frightening experience. Noticing any type of change in your bowel movements can be worrisome, but finding blood can be particularly concerning. While having blood in your stool can be a symptom of several medical conditions, the underlying cause can be difficult to determine without a proper diagnosis. It’s essential to seek medical attention immediately.
Pain in your rectal area or anus
Pain in the rectal area or anus can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing experience. However, it’s important to address this issue as it can be a sign of a range of conditions. Hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and prostate issues are just a few of the potential culprits of rectal pain. While it may be tempting to ignore the problem, seeking medical attention is crucial in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Ultimately, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or any pain related to your digestive system that doesn’t go away, it could be an indication of something more serious and it is always recommended to consult a gastroenterologist as soon as possible. Further diagnostic exams, such as endoscopy or a colonoscopy may be required in order to properly diagnose your condition.
With the help of a gastroenterologist, you can get to the underlying cause of your abdominal pain and start feeling better soon. Don’t wait until it’s too late – seeing a specialist is the first step towards improving your health, so make an appointment today!