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9 Symptoms that Indicate Poor Digestive Health

WomanStomachAche

A properly working digestive system is an important component of a healthy, energetic body. From beginning to end, there are multiple points where things can go wrong and impact your ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Here are 9 signs to look for that indicate you may need to see a gastroenterologist.

Constipation

If you are unable to have a bowel movement more than three times per week or strain to pass stool on a regular basis, you may be suffering from chronic constipation. There are several reasons this may be occurring, ranging from lack of fiber in the diet to abdominal and rectal tumors.

Gas

Excessive gas can be considered to be a symptom of poor digestive health when you are passing gas excessively and it is combined with abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, or weight loss.

Bloating

Bloating is often described as feeling uncomfortably full and your stomach may look more round than normal. When the feeling doesn’t go away after passing gas and you have any other signs of poor digestive health, this should be discussed with your physician. Bloating can be a bit tricky to identify the underlying cause, so partnering with your doctor is important.

Diarrhea

Experiencing diarrhea for more than two weeks can be a sign of several conditions. These include Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome. All of these require an evaluation and diagnosis from a doctor. If your stool is black or bloody, you should call your doctor immediately.

Unintended weight loss

Losing weight without making significant dietary and lifestyle changes can mean that there is something significant happening in your body. If you are losing weight and are experiencing other stomach or bowel problems seek medical attention quickly.

Vomiting

Vomiting and Nausea (the feeling you’re going to vomit) can be caused by many different factors. Usually, it’s from an infection (like the stomach flu), food poisoning, motion sickness, or morning sickness during early pregnancy. It could also be a digestive health issue like Crohn’s disease, IBS, GERD, or pancreatitis. You should see a doctor if vomiting lasts more than 48 hours or if you have signs of dehydration. The timeframe goes to 24 hours for children and 2 to 12 hours for infants.

Frequent Heartburn

Heartburn is a symptom usually caused by acid reflux. Reflux is when stomach liquids flow back into the esophagus. If you have heartburn from acid reflux 2 or more times per week it may be GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). GERD is when reflux damages the esophagus or causes bothersome symptoms. If you have heartburn 2 or more times per week and/or over-the-counter medications aren’t working, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Changes in Stool Color

The color of your stool could indicate a problem with your digestive system. Yellow stools could indicate too much fat is making its way through, which could be due to a disorder like celiac disease. Bright red stools could be from food coloring or beets, or it could be from blood in the intestine or rectum. Hemorrhoids are a common source of blood in stools.

Pain/Discomfort

Usually, abdominal pain isn’t serious. It could be from indigestion, gas pains, or muscle strain. You should see a doctor if your pain is severe, lasts several days, or is accompanied by fever, blood in your stool, persistent vomiting or nausea, yellow skin, tenderness to touch, or swelling of the abdomen.

Much of your health and wellbeing is tied to your gastrointestinal system. It’s hard to feel energized and positive with any of these symptoms. If you have GI concerns like those mentioned above, it may be time for a professional consultation with a gastroenterologist. Schedule an appointment today.

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