Most people have experienced some sort of gastrointestinal disorder at some point in their lives. Such complaints are often successfully treated with the appropriate medication and dietary changes as well as ensuring complications like dehydration, anemia, or the spread of infection to other parts of the body does not occur.
Common signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal disorder are:
- Abdominal pain: In many cases, the severity of the abdominal pain does not corelate with the seriousness of the gastrointestinal disorder. For example, you may experience severe abdominal pain due to indigestion or excessive gas in your GI tract, whereas a serious condition such as colon cancer may only cause minor abdominal pain that worsens very slowly.
- Constipation: This is characterized by decreased frequency of bowel movements. Often, when bowel movements do occur, the stools are hard and can cause a lot of pain or discomfort. Constipation may be caused due to inadequate intake of dietary fiber, a sedentary lifestyle, certain medications, and mental stress.
- Diarrhea: This is characterized by frequent bowel movements. The stools are loose or watery, and there is a risk of dehydration. It may be caused due to infection or intolerance to certain foods.
- Abdominal bloating: Excessive gas production may be caused due to swallowed air while eating or from breakdown of food during digestion. Foods that commonly produce gas are beans, dairy products, fruits, and whole grains. Sometimes it may be a sign of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
- Gastrointestinal bleeding: Causes of bleeding may include ulcers, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, or stomach cancer. If you notice any blood in your stool, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.
- Nausea and vomiting: Nausea is an unpleasant sensation in your stomach where you feel like you are about to throw up. It may be accompanied by a rapid heart rate, difficulty swallowing, and dizziness. Vomiting is the actual ejection of food and other material from your stomach through your mouth.
If you notice any of these signs & symptoms for more than a few days and you have not been able to identify an obvious cause, book an appointment with your doctor or visit the specialists at Greater Houston Gastroenterology.