A national survey of over 70,000 people found that 61% of participants had more than one gastrointestinal (G.I.) symptom. Of all these stomach problems, mild ones can heal naturally, but you may need to see a doctor if you have any of the following severe G.I. symptoms.
1. Chronic Constipation
If you have less than 3 bowel movements a week, you are probably constipated. If constipation is left untreated for a long time, it can lead to inflammatory bowel disease, food intolerance, or allergies. Therefore, it is best to seek medical treatment immediately once you suffer from constipation.
2. Severe Heartburn
Heartburn is one of the symptoms of acid reflux and should be taken seriously. If left untreated, complications such as inflammation and ulcers are likely to develop over time. If your heartburn is bad enough to keep you awake for a week or two, make an appointment with your gastroenterologist.
3. Blood In Poops
There shouldn’t be blood in your stools, but if there is and is paired with other G.I. symptoms like diarrhea, you should see your doctor. Since blood in the stools can be caused by autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, it is best to treat it in time to prevent worsening.
4. Swallowing Difficulty
Swallowing difficulty isn’t just an inability to eat easily but can be shown as a crunching sound in your throat when you eat or chest discomfort after swallowing. Dr. Chen, director of the Translational Research Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, recommends seeing a doctor when having such symptoms for possible acid reflux or other problems.
5. Severe Abdominal Pain
Severe and persistent abdominal pain can disrupt your daily routine and leave you unable to move. According to Dr. Chen, the pain can be caused by inflammatory bowel disease, urinary tract infection, or kidney infection. In addition to the abdomen, you may also feel pain on the side and back. In this case, it’s best to go to the emergency room.
6. Unexplained Weight Loss
Dr. Shukla, assistant professor of gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine, believes that unexplained weight loss needs to be taken seriously. This can be caused by exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or celiac disease and a sign of metabolic disease. In this case, it’s better to talk to your doctor rather than diagnose yourself.
7. Persistent Vomiting
Persistent nausea and vomiting are not normal, and severe cases may prevent you from eating. Dr. Chen explains that Repeated vomiting is a potential sign of food poisoning, stomach infections, or appendicitis. If you are dehydrated or find blood in the vomit, go to the hospital immediately.