When people have abdominal pain or digestive problems, they are likely to think something is wrong with the stomach. However, the underlying issue could be a variety of things affecting any of the organs in the gastrointestinal system. GI doctors are experts of the gastrointestinal system and can diagnose and treat a plethora of conditions affecting the esophagus, stomach, intestines (large and small), pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, liver, colon, and rectum. An issue with any of these could affect how your abdomen feels and how your digestive system works.
Here are some tips on when you should see a GI doctor:
Abnormal Bowel Movements
One of the most common reasons why people see GI doctors is when they experience abnormal bowel movements. If you have constipation (difficulty passing stool, bowel movements that come infrequently, very dry or hard stools) or frequently runny stools, it is not normal. You could have an underlying issue somewhere along the GI tract that is causing such symptoms. Normal bowel movements are very important to your GI health. Constipation or diarrhea once in a while is normal and no cause for alarm. However, if you have such symptoms frequently – such as several times a month – you should see a GI doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. Your GI doctor will review your symptoms, diet, activity level, lifestyle, and medical history. Based on this information and any necessary diagnostic testing, you’ll get a diagnosis of what’s causing the abnormal bowel movements along with how to fix the problem.
Rectal bleeding is not a good sign, but it isn’t necessary life-threatening in every situation. If you notice bleeding in your stool, you should see a GI doctor as soon as possible. Dark colored blood is a sign that you have internal bleeding somewhere along the GI tract. Some causes of this can be life-threatening, so you shouldn’t ignore it. If you notice bright red blood in your stool, it means you are bleeding somewhere along the bottom part of the GI tract. One of the most common causes of this is hemorrhoids. While not dangerous to your life, hemorrhoids can be painful. As such, whenever you see a sign of blood, it’s best to see a GI doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.
Acid Reflux or Heartburn Symptoms
Another reason to see a GI doctor is if you experience frequent heartburn or acid reflux. After eating, if you notice a burning sensation in your chest, regurgitate sour tasting liquid, repeatedly belch, or feel extra bloated, you could have an acid reflux related condition. People who are overweight, live a sedentary lifestyle, or have a family history of acid reflux are at a higher risk of developing such symptoms. If not treated early, this condition can get worse and lead to more severe symptoms. As such, it’s best to seek medical care when symptoms are mild.
GI Doctors in Carlisle, PA
The expert GI doctors at Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates are well experienced in diagnosing and treating any GI tract related condition you can think of. If you suspect you may have a GI tract condition, let our experts evaluate and diagnose you.
To make an appointment, please call (717) 245-2228. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you soon.