The gastrointestinal tract consists of a series of hollow organs connected in an elongated tube with many folds from the mouth to the anus. The organs in the gastrointestinal tract include the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, and small and large intestines. You may need to seek the services of gastroenterologist Katy if you have symptoms due to an issue affecting the gastrointestinal tract, which is part of your digestive system. A gastroenterologist will utilize specialist knowledge to assess your condition and recommend the right treatment or management plan.
Consequently, below are common conditions that may indicate you need to seek medical care from a gastroenterologist.
- Chronic diarrhea
Chronic diarrhea makes you have loose stools, especially for more than a few weeks. Normally, as your colon receives liquid food waste from the small intestine, it slowly changes into a solid form. However, something may interfere with the process that transforms liquefied food waste into solid poop, leading you to release loose, runny poop.
Potential causes of chronic diarrhea may include digestive disorders such as small bacterial overgrowth or irritable bowel syndrome.
For instance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract. It causes pain in the stomach, stomach cramps, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
Constipation is a common condition that involves failure to pass stools regularly or the inability to empty your bowel fully. Constipation may also cause your poop to be hard, lumpy, and unusually small or large.
If your stool is very hard and it is difficult to pass it for several weeks or longer, you may need to go to a gastroenterologist for treatment.
Your health specialist can diagnose the cause of your constipation and recommend the right treatment. For example, your doctor may prescribe certain medications to make you have normal bowel movements.
- Frequent or severe heartburn
If you have severe or long-lasting heartburn, that may indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a chronic, intense form of heartburn.
You often have heartburn, also called acid reflux, when the sphincter muscle at the end of the esophagus relaxes at the wrong time, allowing stomach acid or content to return to the esophagus. The esophagus is a muscular tube running from your mouth to your stomach to allow the passage of food and liquids.
Chronic heartburn can lead to various complications, including inflammation of the esophagus tissue, narrowing, and precancerous changes in the esophagus cells.
- Abdominal pain and bloating
You may have a bloated stomach and pain because of excess intestinal gas. If your abdominal pain and bloating come after eating, it may be a sign you have a digestive issue. For instance, your problem may be due to food intolerance, eating too much faster, and other conditions that may cause a buildup of gas and digestive contents.
However, abdominal pain and bloating may last longer because of carbohydrate malabsorption, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), or functional digestive disorders.
Other signs that may indicate you need to consult a gastroenterologist are blood in your stool, rectal bleeding, jaundice, and unexpected weight loss.
Contact Imperial Digestive Health Specialists today to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist and learn more about conditions that may affect your gastrointestinal tract.