If you have been dealing with several digestive issues including trouble swallowing, abnormal bowel movements, rectal bleeding, or unusual stomach pains, then it’s high time you visit a stomach doctor, also known as a gastroenterologist.
These specialists are skilled to screen, diagnose, and treat a wide array of digestive disorders and conditions. The main focus of the treatment provided by a gastroenterologist is the digestive tract, stomach, colon, gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas, and liver. Moreover, they also use specialized techniques and equipment to properly screen and treat various digestive disorders and conditions.
Here are a few signs that should see a gastroenterologist soon.
1. Trouble Swallowing
If you are facing continuous difficulty in swallowing, you might have a condition called dysphagia or a troublesome lump in your throat. Apart from trouble swallowing food and water, individuals also experience pain or swelling in the throat.
Notably, difficulty swallowing is an indication of acid reflux impact on the esophagus, weakening of the esophagus muscle, a lesion, or something that caused the esophagus to narrow down. This hinders the ability of the esophagus to transport liquids or foods to the stomach. If you have such symptoms, you must seek a doctor for stomach issues.
2. Frequent Heartburn
As the name suggests, heartburn is the condition when you feel burning pain near your heart, in the center of the chest. Heartburn usually occurs when stomach acid is backed up into the esophagus. The main reasons for heartburn are spicy foods, alcohol, carbonated drinks, cigarettes, and fried foods.
You must see a stomach doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing these symptoms along with serious heartburn:
- Pain when swallowing food or water
- Shortness of breath
- Bloody or tarry bowel movements
All of these symptoms can be a sign of some serious conditions like:
- Esophagitis – Inflammation of the lining of the esophagus
- Barrett’s Esophagus – Damage in the tissue of the esophagus lining
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – The backflow of acid from the stomach into the esophagus
3. Abdominal Bloating
If the pants that fit you fine a few days back suddenly became tight on you, you might be experiencing abdominal bloating. A rapid increase in girth denotes that the stomach is bloating because of retaining gas.
In the worst case, one can experience painful bloating along with bloody stools, painful bowel movements, and nausea. A doctor for stomach issues should be visited for professional evaluation when you face such a condition.
If your water intake is low, you don’t do proper exercise, take antidepressants, overuse laxatives, eat plenty of junk, or have large portions of dairy products, you can experience constipation. Constipation mainly occurs when it gets challenging for your body to have a bowel movement, or when it doesn’t have one at all.
Constipation can be chronic if you have faced these three issues during the past three months:
- Your stools were hard
- You had difficulty having a bowel movement
- You were unable to pass the stool completely
If you are facing chronic constipation, you should make an appointment with a stomach doctor as soon as possible.