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Do you take your digestive system for granted? It’s easy to do until you experience an internal uproar. Then you likely grab whatever works to alleviate the discomfort.
Over-the-counter treatments can only do so much for heartburn, stomach cramps, or excessive flatulence. They do nothing for those strange-looking stools you’ve noticed lately.
Maybe you’ve thought about seeing your family doctor. A gastroenterologist specialist is a better choice.
Read today’s post and explore five clues your body may give you that indicate it’s time to schedule an appointment with a GI doctor.
1. How Often Do You Reach for the Antacids?
Over 15 million people in the U.S. suffer from heartburn every day of the week and often use antacids. While it’s not a big issue to take antacids for occasional heartburn, if you pop them like candy, it’s time to call a gastroenterologist.
You may have a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
Persistent acid reflux (and dependency on antacids) is your body’s warning that your digestive system needs help. A gastroenterologist can diagnose the disorder and help you find the best treatment.
2. Flatulence with a Foul Smell
Healthy people produce flatulence anywhere from 14 to 23 times a day. No one passes gas that smells like perfume, but certain digestive conditions result in unusually smelly flatulence. Smelly may be too polite—it’s a horrible odor.
Foul-smelling gas and bowel movements, accompanied by pain, signal trouble.
You could have an intestinal parasite such as giardia. These stomach bugs don’t go away without treatment. A gastroenterologist doctor is the most qualified medical professional to diagnose parasites.
3. Are You a Bloating Belching Gas-Producing Machine?
As if it’s not bad enough to deal with excessive (and offensive smelling) flatulence, some people get a triple whammy: gas, belching, and uncomfortable bloating.
Several digestive conditions can cause these symptoms, including:
- Food Allergies
- Lactose Intolerance
- Peptic Ulcer
- Helicobacter Pylori
Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori), a common bacteria found growing in the digestive tract, can infect the stomach. H. pylori infections often occur in children and may cause peptic ulcers.
Many parents never realize their child has an H. pylori infection. Please see a pediatric gastroenterologist if your child experiences the above symptoms.
4. When Did Those Pants Get So Tight?
While ill-fitting pants happen when you overeat, bloating also causes pants to fit tighter. Occasional bloating isn’t too concerning, but there are times when bloating indicates a severe health problem.
You may have constipation, GERD, gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or celiac disease. Of particular concern is bloating that starts abruptly combined with pain or bloody stools.
Don’t ignore what you may think is the after-effects of overeating. Let a gastroenterologist specialist investigate the symptoms and help you get well.
Planning to See a Gastroenterologist Specialist Soon?
As you can see, digestive symptoms can cause more than a little discomfort. Some signs point to conditions only a gastroenterologist specialist can diagnose.
We hope you’ll make an appointment if you’re dealing with any of these five signs.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, we have an entire collection of health and lifestyle posts in our archives. Check them out!