Digestive diseases can be incredibly uncomfortable, and even embarrassing, to experience. Symptoms of digestive diseases may be a sign that there is something serious that requires treatment. The more advanced the disease is, the more likely it will involve more treatment or even surgery. That is why it is important to understand what constitutes a symptom of a digestive disease so that you can go see a doctor. Gastroenterologists specialize in treating digestive diseases. Here are four signs that you should see a gastroenterologist.
Pay close attention if you see blood in your bowel movements. Rectal bleeding can be indicative of an injury or infection in your digestive tract. While rectal bleeding does not always mean that there is something seriously wrong, it is not something that you should ignore. Blood in the stool can vary in color from light red to black. Different colors may be linked to different conditions or areas of the digestive tract. For example, bright red blood is likely to originate from the anus, while darker-colored blood may come from the bowels.
Also called dysphagia, difficulty swallowing may be indicative of an issue with your digestive tract. Dysphagia may present itself as pain or burning while swallowing. The difficulty swallowing may come on all at once or become worse gradually. Dysphagia may suggest an issue with the upper digestive tract, and it should be evaluated right away. A gastroenterologist is able to view the esophagus by performing an upper endoscopy.
Your body's output can tell you a lot about the quality of your health. You should experience regular bowel movements in order for your body to rid itself of waste. Constipation is a condition in which you find it difficult to pass a bowel movement. Constipation that persists for more than a week may indicate a blockage in the intestine. Without intervention, blockages can cause infections in your bowels. Further, your body needs to rid itself of waste regularly in order for you to remain healthy.
Mild and occasional bouts of bloating are nothing to worry about. They may be brought on by hormonal shifts or sensitivities to certain foods. You should watch for a pattern of regular bloating, particularly if you experience bloating after each meal. Worrisome bloating is frequent, causes abdominal discomfort, and may also be accompanied by painful bowel movements. A gastroenterologist will be able to help identify the reason for the bloating.