Why Would I See a Gastroenterologist?
Gut health is an important aspect of our general health and wellbeing. Recently, we’ve begun hearing more in the media about various gut health issues and how to potentially avoid them. The reason more experts are talking about gut health, and why we should be listening, is that our gut is home to over 40 trillion microorganisms. It is integral to our immune system, as well. So, if we find ourselves facing persistent or acute gastrointestinal symptoms, we should see them as our body’s red flag telling us that something isn’t quite right. If you’ve never seen a gastroenterologist, chances are you are wondering why you would need to. We’ll discuss that here in a list of symptoms that require the prompt attention of a GI doctor.
- Blood in the stool.
If there is blood in your stool, there is bleeding somewhere in your GI tract. Blood could be a sign of hemorrhoids, anal fissures, ulcers, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, or other conditions. In most cases, a thorough examination and consultation reveals that the cause of blood in the stool is hemorrhoids, a relatively benign condition that can be treated conservatively.
- Persistent bloating or abdominal pain.
These symptoms sound innocent, but they can become distracting and keep you from your daily activities. There are several reasons why a person may struggle with abdominal discomfort and bloating, including diet, certain medications, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, stress, ulcers, or small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Many cases of abdominal pain are benign and do not indicate a serious medical concern. However, persistent discomfort should be evaluated by a specialist.
- Persistent heartburn.
Heartburn is called such because this condition presents as a burning sensation that may travel from the upper abdomen into the chest and throat. Technically, this condition is a type of acid reflux, in which some of the stomach acid released during digestion travels back up into the upper GI tract. Chronic heartburn could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett’s esophagus, or other conditions. While short-term heartburn may be managed with over-the-counter medication, a persistent problem with this symptom needs an evaluation by a gastroenterologist.
This is a short list of reasons people see a GI doctor. Additional reasons include difficulty swallowing, significant changes in bowel habits, or to have a routine colorectal screening. At Gramercy Park Digestive Disease Center, we are committed to personalized and compassionate care for each of our patients. We have two convenient locations in NYC. Contact us today to schedule your visit.