The gastrointestinal tract-the liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus and colon-is a complex system. Symptoms occurring in any of these areas might appear less alarming than they are, and as a result, you may not realise the need to see a gastroenterologist. Here are a few issues that might indicate your need to seek gastroenterology services.
• If You Have Persistent Heartburn
When the acid in your stomach flows back to the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach), it causes a painful or burning sensation in the chest or throat. This is what is commonly referred to as heartburn. Getting heartburn once in a while is common for many people, and it often dissipates on its own or with over-the-counter medication. Persistent heartburn, however, is a sign that you should visit a gastroenterologist. If the symptoms recur more than twice a week, it might be an indication of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). See a gastroenterologist for further investigation.
• If You Have Trouble Swallowing
When you develop trouble swallowing food or water due to what feels like a lump in your throat, you ought to consult a gastroenterologist. This is more important if you find the difficulty in swallowing increases as time goes by. Trouble taking food in through the throat coupled with symptoms like coughing, hiccupping or hoarseness might point to esophageal cancer.
• If You Pass Extremely Pungent Gas
Flatulence is a common occurrence with the average individual passing almost two litres of gas daily. Extremely pungent gas, however, could indicate that your small intestines might be infected by a parasite known as giardia. If passing gas comes with an unexplained loss of weight, abdominal pain or a change in your bowel patterns, you should get examined by a gastroenterologist as well.
• If You Have Trouble With Gluten
Gluten is a protein present in rye, barley, wheat and particular vitamins and supplements. If you experience diarrhea and pain after eating gluten, it may be a sign of celiac disease. Visiting a gastroenterologist will help you find out if you might have celiac disease or if it is a case of gluten sensitivity (which carries similar symptoms).
Some symptoms in your digestive system can point to potentially life-threatening diseases. Gastroenterology provides the necessary set of skills and tests that will assist you in your quest to identify and address any digestive tract problems for overall health and wellness.