Everyone experiences digestive discomfort at times, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and cramping. But, at what point do these symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor? In this blog, Kimberley Shine, MD, of Shine Health and Wellness, discusses six situations in which you should see your doctor about digestive problems.
1. There’s blood in your stool
Blood in your stool can point to a number of issues, from easily treatable conditions like hemorrhoids to serious conditions like colon cancer. To find out what’s going on, the best thing you can do is see your doctor.
2. You haven’t pooped in days, and it hurts
Most people have experienced constipation and know that it can be very uncomfortable. Fortunately, constipation typically clears up on its own or with a little help from an over-the-counter stool softener. Sometimes, though, your bowels may not do their job well, and things may get really painful. In cases like these, see your doctor.
3. You’re becoming dehydrated from diarrhea
On the flip side, if you can’t stop going, problems can arise. Diarrhea that lasts a day or two usually isn’t a cause for major concern. However, if you have diarrhea that lasts longer than that, it’s time to see a doctor. Prolonged diarrhea can cause severe dehydration, which could require treatment.
4. You had a sudden onset of severe pain
If you suddenly develop abdominal pain, see a doctor if it doesn’t dissipate in 24-48 hours. Severe abdominal pain can indicate a problem with one of your digestive organs or another organ in your abdomen, such as your kidney or appendix.
5. You’re chronically bloated and it keeps getting worse
Everyone gets bloated at times, and it’s usually nothing to seek medical care over. Bloating can occur if you eat too much, eat a lot of fiber at once, drink carbonated beverages, or just eat something that doesn’t agree with you. However, if you deal with chronic bloating and see no signs of resolution no matter what you try, it could be a sign of a digestive disorder, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
6. Your digestive upset is accompanied by weakness, fatigue, or fever
Any digestive problems accompanied by weakness, fatigue, fever, muscle aches, or other flu-like symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor. It’s worth finding out what’s causing your symptoms, even if it just turns out to be a stomach bug. It’s better to catch something small than potentially disregard something serious.
If you have questions about your digestive health, book an appointment online or over the phone with Shine Health and Wellness today.