Gastrointestinal diseases and disorders affect millions of Americans every year. While the symptoms that you continue to experience might seem commonplace to you, they might be a sign that you are actually experiencing a GI disease.
Since many GI diseases share similar symptoms, diagnosis can be challenging. Learn more about GI diseases and their diagnoses from our AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga team below!
What Are GI Diseases?
Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases affect the gastrointestinal tract, which runs from the mouth to the anus.
During the body’s digestion, food and drink are broken down into small parts (nutrients) that the body can absorb and use as energy. When a GI issue or disease occurs, it interferes with the digestive process. Digestive diseases range from the occasional upset stomach to the more life-threatening colon cancer. We’ve listed the most common GI disease symptoms below.
Common GI Disease Symptoms
- Abdominal discomfort (bloating, pain or cramps)
- Unintentional weight loss
- Vomiting and nausea
- Acid reflux (heartburn)
- Diarrhea, constipation (or sometimes both)
- Fecal incontinence
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
What Does Diagnosis Look Like?
Typically, when diagnosing a GI disorder, symptoms are reviewed and a physical exam and possibly blood tests are conducted. After that, the GI healthcare team may order diagnostic tests that allow for closer examination of the throat, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), liver, biliary tract, pancreas and gallbladder—all of which can be effected in a GI disorder.
Standard imaging tests for gastric conditions include upper gastrointestinal series (UGI), ultrasounds, MRIs, CT scans and X-rays. Our AFC center can assist with your gastrointestinal issues and direct you to see a specialist as needed.
When to See a Doctor
- A noticeable change in bowel habits
- Blood on or in the stool that is either bright or dark
- Unusual or persistent abdominal/gas pains
- Very narrow stool
- A feeling that the bowel has not completely emptied after passing stool
- Unexplained weight loss
- Frequent or persistent nausea/vomiting
- Constant fatigue
- Anemia (low blood count)
GI issues can be quite serious! Don’t hesitate to visit our AFC team today to be more informed about your body. We’re open seven days a week, and we’re eager to provide you with the top-quality care that you deserve!