Gastrointestinal issues are hard to ignore. They almost always make themselves known, if not through pain, then through vomiting and issues with bowel movements. It is not always easy to determine where the pain is coming from, because there are many organs that make up the gastrointestinal system. For this, you need a specialist to determine what is causing your symptoms.
A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders and diseases of the digestive system, which includes the stomach, intestines, bowels, and other organs related to digestion, such as the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. They use various screening tools to get to the bottom of your symptoms and design a treatment plan.
When Should You See a Gastroenterologist?
Let’s talk about the signs and symptoms that you need to have evaluated by a gastroenterologist:
- Unexplained Abdominal Pain and Bloating – Sudden bloating can be attributed to the accumulation of gas in your stomach. Many gastrointestinal (GI) issues can cause this, such as lactose intolerance, food intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and gastrointestinal disease. If this is accompanied by other symptoms, such as sudden weight loss and pain during bowel movements, it may be serious and should be evaluated by a GI doctor.
- Frequent Heartburn – If you keep experiencing burning pain in your chest (heartburn), it could be due to a GI disorder called esophagitis, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or Barrett’s esophagus.
- Pain or Difficulty Swallowing – Feeling a lump in your throat is one of the symptoms of esophageal cancer. If you have difficulty swallowing food or drinking water, acid reflux could have damaged your esophageal lining, narrowing the space in the esophagus and causing symptoms.
- Constipation – Occasionally feeling constipated should be nothing to worry about, but frequently being constipated could be due to many things, including serious conditions such as intestinal blockage, tears in the anus, and colon or rectal cancer.
- Diarrhea – Having loose stools causes dehydration. Diarrhea that lasts for weeks and is accompanied by weakness, abdominal pain, rectal pain, and black and tarry or bloody stools should be evaluated by a GI doctor.
- Blood in Stool – It can be frightening seeing blood in your stool. It could be due to hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins around the anus, or it could be due to colon or rectal cancer.
- Unexplained Weight Loss – If you are losing weight unexpectedly, you could have a digestive issue that prevents the complete absorption of nutrients. Peptic ulcers, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and cirrhosis all cause unexplained weight loss.
Gastroenterologist or GI Doctor in Austin, TX
Austin Gastroenterology has 30 board-certified gastrointestinal doctors that deliver superior gastrointestinal care to patients from Georgetown to Kyle. We treat all gastrointestinal and liver disorders and perform exploratory and diagnostic screenings ourselves in our clinics or at any one of our world-class endoscopy centers, all of which are licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), Medicare certified, and accredited by the American Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).