GI (gastrointestinal) issues can truly make life miserable. Problems with digestion and bowel movements are best evaluated by a gastroenterologist, also called a GI doctor. These medical doctors can diagnose and treat your digestive or elimination issue, and help you make some adjustments so that the problem will no longer interfere with your life.
Let’s talk about some of the key signs which indicate that you need to see a gastroenterologist, and where you can go in Greater Cleveland for outstanding GI care.
When Should I See a GI Doctor?
It is in the interest of your health to see a gastroenterologist if you have been experiencing one or more of the following:
- You have relatively frequent (or occasionally severe) indigestion, heartburn, or abdominal pain, and over-the-counter medication does not do enough to make you feel better.
- You are chronically constipated. Having bowel movements fewer than three times a week is generally defined as chronic constipation. Proper elimination is vitally important to your overall health, because your body needs to remove the waste and not retain it. If stools are hard to pass and irregular, your GI doctor can help you get your elimination back into balance.
- You have difficulty swallowing, or you experience pain when swallowing. Heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and esophageal cancer can all cause difficulty swallowing, and a skilled gastroenterologist can determine the cause and provide a solution that works.
- You experience unexplained nausea or vomiting. Ulcers or gastritis can have this effect, especially after eating. Vomiting is especially harmful to the esophagus, because the powerful and highly acidic digestive juices flowing upwards from the stomach can damage the delicate lining of the esophagus and throat.
- You are losing weight without trying to lose weight (unintentional weight loss). This is a common symptom of gastrointestinal problems. Peptic ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can cause unexplained weight loss, and it can be treated by your gastroenterologist.
- Your stools are black and tarry or have red streaks. This can be a sign of gastrointestinal bleeding or it could be due to hemorrhoids, which are enlarged veins around or inside the anus. Because it might warrant special treatment, these symptoms should be evaluated by a trusted gastroenterologist.
- You vomit blood, also called hematemesis. Gastritis, ulcers, pancreatitis, and cancer – such as esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, and pancreatic cancer – can cause you to vomit blood.
- You have symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, feeling cold, and shortness of breath. Many gastrointestinal problems can cause malabsorption of iron and thereby low iron levels, which is iron-deficiency anemia. GI conditions that can lead to anemia include celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis (UC), and H. pylori infection.
While primary care doctors can diagnose and treat mild GI problems, gastroenterologists can provide you with truly comprehensive GI care.
Gastroenterologists in Westlake and Brooklyn, OH
Gastrointestinal problems not only affect quality of life but also overall health. If something is wrong with your gastrointestinal system, do not ignore it – if left untreated, it could lead to severe complications.
Have one of our outstanding gastroenterologists at North Shore Gastroenterology evaluate your condition and determine what is causing your symptoms. Our physicians will help you find relief from your symptoms and get your condition under control.