Often-Ignored Symptoms That Warrant A Visit To The GI Specialist

Most people know that if they deal with ongoing constipation or diarrhea, they should see a gastroenterologist. These symptoms can indicate any number of issues, from infection to Crohn's disease. But these are not the only reasons to see a GI specialist. If you struggle with any of the following symptoms, you should also make an appointment with a gastroenterologist to see what's wrong.

Unexplained Weight Loss

Unexpected weight loss can have any number of causes, from cancer to diabetes. But the gastrointestinal tract is often the first place doctors want to look when you've lost weight without an obvious reason. You could have a growth in your intestine that is interfering with absorption of nutrients. Or you could have overgrowth of various bacteria, leading to loss of appetite. There could even be a hormonal imbalance that is making your digestive tract slow down, which is making you less hungry. The possibilities are nearly endless, but a GI doctor can check for most of them with a few tests, such as an endoscopy and blood work.

Trouble Swallowing

People often forget that the mouth and esophagus are part of the digestive tract. And they're important parts. If you have trouble swallowing, you'll not only struggle to get food into your digestive tract in the first place, but you may also be at risk of choking. Some people find that they regurgitate food when they swallow. Other find that they physically cannot swallow at times. This could be caused by a hiatal hernia, esophageal cancer, or even a psychosomatic disorder, so make sure you have a GI doctor examine you to find the root cause.

Frequent Heartburn

Heartburn is something people often develop and figure is just a normal effect of aging or a consequence of a less-than-perfect diet. If it goes away when you take antacids, you may not be too worried about it. But you should still see a GI doctor to figure out why you're having heartburn more than once or twice a month. There could be something wrong with your esophageal sphincter, which is the ring of muscle between the stomach and esophagus. Or, you may have a food sensitivity that needs to be looked at more closely.

When your digestive tract is not functioning as it should, make an appointment with a local gastroenterologist. Even symptoms that seem mild and annoying at the time can indicate a bigger problem