4 Early Indicators of Gastrointestinal Disease

When you consider the fact that your body relies solely on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to break down food into nutrients that help you re-energize, grow, and repair cells, it quickly becomes apparent that this complex system of organs is vital to your overall health and wellbeing. The GI tract includes the esophagus, stomach, large and small intestines, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. Failing to maintain the health of these various digestive organs can lead to significant issues down the road, including:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) 
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Cholecystitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Diverticulitis
  • Malignant hemorrhoids
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Polyps
  • Gallstones
  • Colon cancer
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Hiatal hernia

That said, it’s impossible to cure these conditions if you are unable to recognize their symptoms. In this article, we’ll detail seven early indicators of GI disease. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, consult Whalen Clark, M.D., a gastrointestinal surgeon in Tampa to find out if your symptoms are indicative of a serious GI disease.

1. Bleeding

One of the most common signs of GI disease is bleeding. If you notice blood in your vomit or stool, it could be a sign of a much more severe problem. However, excessive bleeding in your GI tract is, in and of itself, a potentially life-threatening ailment. If you are experiencing rectal bleeding, a GI surgeon in Tampa can diagnose whether or not you are suffering from a minor condition or something more severe like cancer. 

2. Stomach Pain

In many cases, we mistakenly attribute stomach pain to something we recently ate. Relying on this excuse too frequently could obscure the fact that you are suffering from persistent stomach pain. If aches and pains in your abdominal region have become the norm, you could be suffering from gallstones, cholecystitis, GERD, ulcerative colitis, or something else entirely.

3. Diarrhea

There are two main types of diarrhea — acute and chronic. Acute diarrhea typically goes away on its own, but chronic diarrhea, which usually lasts more than a month, should raise some red flags. Chronic diarrhea is oftentimes related to significant GI diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In some rare cases, it could be indicative of a tumor.

4. Nausea and Vomiting

Persistent nausea and vomiting are common symptoms for a wide array of diseases affecting various parts of the GI tract, especially the gallbladder. When this 4-inch-long, pear-shaped organ succumbs to disease, it can lead to frequent nausea and vomiting. You could be suffering from gallbladder cancer, cholecystitis, gallstones, polyps, or even a perforated gallbladder. Consult a GI surgeon in Tampa if you have uncontrollable nausea or vomiting. 

While some of these symptoms may seem minor, they could be your body trying to tell you that something more serious is happening in your digestive tract. Ignoring these early indicators of gastrointestinal disease could prove fatal if you neglect to consult a gastrointestinal surgeon in Tampa.

To schedule a consultation with Whalen Clark, M.D., the leading gastrointestinal surgeon in Tampa, please contact us today.

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