Stomach issues are a common ailment that many people experience. While it is difficult to determine the exact number of people who suffer from problems related to the gastrointestinal tract each year, it is estimated that approximately 50% of Australians experience some form of digestive problem.
The most common types of stomach issues are indigestion, heartburn, and gastritis. Constipation and diarrhoea are also common.
When people experience gastrointestinal pain, they may not know that this is a symptom of an illness. The most common symptoms are nausea, bloating and/or gas, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea.
When should you go see a gastro doctor?
Regular check-ups aside, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should go see a gastro doctor:
- persistent nausea
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- abdominal pain
- unexplained anaemia
If you are a smoker or a heavy drinker, have a family history of gastrointestinal cancers or polyps, or are over the age of 50, then you should go see a gastro doctor for routine bowel screening even if you are not experiencing any specific symptoms.
What will the doctor do?
When someone is feeling ill, one of the first steps they should take is to consult a doctor. What will the doctor do? Depending on the person’s symptoms, the doctor may order some tests or refer the person to a specialist. In some cases, treatment may begin immediately. Here are a few examples of what might happen during a doctor’s visit.
- Examination of the abdomen.
- X-rays, blood and urine tests.
- A general physical exam.
- Often a person will be asked questions about their symptoms, diet, medications and other factors that may be influencing the condition.
How can you prepare for your appointment?
When you have an appointment, it is important to be prepared. If you have questions or concerns about the appointment, be sure to discuss them with your doctor in advance. You should also plan to arrive early so that you can complete any necessary paperwork and get comfortable in the office.
Australians often neglect themselves when it comes to gastrointestinal health while they are busy enjoying the quality of life this country has on offer. Make sure you have a regular check-up with your GP so you don’t end up seriously ill from something that could have been prevented.
There are many reasons why people visit a gastroenterologist. Digestive problems like heartburn, bloating, and constipation can be caused by many different things, from food allergies to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and irregularities in your gut flora. If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your stomach or intestines, it’s worth getting checked out by a doctor. There may be a simple solution waiting for you on the other side of your diagnostic test!
Written by Adele Joy