Digestive Problems—What your symptoms could be telling you


The following is sponsored by Salt Lake Regional Medical Center.

Digestive problems are very common and can occur anywhere along the digestive tract. Although the occasional symptoms shouldn’t cause too much concern, recurring or worsening symptoms could mean something more serious. Gastrointestinal disorders can be tricky to diagnose because many of the symptoms can overlap, so visiting your doctor is a good place to start.

When to visit a doctor
Heartburn that persists or becomes severe
Persistent abdominal pain
Difficulty swallowing
Vomiting blood
Bloody or black stools
Unexpected weight loss
Persistent diarrhea
New or persistent constipation

Common Digestive Problems

GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease): Chronic digestive disorder that occurs when stomach acid flows into the esophagus. Symptoms include heartburn, cough, hoarseness, feeling of lump in throat.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis fall into this category. People with these diseases can experience abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, weight loss, and blood in stool.

Diverticulitis: This disorder occurs when small, bulging pouches known as diverticula form in the colon and become inflamed or infected. The symptoms can range from abdominal bloating and pain to vomiting, fever, and intense abdominal tenderness.

Food Intolerance: Sensitivity or full intolerance of certain types of food can trigger symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramping and pain, vomiting, and more. An intolerance is usually diagnosed through a food diary and a record of your symptoms.

There are many other digestive disorders out there. If you’re able to identify your symptoms by keeping a log of what you’re experiencing every week and speak to a doctor, you will be on the right track to a proper diagnosis.