Going to see a gastroenterologist for your gut problems may seem embarrassing, but it’s important to make sure that there are no underlying issues.
The term “gut health” has been coming up a lot lately in the health and wellness industry. There are articles about the best diets for gut health, the cause and cures for leaky gut, and even how gut health may affect your mental health. While these topics are fascinating, if you’re suffering from gut issues, your main concern may be getting medical help.
Knowing when it’s time to seek the help of a specialized doctor can be tricky. Your symptoms may be inconsistent, and you may not even know if or how a specialized doctor can help. If you aren’t sure if you should see a gastroenterologist for your gut issues, read on for some tips on how to know it’s time.
Your Primary Care Doctor Recommends Seeing a Gastroenterologist
If you have persistent or worsening digestive issues, your primary care doctor will likely refer you to a specialist. A gastroenterologist will have more knowledge and experience in this area than your regular doctor. They will be better able to assess your gut health and see opportunities for different types of treatments.
You’re Experiencing New Symptoms
You’ve been dealing with some digestive issues for some time, and you’ve learned how to manage them. But now you’re experiencing new, different symptoms, like abdominal pain or heartburn. New symptoms could signal it’s time to see a specialist, and it’s likely your primary care doctor would recommend that, too.
You’ve Received a Diagnosis for Your Digestive Condition
There are certain digestive issues where if it has been a problem for you for a while, your doctor may diagnose you with a specific digestive condition. Common diagnoses include irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease. This is when you need to see a gastroenterologist to receive proper treatment for your condition.
It’s Time for a Routine or Referred Screening
Most doctors recommend some routine screening for patients over fifty. The most common screening is a colonoscopy, which can help detect colon cancer. Your doctor will refer you to a specialist when you reach a certain age, or if symptoms suggest you need a screening.
Your Symptoms are Severe and Painful
We all deal with the occasional diarrhea or constipation, but there are more serious issues that you should not overlook. More severe signs of gut issues include bloody stools, lumps in the throat, unexplained weight loss, and painful heartburn. If you experience any of these or other serious symptoms, see a specialist as soon as possible.
Trust Your Gut – Take Control of Your Digestive Health
When it comes to our bodies, we can usually tell when something is wrong right away. Even if you’ve been dealing with digestive issues your whole life or your primary doctor isn’t concerned, you can and should see a gastroenterologist if you think you need specialized medical attention. It may cost more than your usual co-pay, but it will be worth it for relief and peace-of-mind.