Common Gut Problems: Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment Options

Protein shakes

Gut health depends upon various factors, from eating habits to sleeping patterns and more.

Starting from the mouth, your gut includes every organ involved in digestion until you expel the waste. And any disturbance in the digestion process can cause symptoms like cramps and vomiting.

Being able to identify these symptoms may help pinpoint the root cause behind the problem. And accordingly, holistic functional medicine may be prescribed for mediation by the doctor.

Interesting Fact: Did you know your gut health can also impact your mental and physical health. For example, diarrhea may cause irritability. Likewise, a bloated stomach may lead to acidity or sometimes even obesity.

Of course, the symptoms vary depending upon the issue that’s causing them.

Some of the common digestive disorders may include:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO)
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Stones in the gall bladder (Gallstones)
  • Celiac Disease

Generally speaking, most of these disorders have similar symptoms. Therefore, to get the proper treatment, you may need to go for a medical diagnosis.

Symptoms of Bad Gut Health

Some of the common symptoms for stomach disorders include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Acid Reflux
  • Chest Pain
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Gas
  • Fatigue
  • And, Stool Condition

If you have any of these symptoms, you might be having some form of stomach disorder. In most cases, these symptoms are acute and may not require any diagnosis. However, if these symptoms turn chronic, you should consult with your doctor. Speaking of chronic symptoms, your doctor may suggest some diagnosis techniques to identify the disorder. Maintaining a healthy gut is linked to improved overall health and immunity. People can enhance the diversity and amount of bacteria in their gut for the better by adopting the proper lifestyle and dietary modifications.

Diagnosis of Stomach Disorders

Doctors may use a variety of tests before they can identify the disorder. However, the diagnosis begins before any pathological tests can be conducted.

woman-in-pain

Your doctor may first perform a physical examination and ask you some questions about your condition. For example, they may ask you about your medical history, any medicines you are taking, your diet and lifestyle, and your family history.

Upon the preliminary examination, they may then proceed to order tests.

Some of the standard tests that you may need to take up includes:

  • Blood tests to detect celiac diseases, inflammation, and/or any signs of infection.
  • Stool tests to examine the presence of bacteria in your gut.
  • Endoscopy and colonoscopy to determine if there is any internal injury or infection.
  • lactulose breath tests to diagnose SIBO
  • CT scans, ultrasounds, and X-Rays to find any other problem which may not require endoscopy or colonoscopy.

You may need to consult with more than one medical professionals. Generally speaking, a variety of medical experts usually work in collaboration for diagnosing and treating stomach disorders.

For example, primary care physicians may carry out the preliminary examination. Upon the initial diagnosis, they may further refer you to a gastroenterologist and/or dietician.

In some rare cases, you may also need to consult with surgeons that specialize in gut disorders.

Nonetheless, by and large, the treatment procedure would depend upon the disorder as identified.

Treatment Options for Stomach Disorders

As mentioned already, the treatment options generally depend upon the type of disorder.

In general, for acute disorders, medications and dietary changes are pretty helpful. But, for chronic conditions, the treatment options vary a lot.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

A variety of factors are responsible for causing IBS. For this reason, every patient may have a customized treatment to help improve their symptoms.

For instance, dietary changes, learning to reduce stress, and addressing underlying conditions may help manage the symptoms for various people suffering from IBS.

In contrast, if you experience severe abdominal pain or cramps, it is better to consult with your doctor. They may be able to help modify the treatment and alleviate the symptoms rapidly.

stomach pain
Stomach pain – Photo by: James Palinsad – Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth

Upon diagnosis of bacterial overgrowth from stool tests, the general course of treatment is through medications. It is noteworthy that most medications would include antibiotics as a standard.

Apart from this, the doctors may also suggest some lifestyle changes. For instance, they may suggest regular workouts to help detox the body.

In some cases, the doctors may also suggest additional dietary supplements. The supplements help cover for deficiencies and improve gut health.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

GERD is typically associated with heavy smoking and alcohol consumption. In addition to this, the condition may also be caused if you consume too spicy food regularly.

Generally, the treatment for GERD would begin with essential lifestyle changes. For instance, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol.

Upon proper lifestyle alterations, the doctors may then suggest taking over-the-counter medicines to help manage the symptoms. Not to mention, the medications are generally helpful in treating the underlying conditions only.

Gallstones

Gallstone treatment usually involves surgical removal. A surgeon would remove the gallbladder altogether or remove the gallstones from the bile duct, depending upon the severity of the condition.

It is noteworthy that gallstones usually do not cause any symptoms until the stones grow out of proportion. And in most cases, these stones are removed on their own.

In most critical cases, the gallstones may give away some symptoms. These may include abdominal pain lasting more than 8 hours, jaundice, and high fever with chills.

Celiac Disease

Primarily, the treatment for celiac disease is following a strict gluten-free diet. However, your doctor may also suggest other treatment options.

For instance, in some cases, the doctors may prescribe medications along with controlling the diet.

In only the rarest of cases, the doctors may need to go for additional treatment. For example, prescribing over-the-counter dietary supplements.

Summary

Digestive disorders range from a variety of common acute symptoms to some rare and chronic symptoms. Regardless, ignoring any of these may worsen your condition as you age.

Perhaps, consulting with your doctor and seeking professional help should be the first thing to do if you experience any symptoms related to your gut health.

Although the standard and acute symptoms may go away as they appear, they could still be underlying some severe issues. Only upon proper diagnosis, both physical and pathological, can the stomach disorders be defined.