When To See a GI Specialist: Warning Signs That You Shouldn’t Ignore

Many people experience temporary bloating, heartburn, or other digestive issues after eating from time to time that can often be remedied with over-the-counter products. However, it is important to know when symptoms are a warning sign of something more serious that requires seeing a doctor. Dr. David Chua, Dr. Rajeev Nayar, and Dr. Afreen Hyder, the board-certified GI specialists at Summit Digestive & Liver Disease Specialists in Chicago, IL, diagnose and treat gastrointestinal disorders. 

Types of Gastrointestinal Disorders

Chronic or severe symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, or bloody stools, could be a sign of a gastrointestinal disorder. We have several office locations in Chicago, IL, where our experienced GI specialists will evaluate your symptoms and perform tests and screenings to diagnose the problem so a custom treatment plan can be developed. Some different types of gastrointestinal disorders we diagnose and treat include:

  • Diverticulitis 
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Celiac disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Crohn’s disease

Signs You Should See a GI Specialist 

Abdominal pain or cramps, bloating, diarrhea, heartburn, and constipation are all symptoms of a digestive or gastrointestinal disorder. Many times these symptoms are only temporary and are due to eating certain foods. Over-the-counter products can ease pain and discomfort until the issue passes. However, some symptoms are warning signs of a gastrointestinal condition. You should schedule an appointment with a GI specialist if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe abdominal pain 
  • Blood in stool following a bowel movement 
  • A change in frequency with which bowel movements occur 
  • Chronic or severe heartburn that prevents you from sleeping at night
  • Persistent gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation that gets worse or does not go away 
  • A change in the color or consistency of your stools 
  • Unexpected weight loss 
  • Difficulty swallowing 

Gastrointestinal Screenings

Several different screening methods are available for diagnosing various gastrointestinal and digestive disorders. Screening tests enable GI specialists to more closely examine specific areas inside the gastrointestinal tract without performing surgery. Some common methods of screening for and diagnosing gastrointestinal problems include:

  • Endoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Capsule endoscopy

Severe or persistent gastrointestinal symptoms could be a warning sign of a severe health issue that requires treatment. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Chua, Dr. Nayar, or Dr. Hyder, our skilled GI specialists, call Summit Digestive & Liver Disease Specialists in Chicago, IL, at (630) 889-9889.