Learn more about symptoms and treatment of common GI problems
Gastrointestinal (GI) issues will affect everyone at some point in their lives. Common stomach issues can range in severity from a mild problem that will easily resolve on its own to a much more serious problem that requires ongoing medical treatment.
There are five common types of stomach issues that can impact your daily life. Learn more so you know what to describe to your physician when seeking care in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Diarrhea, also known as loose stools, is a condition that occurs for numerous reasons. It’s usually caused by bacteria, a virus or a parasite infecting the bowels or intestinal tract. Although generally mild, some cases of diarrhea can be severe, causing extreme dehydration, possibly leading to death. The most common symptoms associated with this condition are:
- Loose, watery stools.
- Stomach pain and cramping.
- The urgent need to have a bowel movement.
The most important thing to remember is to stay well-hydrated when experiencing diarrhea. Dehydration can quickly occur, especially in children and the elderly, and can be very dangerous. Visit an urgent care clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana, or Little Rock, Arkansas, if your child has suffered from diarrhea for longer than 24 hours or an adult longer than 3 days, or if there is blood in the stool, a high fever or severe stomach cramping.
Constipation is a very uncomfortable condition that is characterized by the inability to properly empty the bowels due to stool that has become too hard to pass. This condition is common and can occur due to dehydration, a diet that doesn’t contain enough fiber, certain medications or a number of medical conditions. Symptoms of constipation include:
- Infrequent bowel movements.
- Difficulty passing stool.
- Swollen stomach.
- Stomach pain.
- The sensation of having to go to the bathroom, but being unable to.
You can usually cure constipation at home by drinking lots of water, increasing your fiber intake or using over-the-counter stool softeners or laxatives. If your constipation is severe, comes on suddenly with excessive stomach pain or won’t go away with home treatments, a visit to your local Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center is in order.
GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease and researchers estimate it affects more than 7 million people in the United States. GERD is a digestive disorder affecting the muscle that attaches the esophagus to the stomach. This muscle becomes weak and allows food and stomach acid to pass back up from the stomach into the esophagus, causing the symptoms of indigestion and heartburn to occur. The symptoms usually include:
- Burning sensation in the chest, neck or throat area.
- Food or acid being brought up into the throat and mouth.
- Sour or bitter taste in the mouth.
- Pressure or pain in the chest.
Symptoms are often worse after lying down and usually last for a few hours. Over-the-counter remedies like antacid tablets can help to relieve the symptoms of GERD, as can eliminating high-fat and spicy foods from your diet. If the symptoms of this condition persist, your doctor can prescribe medications that will help to keep it under control.
IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome, and this condition affects as many as 45 million people in the United States. IBS affects the large intestine and is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Changes in the frequency of bowel movements.
- Changes in the appearance and consistency of the stool.
- Stomach bloating and excess gas.
- Severe stomach pain and cramping.
It is unknown exactly what causes irritable bowel syndrome, but doctors suspect that certain foods, periods of severe and prolonged stress and illness can make the symptoms of this condition worse. It’s important to visit your urgent care clinic if your symptoms of IBS suddenly and unexplainably get worse; if you have a fever; if you have stomach pain that is localized in one, specific area; if you have pain or cramping that is not relieved by going to the bathroom; if you are losing weight; or if there is blood in your stool.
Colitis occurs when the lining of the colon becomes inflamed. Many things can cause this inflammation, including infection, chronic diseases or a loss of blood supply to an area of the large intestine. Symptoms of this condition include:
- Bloody stools.
- Abdominal pain and cramping.
- Bloating and gas.
The treatment for this condition depends on its cause. If an infection is present, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. If a chronic disease is causing your colitis, then pain management and medication to decrease the severity of the symptoms might be the course of action your doctor takes.
If your tummy is upset, the doctors at our Little Rock and Shreveport Velocity Care clinics are available to help ease your pain. With convenient urgent care clinics in this region to care for you, Velocity Care can provide you with the best and most efficient medical treatment. Contact us to learn more about the diet you should maintain when you experience one of these types of stomach issues in Little Rock, Arkansas, or Shreveport, Louisiana.
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