Got stomach woes? Sort them out

Before you chalk up your next bellyache to simple indigestion, check out this list of symptoms. While it could just be yesterday’s taco, recurring problems can point to a chronic condition or even a medical emergency.

YOU HAVE Severe abdominal pain, especially on the left side.

YOU COULD HAVE Diverticulitis. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and a liquid diet. Daily fiber (20-35 grams) can reduce symptoms.

YOU HAVE Burning abdominal pain especially after meals.

YOU COULD HAVE Gastritis, or an inflamed stomach lining or acid reflux. Treatment depends on the cause.

YOU HAVE Abdominal pain or cramps, urgent stools.

YOU COULD HAVE Irritable bowel syndrome. Your doctor may prescribe drugs and healthful lifestyle changes.

YOU HAVE Yellow eyes, dark stools or excess fatigue.

YOU COULD HAVE Hepatitis, jaundice or liver disease. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, stomach acid neutralizers or other drugs.

YOU HAVE Upper-right abdominal pain lasting for 30 minutes to several hours.

YOU COULD HAVE Gallstones. In most cases, you’ll need surgery to remove your gallbladder.

YOU HAVE Acute pain or swelling in the abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, inability to pass gas or low fever.

YOU COULD HAVE Appendicitis. Get emergency medical assistance.

YOU HAVE Bloody stools; a change in bowel habits; abdominal pain; weight loss or fatigue; appetite loss; a bloated feeling; vomiting or stomach pain after eating.

YOU COULD HAVE Colon or stomach cancer. See your doctor to have your symptoms evaluated.

YOU HAVE Diabetes, kidney disease and are overweight (and have tried losing weight without success).

YOU COULD HAVE Obesity or a metabolic syndrome. Treatment can include surgery and weight loss programs.

Particularly if you’ve been experiencing new pains or discomfort in your abdomen, a visit to a digestive health specialist may be in order. Contact the Georgia Regents Digestive Health Center at 706-721-9522.


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