How Can I Know If I Have Gastrointestinal Problems?

Did you know? According to GI Alliance, more than 20 million Americans suffer from chronic gastrointestinal diseases, while 62 million Americans are diagnosed with new GI issues every year.

If you believe you are dealing with GI and digestive issues of your own, you’re certainly not alone! Our AFC Urgent Care Athens, TN team shares more helpful info below, so keep reading.

What Are Gastrointestinal Diseases?

Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases affect the gastrointestinal tract, which runs from the mouth to the anus.

During the body’s digestion, food and drink are broken down into small parts (nutrients) that the body can absorb and use as energy. When a GI issue or disease occurs, it interferes with the digestive process, and conditions can range from mild to serious. Some of the most common GI issues are heartburn, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance. We’ve listed the most common GI symptoms below.

GI Disease Symptoms

  • Bleeding
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Incontinence
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the belly
  • Swallowing problems
  • Weight gain or loss

Can I Prevent Gastrointestinal Diseases?

While not all of them can be 100% prevented, living a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in lowering your risk of developing GI issues.

Another more specific way to make sure your body is protected from GI issues is by getting a colonoscopy when it is time, which is usually at age 45 for average-risk patients. However, iff you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, a colonoscopy may be recommended at a younger age. We’ve listed a few more prevention tactics below.

Ways to Prevent GI Diseases

  • Maintain a healthy diet. Add fiber, lower salt intake, drink lots of water and eat a variety of whole foods rather than processed foods.
  • Stay active. Getting at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity can put you on the right path to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Be wary of your medications. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause digestive problems, so talk to your doctor about possible side effects and ask for a substitute if a medicine is causing GI issues.

Our AFC team is here for you seven days a week! Don’t hesitate to visit us today.