Four Common Bowel Problems That Can Affect Your Overall Health, Health News & Featured Articles

When faced with digestive issues like bloating or heartburn, it’s not uncommon for us to turn to home remedies in our medicine cabinets. But what if these symptoms are in fact an indication of a more serious condition?

Last year, researchers at the National University of Singapore found that what was previously thought to be a harmless intestinal organism may be linked to colon cancer and other gastrointestinal illnesses. The parasite – a subtype of the organism Blastocystis – causes an inflammatory response in the intestinal lining, which can lead to inflammatory bowel disease.

An occasional bowel problem is not necessarily a sign of a potentially dangerous disease. However, if symptoms persist, medical experts say you shouldn’t hesitate to see your GP or specialist.

Take note of these symptoms

Over-the-counter medications can relieve some digestive issues quickly, but if your symptoms persist, you may need to consider seeing a specialist for treatment.

Dr Amitabh Monga, gastroenterologist at Gleneagles Hospital, shares some common bowel problems and warning signs we shouldn’t ignore.

Eating too much or too quickly can increase the risk of acid reflux after meals. PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

1. Indigestion

Some symptoms of indigestion include nausea, abdominal swelling, bloating, and frequent belching or gas. Sometimes there are no other symptoms except general discomfort or a dull ache in the upper abdomen.

“The causes can range from incorrect eating habits, excessive consumption of spicy or fatty foods, stress or anxiety, or underlying gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or ulcers. In the face of such symptoms, it is prudent to rule out infestation of the stomach with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). This can be easily done with a breath test, stool test or endoscopy, ”says Dr Monga.

2. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

If you feel gassy and bloated and / or have diarrhea or constipation, you may be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. It is a chronic disorder that affects the colon and changes bowel habits.

He explains, “There is no exact cause for IBS, but it could be triggered by stress, infection or inflammation of the gut, or if there is a family history of the disease.

“While it’s not usually life threatening, some of the symptoms – such as changes in your stool or a feeling that your bowels haven’t completely emptied – are pretty nonspecific and may indicate something more sinister. Therefore, if you are older or there are other alarming symptoms, please consult a gastroenterologist rather than ignoring the symptoms.

3. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Also known as heartburn or acid reflux, this condition occurs when stomach acid, food, or fluids move up from the stomach to the esophagus. You might experience a burning sensation in your stomach or around your chest, nausea, and a sour or bitter taste during the month.

“Stress, smoking, spicy foods, excessive alcohol consumption, or other digestive issues could trigger GERD. And if left unchecked, it could develop into complications such as ulcers in the esophagus, erosions in the digestive tract, or pre-malignant changes such as Barrett’s esophagus, ”notes Dr. Monga.

4. Gastritis

It is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach which can manifest as acute pain that lasts a few days until chronic illness with nausea and loss of appetite. Gastritis can be caused by various reasons such as excessive alcohol consumption, long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, stress, and chronic vomiting.

According to Dr Monga: “Patients with this disease usually have symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea and indigestion, vomiting, weight loss or pain in the upper abdomen. If you notice black, tarry stools or lose weight, please see your doctor right away.

The best way to get the most effective treatment for your symptoms is to see a specialist. PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

Cared for by experts

In a medical emergency, just being proactive in seeking treatment can make a big difference in facilitating your recovery process. And choosing the right medical facility is the first step.

Gleneagles Hospital (GEH), for example, has a multidisciplinary team of highly experienced gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons, oncologists and critical care specialists, so patients can receive the best medical care every time. stage of their treatment.

Its dedicated endoscopy center, which has been refurbished with larger rooms and more daybeds for privacy and comfort, offers a range of diagnostic endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopy – normally performed to investigate intestinal symptoms and screen for colorectal cancer.

Colonoscopies are often seen as an uncomfortable process that people tend to avoid, but there’s really no reason to worry about it, says Dr. Monga.

“In experienced hands, a colonoscopy can be performed safely, without pain or discomfort. It is the gold standard for the detection and prevention of colon cancer. Almost all of my patients report that “they didn’t even know something had happened” after the procedure, “he adds.

Safety measures taken at all Parkway Pantai Hospitals to protect the health of their patients, visitors and staff. INFOGRAPHIC: PARKWAY PANTAI

Secure hospital visits for all

Private healthcare group Parkway Pantai – which operates Gleneagles Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital and Parkway East Hospital – has launched its #HealthcareMadeSafer campaign to promote a safer environment for all .

Safety measures that have been taken at its four hospitals include temperature control and contact tracing, regular disinfection of high traffic areas, social distancing regulations, and self-contained ventilations in wards.

So if you are suffering from symptoms of digestive issues but have postponed a consultation due to safety concerns during the Covid-19 outbreak, you can be assured of your safety and well-being when you visit. these hospitals.

If you or your family members need treatment for a medical problem, make an appointment with a specialist or visit the 24-hour GEH clinics.

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