Why you should be attentive to your health?
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something’s wrong, but this doesn’t mean you should schedule an abdominal ultrasound only if you’re in excruciating pain. One thing’s for sure: you should never ignore a symptom. Not paying attention to your body signals or your health leads to complications of pre-existing conditions. Routine check-ups are also very important, as some GIT disorders (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis) may develop without painful symptoms, until it becomes impossible for them to be cured entirely.
The most frequent symptoms of GIT disorders
Symptoms vary according to the type of disorder the patient suffers from. Dyspepsia (indigestion), diarrhea, constipation and bloating are some of the general symptoms specific to most gastro-intestinal diseases. But since anyone can get bloated or constipated simply by changing their diet, not drinking enough water or eating something their system can’t tolerate, how can you differentiate an upset stomach from a GIT disorder?
Unlike the usual, non-threatening digestive distress, the symptoms of GIT disorders are persistent, often accompanied by pain and aggravate with time. Avoid diagnosing yourself on the internet: in the absence of lab tests, there’s a very high chance you’ll overestimate the seriousness of your condition and panic. Only your doctor can perform the necessary tests and provide an accurate diagnosis.
Several complications of GIT diseases
This is a series of complications that may occur if symptoms are ignored or left untreated.
- Peptic ulcer disease is a complication of gastritis (both of them can also be caused by Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium found in the stomach). Due to the caustic effects of gastric acid, a small tear occurs in the stomach mucus, which can be lethal if left untreated.
- Bowel obstruction is a partial or complete blockage in either the small or large intestine. It can be the consequence of severe constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. It is treated in the hospital and in more severe cases (i.e. complete blockages), an ileostomy or a colostomy may be needed (the surgical removal of the affected part of the intestine).
- Fecal impaction (fecal loading) consists of a large, hard volume of stool accumulated in the rectum due to chronic constipation. Osmotic laxatives are administered to increase water content and soften the mass until it can be safely expelled. Not drinking enough water, not eating enough fiber and living a sedentary lifestyle could also lead to fecal impaction or chronic constipation.
- Hemorrhoids are one of the many complications of irritable bowel syndrome, constipation or diarrhea. Blood veins in the anal canal get swollen, painful and even rupture as a result of increased pressure.
That being said, you should never leave anything untreated or postpone check-ups, even if it may turn out to be good news in the end. It’s better to prevent and treat the earlier stages rather than deal with complications later. Many patients who develop complications would wish to go back in time and prevent/avoid their current condition while there was still time. Eat healthy, maintain a healthy lifestyle and don’t run away from your doctor!