Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases are actually more common than you might realize. In fact, more than 20 million Americans suffer from chronic gastrointestinal diseases, while 62 million Americans are diagnosed with new GI issues every year.
So, even though stomachaches and pains are common, certain symptoms could be signs of something more. Learn more from our AFC Urgent Care Fountain City team below.
What Are GI Diseases?
Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases are disorders of the digestive tract, which is often called the gastrointestinal tract. During digestion, food and drink are broken down into small parts that the body absorbs and uses as energy and building blocks for cells.
GI diseases range from mild to severe, causing symptoms from the occasional upset stomach to the more life-threatening colon cancer. We’ve listed the most common GI disease symptoms below.
Common GI Disease Symptoms
- Abdominal discomfort (bloating, pain or cramps)
- Unintentional weight loss
- Vomiting and nausea
- Acid reflux (heartburn)
- Diarrhea, constipation (or sometimes both)
- Fecal incontinence
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
Are My Symptoms a Sign of GI Disease?
If you are experiencing the symptoms we’ve listed above, then yes, they’re signs that you are likely dealing with a GI disorder.
Even though GI diseases are very common, they also remain very preventable—excluding those who have a higher risk of developing GI disorders due to their genetics. We’ve listed some effective ways you can lower your risk of developing a GI disorder 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.
Are you ready to feel better? Our AFC Urgent Care Fountain City team can help! Don’t hesitate to visit or reach out today.