Our system kicks in the minute food enters our mouths. Moving through the digestive tract – down the esophagus, into the stomach, ending up in the small intestine – food is chemically broken down into smaller molecules, and nutrients are absorbed into the body. From here, solid wastes move into the colon, where they remain for a day or two until they are passed out of the body.
Our bodies send us many signals that tell us how healthy our gut is – or is not. These signals may indicate that our system is functioning just as it should. But sometimes, they serve as a warning to a problem. Symptoms ranging from stomach pain to blood in the stool can indicate a number of problems – some are serious and need a Gastroenterologist’s attention, some resolve themselves and others may be remedied simply by altering your diet, changing your medications or using some other technique.
The following is general information about some of these signals, including guidelines on when you should see a doctor about your symptoms and suggestions for trying to relieve these symptoms on your own, such as taking over–the–counter products and making simple modifications to your diet or lifestyle.
Remember, these symptoms, though embarrassing, may be perfectly normal. But if they persist and cause you prolonged discomfort, be sure to seek appropriate help from your doctor.