8 Stomach Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

Stomach Symptoms

We all have stomach problems from time to time. 

But there are some stomach symptoms that you should never ignore. 

That’s because they could be signs of a serious health problem. 

According to health experts, here are some stomach symptoms that you should never ignore:

1. Blood in your stool

Rectal bleeding can be a scary sight. 

However, most of the time, it is not a life-threatening condition. 

According to Cleveland Clinic, the common causes of rectal bleeding include hemorrhoids and anal fissures. (1)

If the bleeding is severe or you are passing black, tarry stools, it could be a sign of gastrointestinal bleeding. 

This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Other causes of rectal bleeding include colorectal cancer, colon polyps, and inflammatory bowel disease. (2)

If you are seeing blood in multiple bowel movements, it is important to see your doctor to determine and treat the cause appropriately.

2. Prolonged constipation, especially if accompanied by pain

Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements in a week. (3)

While it is not usually a serious condition, it can be very uncomfortable. 

Consuming a diet that’s low in fiber and not drinking enough fluids can lead to constipation. (4)

In some cases, constipation can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as colorectal cancer, diabetes, celiac disease, or thyroid problems. (5)

If you are experiencing prolonged constipation, especially if it is accompanied by pain, it is important to see your doctor.

That’s because prolonged constipation can cause abdominal pain, hemorrhoids, and anal fissures. 

Learn more: Foods that Relieve Constipation Quickly

3. Diarrhea that lasts more than a few days

Chronic diarrhea can be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease. 

If you have diarrhea that lasts more than a few days, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as weight loss, fatigue, or blood in your stool, be sure to see your doctor.

Read more: How to Stop Diarrhea Fast

4. Stomach pain after eating

It is normal to experience some stomach pain or discomfort after eating. 

However, if the pain is severe, it could be a sign of a more serious condition.

Some of the more common causes of stomach pain after eating include:

  • Gastritis: This is inflammation of the stomach lining. It can be caused by infection, alcohol abuse, or certain medications. (6)
  • Peptic ulcer: This is a sore in the lining of the stomach or small intestine. It can be caused by infection, stress, or certain medications. (7)
  • Gallstones: These are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can block the bile duct and cause severe pain. (8)
  • Intestinal obstruction: This is a blockage in the intestine that can cause severe pain and vomiting. (9)

If you experience stomach pain after eating that is severe or lasts for more than a few days, be sure to see your doctor.

5. Sudden and severe abdominal pain

Sudden, intense abdominal pain is a medical emergency.    

In particular, acute appendicitis can cause sudden, severe abdominal pain that typically starts near the navel and then moves to the lower right side. (10)

Other causes of sudden and severe abdominal pain include pancreatitis, stomach ulcer, kidney stones, kidney infection, and acute cholecystitis. (11)

If you experience sudden and severe abdominal pain, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Stomach Symptoms

6. Frequent or constant heartburn

Another name for heartburn is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

This is a condition in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. 

Heartburn is a common symptom of GERD, but other symptoms include chest pain, coughing, and difficulty swallowing. 

If you experience heartburn more than a few times a week, or if it is severe, be sure to see your doctor.

If left untreated, GERD can lead to Barrett’s esophagus, which is a precancerous condition. (12)

7. Bloated Stomach

A bloated stomach is often accompanied by other symptoms such as belching, burping, flatulence, and pain. (13)

It can also be accompanied by constipation or diarrhea. 

There are many possible causes of a bloated stomach, including indigestion, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and gastritis. (14)

If you experience a bloated stomach on a regular basis, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as weight loss or blood in your stool, be sure to see your doctor.

8. Vomiting blood

Vomiting blood, or hematemesis, is a medical emergency. 

It can be a sign of a serious condition such as an ulcer, cancer, or internal bleeding. (15)

If you vomit blood, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

The Takeaway

There are many possible causes of stomach symptoms. 

Some, such as indigestion, are relatively harmless. 

However, others can be a sign of a more serious condition.

If you experience any of the following stomach symptoms, it is important to see your doctor:

  • Prolonged constipation
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than a few days
  • Abdominal pain after eating
  • Sudden and severe abdominal pain
  • Frequent or constant heartburn
  • Bloated stomach on a regular basis
  • Vomiting blood.

Your doctor will be able to determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend treatment. 

In some cases, such as with ulcers or cancer, early detection and treatment can be lifesaving. 

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