7 uncomfortable questions to ask a gastroenterologist
“Gut health is the key to overall health.” After all, almost two-thirds of our body’s immune system resides in the gut. Whatever a person consumes forms the foundation of their overall health. And even a slight problem with gut health can cause many issues, ranging from skin conditions to poor mental health. However, despite its importance, people often find it embarrassing to openly talk to a gastroenterologist about their digestive health.
It is essential, though, for everyone to understand that it is completely normal to ask questions and share things about their health with the doctor. Here are a few common questions about digestive health that people should not feel uncomfortable asking their gastroenterologist:
1. Why do feces have an unusual color?
When it comes to digestive health, a lot of people feel uncomfortable talking about their feces and bowel movements. However, not discussing it with the doctor may do more harm than good. This is because if a person has noticed an unusual change in their feces, like its color, it may be a symptom of an underlying condition. Sometimes, the color of feces can also change based on the consumption of certain colored foods, although that is not always the case. A change in the color of feces could be a side effect of irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases, or some infection. And if that is the case, the doctor must know about it.
2. When is the need for an endoscopy?
People often get uncomfortable talking about endoscopy because they fear it and might not be ready for it. However, if a person has persistent symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, bleeding, and abdominal pain, they might need an endoscopy. Endoscopy is a medical procedure that involves inserting a flexible tube with a camera into the digestive tract to examine it. It’s a standard diagnostic tool. When suggested, patients should openly ask the gastroenterologist about it and clear up any doubts. The doctor can assess the situation and determine when the procedure is needed.
3. Why do feces have a strong stench?
As discussed earlier, talking about bowel movements and feces can be understandably uncomfortable for people, even more so when it is about their unusual odor. But if that is the case, it is essential to tell the doctor. A lot can be determined about a person’s health from their bowel movements, which is why stool tests are commonly suggested. If a person notices an unusual change in their feces’ odor, it may be due to some oral treatment options, some food they consumed, or an infection. If the stench persists, the patient should let the gastroenterologist know about it so that they can determine the severity of the condition.
4. What causes flatulence?
Even though passing gas is as normal as any other digestive process, people can feel embarrassed and nervous about talking about it with their doctor. While it is understandable to feel awkward, it is also important to know that these things must be discussed if one feels something is wrong. While flatulence, or passing gas, is normal, people can get concerned if it persists and makes them uncomfortable. Flatulence usually occurs due to certain types of carbohydrates that remain undigested in the body. And if one feels something unusual about it, they should discuss it with their doctor.
5. How can one prevent future digestive issues?
It is not only bodily functions that people can feel uncomfortable discussing. Sometimes, they can also feel a little uncomfortable asking the doctor if they need to change something in their lifestyle or food regimen. However, if it is a necessity, the doctor might proactively tell the patient. If patients still have concerns, they definitely should ask.
6. What causes acid reflux?
If a person often experiences acid reflux, they should mention it to their doctor. Even if it does not seem severe, persistence in symptoms is something the doctor should know about. Furthermore, one also needs to understand that they could also have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which is chronic. Understanding the difference between acid reflux and GERD is essential for managing these conditions. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn and regurgitation. While occasional acid reflux is normal, its persistence may indicate GERD.
7. What causes constipation?
Constipation is another common issue related to bowel movements that people feel embarrassed to discuss. It occurs when a person experiences infrequent bowel movements, difficulty passing stool, and painful straining. It usually occurs due to a lack of fiber in the meals and dehydration. However, persistent constipation can lead to severe pain and blood in the stool. Furthermore, if left unchecked, it may even lead to infections. Hence, it is better to leave the awkwardness behind and tell the doctor everything. They may be able to examine the condition for its severity and suggest changes in lifestyle, food regimen, or medications if necessary.
These are just a few questions about digestive health and ailments that people often feel uncomfortable discussing, even with the doctor. However, there may be many more. Whatever the question or query may be, it is important to understand that a doctor will never judge their patients. They will only suggest lifestyle changes and provide the right treatment for them. Digestive health is a topic that can sometimes be uncomfortable to discuss, but it’s crucial for one’s overall well-being. So, put health before everything and do not hesitate to seek professional help regarding any medical issue.