5. Chest Pain
When you experience pain or an uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest, your stomach is probably not the first organ you think of. However, GI disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pancreatitis, and gallbladder disease can all contribute to chest pain. GERD occurs when a faulty valve allows stomach acid to back up into your esophagus, causing a painful, burning sensation. Inflammation of the pancreas can cause pain in the upper abdominal area that radiates to the chest. Furthermore, gallstones that block a duct in the gallbladder can cause severe pain that extends from the abdomen to the chest.
4. Unexplained Weight Loss
While we all may wish to drop a few pounds, if it happens unexpectedly, it can be a sign of a serious medical condition. According to the Cleveland Clinic, unexplained weight loss is defined as a loss of more than 10 pounds or 5% of body weight over six to 12 months that is not due to changes in diet or exercise. While there are many possible triggers for unexplained weight loss, several GI disorders are possible culprits. Peptic ulcer disease, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis are all disorders that may contribute to weight loss.
3. Black or Tarry Stool
A glance in the toilet that reveals black or tarry stool can be frightening. GI bleeding can result in blood passing through your system and being excreted in your stool. Benign causes of black stools include consuming black licorice, iron tablets, or Pepto-Bismol. If you pass black, tarry stools, consult your doctor to determine if you may be suffering from internal bleeding. Your physician can determine whether your stool discoloration is caused by conditions such as peptic ulcers, inflammation of the esophagus, or cancer.