You eat something that doesn’t agree with you, and while your stomach objects for a few hours, the problem eventually passes. Conversely, you routinely struggle with digestive problems and you don’t know why. In either case, you have gastrointestinal distress, and determining whether there’s cause for concern can be tricky.
To help you break down gastrointestinal distress, our team here at Forest Urgent Care pulled together a few potential problems to help you know when seeking our help is a good course of action.
Gastrointestinal distress and COVID-19
Since COVID-19 is the primary health concern these days, let’s explore whether digestive issues are part of the problem. While COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting on its list of symptoms.
If you have unexplained digestive issues and they’re accompanied by fever and respiratory symptoms, we urge you to come see us for a COVID-19 test.
Acute nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation
Outside of COVID-19, there are many conditions that can lead to sudden and acute problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or constipation, including:
- A stomach virus
- Food poisoning
- Allergic reactions
- An intestinal blockage
- Excessive drinking
A good rule of thumb for seeking treatment for this type of digestive upset is to wait 24 hours to see if the symptoms subside. During this time, you should stay hydrated and take over-the-counter medications. If there isn’t any improvement after 24 hours, we recommend you come in so we can get to the bottom of the problem before you run into larger problems like dehydration.
We should note that if these symptoms are severe and they’re accompanied by sweating and extreme cramping, don’t wait 24 hours. You may have an intestinal blockage and you should seek help straight away.
Ongoing gastrointestinal distress
If you have digestive symptoms that are more chronic, this could be attributable to any number of problems, including:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Food allergies
- Irritable bowel syndrome
These conditions lead to more than stomach upset and diarrhea and can include:
- Painful cramping
- Bloody or tarry stools
- Difficulty swallowing
If you’re experiencing these types of ongoing problems with your digestive system, we strongly urge you to come see us so that we can identify the problem and get you on the road to relief.
The bottom line is that there are a variety of problems that can lead to gastrointestinal distress, some more serious than others. If your symptoms persist, are severe, or crop up out of nowhere, you’d do well to contact one of our two New York offices in Forest Hills or Hunters Point, Long Island City.
For your safety, we can also set you up with a telehealth visit to get started.