Have you ever had horrible heartburn or a really bad bellyache? Most of us have experienced digestive distress at one time or another. When do you need to seek medical attention for your problem?
What Causes Digestive Distress?
When the gastrointestinal tract is working as it should, you chew your food and swallow it. Then it traverses the esophagus and goes into the stomach through a valve (the lower esophageal sphincter). After being agitated and acidified in the stomach, the food proceeds to the small intestine so that nutrients can be absorbed in the course of its 20+ feet. Finally, what has not been digested and absorbed goes on to the large intestine for final processing by gut microbes. What could possibly go wrong? We’ll get the answers step by step from our guest, gastroenterologist Nicholas Shaheen.
When Should You Worry?
Some symptoms are common and should not alarm you. Which ones should get your attention immediately? We’ll find out what could be a problem and why.
We’ll also discuss when and how often you should be screened or “scoped” to detect problems such as Barrett’s esophagus or colon cancer. How does Cologuard compare to colonoscopy? Which symptoms of digestive distress could indicate a problem with the liver or pancreas? When should you suspect appendicitis and go to the emergency department?
Join the Conversation:
This show originally aired live; hence the questions from callers. We are airing it now as an archive to provide crucial information on how to manage digestive distress. To participate, please leave your comments below; however, we will not be able to answer them on the air.
This Week’s Guest:
Nicholas J. Shaheen, MD, MPH, is the Bozymski-Heizer Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at UNC. Dr. Shaheen is a recognized expert in esophageal diseases and endoscopy. He is author of multiple treatment guidelines for gastrointestinal illnesses.
If you like this interview, you might also want to listen to our previous interview with Dr. Shaheen. It is Show 1144: New Ways to Heal Your Digestive Tract.
Listen to the Podcast:
The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.