Everyone experiences occasional gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Symptoms like bloating, constipation, and heartburn might happen after a heavy meal, and shouldn’t be cause for concern. Common GI symptoms include:

  • Heartburn. This is a burning feeling in your chest and throat. It’s due to excess stomach acid that moves up into the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that connects your stomach to your throat.
  • Bloating. Bloating occurs when gas is trapped in your stomach or intestines. This excess gas might be the result of swallowed air or something that occurred during the digestive process.
    It can be very uncomfortable and feel like your digestive system is being stretched out.
  • Abdominal pain. This can feel like an ache, a cramp, or sharp stabs. Pain can be mild to severe, and can occur in the stomach or intestinal area.
  • Diarrhea. This is when the stool is very watery. You may feel cramping and urgency, too.
  • Constipation. This is when the stool is infrequent and hard to pass. It may look dry, little pellets. You may also have abdominal gas, cramping, and bloating when you’re constipated.

If your GI symptoms are so painful and constant that they’re disrupting your life, it could be due to an underlying health condition. Answer the following questions to help you decide if it’s a smart idea to talk to your doctor.