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Del Mar, CA

Digestive Issues in Encinitas, CA

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What are digestive issues?

The digestive system is an intricate and extensive part of the body. It extends all the way from the mouth to the rectum. The digestive system helps your body absorb vital nutrients and is responsible for getting rid of waste.

Digestion problems can mean more than negative symptoms. Minor problems that are left untreated can cause more serious, chronic illnesses.

Since there are many different types of digestion issues, you may mistakenly dismiss them. It's important to understand common digestion issues-- along with emergency symptoms-- so you know when to consult with a doctor.

Chronic constipation

Chronic constipation suggests a problem with getting rid of waste. This most often happens when the colon can not pass or move stools throughout the rest of the digestive tract. You might experience stomach pain and bloating along with fewer bowel movements (which are more painful than usual).

Chronic constipation is one of the most common digestive problems in the United States. Getting adequate fiber, water, and exercise will likely help curb constipation. Medications can also offer relief in more serious cases.

Food intolerance

Food intolerance happens when your digestive system can't tolerate specific foods. Unlike food allergies, which can cause hives and respiratory problems, an intolerance just affects digestion.

Symptoms of food intolerance include:

  • bloating and/or cramps
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • irritability
  • gas
  • vomiting

Food intolerance is usually diagnosed by keeping and reviewing a food diary. Recording what you eat and when can help you identify which foods are causing your symptoms.

Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, is one type of food intolerance. It causes digestive problems when you eat gluten (a protein in wheat, barley, and rye). People with celiac disease must adopt a gluten-free diet to reduce symptoms and damage to the small intestine.


Heartburn is an occasional occurrence for a lot of adults. This happens when stomach acids go back up into the esophagus, causing chest pain as well as the trademark burning sensation.

If you have more frequent heartburn, you might have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Such frequent episodes can interfere with your daily life and damage your esophagus.

Symptoms of GERD consist of:

  • chest discomfort
  • dry cough
  • sour taste in the mouth
  • sore throat
  • swallowing difficulties

You may need medications to control heartburn. A damaged esophagus can make swallowing difficult and disrupt the rest of the digestive system.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a type of chronic swelling. It affects one of more parts of the digestive tract.

There are two types of IBD:

  • Crohn's disease: affects the whole gastrointestinal (GI) tract but most commonly affects the small intestine and the colon
  • ulcerative colitis: affects just the colon

IBD can cause more typical digestive ailments, such as stomach pain and diarrhea. Other symptoms can consist of:

  • fatigue
  • incomplete bowel movements
  • loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss
  • night sweats
  • rectal bleeding

It is necessary to diagnose and treat IBD as soon as possible. Not only will you be more comfortable, but early treatment also minimizes damage to the GI tract.

Potential serious conditions

A gastroenterologist is a physician who specializes in identifying and treating diseases involving the digestive system. If you continue to experience digestion issues, it's time to make an appointment.

Some signs are more serious and could mean there's an emergency medical problem. These symptoms include:

  • bloody stools
  • continuous vomiting
  • severe abdominal cramps
  • sweating
  • sudden, unintentional weight loss

These symptoms could be a sign of an infection, gallstones, hepatitis, internal bleeding, or cancer.

The outlook

You may be able to get rid of digestion problems with treatment and lifestyle changes. Some diseases of the digestive system could be long-term, but medications can help relieve symptoms.

Identifying specific digestion issues and speaking with a gastroenterologist can go a long way in terms of helping your doctor give you a correct diagnosis. Remember, you don't have to tolerate constant digestive issues.

For further information about Dr. Stengler’s practice and his clinic in Encinitas, California, please visit our website at or give us a call at (760) 274-2377.

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