Gut Health: When to See a Gastroenterologist

Posted June 12, 2019 by in Health + Fitness

Did you know that 74 percent of Americans have digestive issues and over 50 percent of them have never discussed their symptoms with a doctor?

These alarming numbers of people struggle with symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. It could be due to a wide variety of problems, but the most common is when the good bacteria in the gut is disrupted by poor diet, antibiotics or other medication, or extreme stress.

We are going to take a look at common gut issues and symptoms, which is possible to care for at home, and when to see a gastroenterologist.

The Signs of When to See a Gastroenterologist

There are many types of gastrointestinal distress that people experience, but not all is cause for serious concern. Some people have minor food allergies, causing them to bloat or experience gas after eating certain foods. Others get minor heartburn after ingesting acidic foods.

These are common occurrences in daily life and don’t require help from a specialist. But, when these issues become chronic or long-lasting, seeing a specialist may help. You’ll likely have to go to your primary care physician first to get a referral. You often can’t request to have an appointment with a gastroenterologist unless they tell you you need it.

Common Gut Issues

There are gut issues that are common, and others that are not and may require additional medical attention. Let’s take a look:

Chronic Heartburn and GERD

If you suffer from heartburn almost every time you’re eating – and especially if it’s bland food, you may want to see a specialist. Ongoing heartburn causes other medical issues, in your esophagus, stomach, and mouth. This condition can also lead to bad breath.

Sometimes halitosis is caused by ulcers in the stomach and esophagus, or bad bacteria thriving in the gut. Taking probiotics will assist in clearing out the bad bacteria and encouraging the good bacteria to grow. The growing good bacteria will prevent yeast overgrowth. If this issue persists, it’s important to see a specialist as they have the tools to address this concern.

Fatigue and Exhaustion

Another serious sign of gut issues are symptoms of fatigue and tiredness. If you have persistent fatigue that won’t seem to go away, even after getting a lot of sleep, it may point to an autoimmune disease. The stress from bad bacteria in your gut can trigger and cause an autoimmune response in your body.

It is crucial to book an appointment with a specialist if you’re struggling with chronic fatigue as it often is a sign of something more serious.


Have you ever eaten a certain food and had a terrible breakout? Breakouts or other irritations of the skin occur when your gut doesn’t agree with a particular food. You may be allergic, have IBS, or have an unbalance and out-of-order gut microbiome.

There are tests you can do at home to see if your microbiome is out of whack. If this is the case, seeing a specialist helps you determine which foods are the major instigators and show you how to eliminate them from your diet.

Seeing a Specialist

Not all symptoms require a specialist, but they are helpful in a variety of instances and you’ll know when to see a gastroenterologist if you have an ongoing, chronic, or rare problem.

If you’re interested in learning more about other areas of health, check out our health section today!