Do you have prolonged symptoms?
When your abdominal pain, diarrhoea or even vomiting is prolonged over a span of days or weeks, you should get medical help from a gastroenterologist. Patients with IBS will have their bowel habits change frequently, experiencing a mix of diarrhoea and constipation depending on their symptoms.
Black, tarry stools and blood!
Bleeding when passing stool will vary depending on the location. If the blood is from the upper digestive tract, the blood will likely have turned the stool black and caused it to become like tar. This indicates ulcers or irritation in parts of your stomach or esophagus, around the upper digestive tract. It could be a sign of blood complications in the digestive system, which demands urgent medical attention.
Bright red blood is often caused by bleeding in the lower digestive tract and is more commonly associated with rectal bleeding and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Those with IBD may discover bright red blood when they pass their stools from time to time, depending on the inflammation and bleeding. They will also experience a severe urgency to go to the toilet at times when the disorder flares up, combined with very severe abdominal cramp/pain and diarrhoea that may be bloody.
If there is blood in your stools or vomit, then it is urgent for you to seek help immediately as it could be a sign of a more complex gastrointestinal disorder.
Frequent symptoms from time to time, even if the pain is not severe.Even though your symptoms may not be severe enough to interfere with your daily life, frequent symptoms that persist over the course of every few days (or weeks) are still worth consulting a doctor over. It is safer for a person to identify and learn how to manage their condition early before their risk of other diseases increase. This is especially true for patients who have IBD, as the inflammation can lead to a number of other serious complications such as intestinal bleeding, a bowel rupture, colon cancer and even arthritis.
I’m in a period of good health, my symptoms have not been present for a while!
A patient with IBS will continue to learn more about their condition if they consult their doctor, as they may encounter different triggers that can cause their symptoms to return. A period of good health for an IBS patient is certainly cause for relief, provided they are managing their condition and triggers well.
IBD is different case, as it is a chronic disease. There will be a period of time where its symptoms will “deactivate” with no pain or complications, followed by a period where the inflammation flares up and the symptoms return. Regardless of whether your disorder is currently active or not, it is better to consult a gastroenterologist so you can have a better idea of your condition and learn not to make it worse.