Gastroenterological Symptoms

Upper Digestive System

Upper Digestive System

  • Heartburn
  • Reflux of acid, water or food into the throat (with heartburn are classic of acid reflux disease)
  • Upper abdominal pain, bloating or discomfort (often called “dyspepsia”)
  • Chronic cough from refluxed gastric acid (“extra-oesophageal” reflux disease which may occur with or without heartburn)
  • Difficulty in swallowing (food, especially solids have difficulty going down)
  • Painful swallowing (pain in the throat or chest upon swallowing)
  • Fresh blood vomited (this is often an emergency)
  • Coffee-ground-like substances vomited (which may indicate altered blood being vomited, also potentially an emergency)

Lower Digestive System

Lower Digestive System

  • Lower abdominal pain (usually in the right or left lower aspects of the abdomen)
  • Constipation (difficulty of passing motions, hard motions, infrequent motions)
  • Diarrhoea (frequent loose or watery stools)
  • Alternating diarrhoea and constipation (sometimes frequent loose stools, other times hard stools or days without opening bowels)
  • Change of bowel habit or pattern from the usual (can be more towards diarrhoea or more towards constipation)
  • Black stools (which may indicate altered blood from bleeding and can be an emergency)
  • Fresh blood passed from the rectum (if in large quantity can be an emergency)

Related to the liver, gall bladder and pancreas

Related to the liver, gall bladder and pancreas

  • Upper abdominal pain and bloating (gallstone and pancreatic disease can mimic dyspepsia)
  • Triad of jaundice, abdominal pain and fever (a classic syndrome of gallstone obstruction of the bile ducts with infection, often an emergency)
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of eyes due to dysfunction of the liver)
  • Dark coloured urine (often a sign of blockage of the bile ducts, bile enters the bloodstream and is excreted in the urine)
  • Pale coloured stools (often a sign of blockage of the bile ducts, bile is prevented from entering the intestines)

Non-Specific – could be upper, lower digestive system, liver or pancreas

Non-Specific – could be upper, lower digestive system, liver or pancreas

  • Bloated sensation in the abdomen (a painful feeling of too much air inside)
  • Distension or swelling of the abdomen (actual increase in girth)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight (loss of appetite and weight, if unintended and significant, could indicate presence of an undiagnosed cancer)
  • General un-wellness or lethargy (very non-specific symptom due to many serious illnesses)
  • Pallor (pale skin and conjunctivae of eyes) due to anaemia (may be a symptom or sign of low level but chronic bleeding into the digestive tract)
  • Chronic diarrhoea (may be due to, inter alia, malabsorption of nutrients in the small intestine or failure of processing faeces by the large intestine)

In addition, if there is a family history of some potentially genetically transmissible gastrointestinal disorders such as polyps or cancer of the stomach and colon, it may be beneficial for relatives to be screened. The closer the relationship and the younger the relative when diagnosed, the more important it is to be screened.

Abnormal results in health screening tests may require further investigations to check for gastrointestinal diseases.

These tests include: 

  •   Positive faecal occult blood (microscopic blood found in the stools)
  •   Anaemia (lack of the red blood pigment haemoglobin)
  •   Abnormal levels of cancer markers in the blood
  •   Abnormal features on x-ray, barium or ultrasound examinations

 

Contact Us

Gleneagles Medical Centre
#10-08,  6 Napier Road
Singapore 258499

Tel: [65] 6471 2212
Fax: [65] 6471 2512
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Answering service: [65] 6333 5550

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About

Dr. Tan Chi Chiu is a clinical Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at Gastroenterology and Medicine International. This private practice offers highly personalised consultations, excellent patient-doctor communications, efficiency in tests and treatments and overall pleasant clinical encounters.

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