Free Digestive Health Issues Seminar at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital

Sreelatha Reddy, M.D.

Gastrointestinal (GI) problems often strike when you least expect it — and at the worst possible time. You might have a gas attack at the movies, indigestion at a dinner party or diarrhea while on vacation.

“Occasional gastrointestinal upset is normal,” said Sreelatha Reddy, M.D., board-certified gastroenterologist at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. “However, if gastrointestinal distress becomes an everyday concern, or you experience a sudden increase in symptoms, there could be something more going on.”

What’s Causing Your Symptoms?

If you’re struggling with unexplained symptoms, your doctor may recommend seeing a gastroenterologist, a specialist who treats disorders affecting the esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas and gallbladder.

Gi Disorders Can Be Classified Into Two Main Groups:

Functional GI disorders occur when the GI tract isn’t functioning as it should. When there’s a functional problem, the GI tract typically looks normal and diagnostic tests show normal results, making it harder to pinpoint the cause of persistent and recurrent symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic constipation are examples of functional disorders. Treatments may include lifestyle changes, medication and other therapies to keep the digestive system in balance.

Structural GI disorders happen when there’s a structural problem in the bowel that needs to be repaired or healed. This includes conditions, such as anal fissures, hemorrhoids, colitis, diverticular disease and colon polyps. Improving bowel habits can help with symptoms, but surgery may be needed in some cases.

“Gastrointestinal issues can be difficult to diagnose and treat,” said Reddy, “so it’s important to listen to your body, and discuss symptoms with your doctor.” If you experience any of the following symptoms, it may be time to see your doctor or a gastroenterologist, abdominal pain or bloating, changes in bowel habits, diarrhea, difficulty controlling bowel movement urges, difficulty swallowing, excessive gas or belching, heartburn, loss of appetite, rectal bleeding, unexplained weight loss or vomiting

Abdominal pain can mean any number of things — from constipation to more serious conditions like appendicitis or diverticulitis. Call your doctor right away when abdominal pain is severe, getting worse or recurring, or accompanied by dizziness, high fever or shortness of breath.

Trust Your Gut — And Talk To Your Doctor

You know your digestive system better than anyone, and you may have the best insight (or at least a gut feeling) about what’s going on. Use this knowledge to your advantage by keeping a journal of your digestive episodes. Record the time of day and frequency of symptoms, such as frequent or loose bowel movements, constipation, cramps or heartburn. Also note any food or other triggers that might be related.

At your appointment, a gastroenterologist will review your symptoms, ask about your health history and perform a complete exam. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, blood tests, X-rays, ultrasound exams and GI endoscopic procedures may be ordered to diagnose your issue. “Don’t wait until it’s unbearable to get help,” Reddy urged. “If your quality of life is suffering, talk to your doctor.”

Digestive Health Seminar – March 19th

Get the facts about GI health at our digestive health seminar led by Dr. Sreelatha Reddy, who will discuss recommended screenings and signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders and how your gut health and the microbiome (bacteria, fungi and other microbes) affect your whole body.

The seminar is scheduled for Thursday, March 19th at 6 p.m. in the Brazos Pavilion Conference Center at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. Registration is required. To register visit or call 281.274.7500.

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