Bowel issues affect the digestive system organs, in particular, the small and large intestine. Inflammatory bowel disease, GERD, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis (UC) are all examples of bowel disorders. If left untreated, bowel disorders can cause joint inflammation, malnutrition, anemia, anxiety, and other health complications. Luckily, these disorders are treatable with medications like Entyvio, Stelara, Infliximab, and Ustekinumab that can help with symptom management. It’s important to receive treatment sooner than later, so here are some early indications of bowel issues to watch out for:
1. Excess gas
With most bowel issues, there will be an increase of gas within the intestines, resulting in excess gas being released. If you notice an increase in gas that doesn’t go away, whether that be through belching or flatulence, it may be a sign of bowel issues.
As a result of excess gas in the stomach and intestines, bloating can occur. With the build up of gas, pressure builds in these organs and can cause pain and discomfort. If bloating doesn’t subside or it becomes very uncomfortable, you should see your doctor.
3. Abdominal cramps and pain
Excess gas and bloating as a result of bowel issues can become very uncomfortable and result in abdominal cramps and pain. What’s more, this pain can also stem from issues with the nerves in the digestive system with poorly coordinated signals that then cause your body to react negatively to changes in the digestive process. Lastly, with bowel issues like IBS, the colon muscles tend to contract more—another cause for abdominal pain and cramping.
4. Diarrhea or constipation
With bowel disorders, changes in bowel movements often occur—often in the form of diarrhea or constipation. Rapid contractions of the intestine cause fast movement of stool, not allowing for the absorption of water from digested food, thus resulting in diarrhea. On the other hand, if your bowel movements occur less frequently, too much water gets absorbed from the stool which dries it out and makes it harder to pass, resulting in constipation. If you experience chronic diarrhea, constipation, or other changes in bowel movements, you should see your doctor. If there’s ever blood in your stool, you should seek medical attention immediately.
5. Bowel incontinence
With frequent constipation, trapped stool can stretch the muscles of the rectum and weaken them, which can then result in the inability to keep stool in the body. Any watery stool with a weakened rectum can leak out, resulting in bowel incontinence. Bowel issues and disorders may also come with an urgency to pass stool, another reason why bowel incontinence may occur.