Many people get an upset stomach, belly pain, heartburn, or other digestive problems once in a while. But some symptoms should be checked by a doctor. They could be signs of serious medical issues or lead to bigger problems if left untreated.
It’s a good idea to see your doctor if you have:
- Heartburn that won’t go away or gets worse, or needs more than several weeks of medication for relief.
- Heartburn that makes you throw up frequently. The stomach acid that comes up to your throat can damage your esophagus.
- Throwing up blood.
- A feeling that food is caught in your chest or throat.
- Belly pain that is unusual or persistent.
- Unexplained weight loss of 10 or more pounds in less than a year. This can be caused by Crohn’s disease or another condition.
- Pain when swallowing or trouble swallowing. This might be a sign of damage to your esophagus.
- Stools that are bloody or black. This could be an ulcer, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), or cancer, among other causes.
- Persistent hoarseness or a sore throat.
- Diarrhea that won’t stop.
- Chronic constipation, meaning two or fewer bowel movements a week.
Other reasons to visit your doctor include if your symptoms get worse or if you have new ones, or if your problems happen more often.