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Constipation is uncomfortable and painful but it can be cured. Check out this video, Constipation 101, to know its causes, symptoms and remedies.
Transcript: You know those days when things are moving along just fine and then, well, they're NOT? Or maybe, they're...
You know those days when things are moving along just fine and then, well, they're NOT? Or maybe, they're REALLY not? We all take our digestive systems for granted. That is, until something goes awry and our bodies get more "backed up" than we're used to. That unpleasant surprise is CONSTIPATION. Over 4 million Americans experience mild OR chronic constipation, though we may not talk about it much, aside from grumbling about a sore belly.Mild constipation is defined as occasionally having FEWER THAN 3 bowel movements per week and they're often painful. The best cure for mild constipation is often more fluids, and more fiber. While uncomfortable, it most often clears up within a few days. CHRONIC constipation is diagnosed if you have two or more of the following symptoms for at least 3 MONTHS: Straining during a bowel movement more than 25 percent of the time.Hard stools more than 25 percent of the time.Incomplete evacuation more than 25 percent of the time.Two or fewer bowel movements in a week. Children, pregnant women and the elderly are the most-often blocked up by chronic constipation. But how do you get constipated in the first place? What goes wrong? Often, nothing ACTUALLY goes wrong. You have a basically healthy digestive system, but it is not functioning at its best, all the time. During digestion, food is supposed to move through the colon, the biggest part of the large intestine. That's where water is extracted from food and a stool is formed. The muscles in the colon THEN push the stool toward the rectum where it is expelled. If the colon removes TOO MUCH water, or the colon muscle contractions are WEAK, then stools move too slowly through the intestines. And you get constipation. Common causes of constipation include: Poor nutrition, particularly a lack of FIBER;Not drinking enough fluids; Lack of physical activity; Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement; Stress; Change in routine, such as travel;And Irritable bowel syndrome. Constipation may also be a side effect of certain medications, or related medical conditions. Occasionally, it's not possible to identify the cause - this is called idiopathic constipation and it typically doesn't respond to standard treatments. Usually, however, occasional constipation is simply solved by drinking additional fluids and upping your fiber. If you're experiencing chronic constipation, your best bet is to consult with your doctor.More »
Last Modified: 2014-07-01 | Tags »
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Constipation means you can't go, but when do you need to see a doctor for constipation? Watch this video to learn about diagnosing constipation.
Transcript: Alright, you're constipated. You just can't "go." But how BADLY are you constipated? And do you need...
Alright, you're constipated. You just can't "go." But how BADLY are you constipated? And do you need to see a doctor? IF - regardless of what remedy you've tried -- your constipation lasts for two to three weeks, and you get bloating, sharp or severe abdominal pain, rectal pain, occasional diarrhea, and unexplained weight loss, it's time to see a doctor. Your best bet for an accurate diagnosis is to be explicit about your symptoms, and your medical history. It might be embarrassing to talk about these issues, but your doctor can't help you without the right information. Most commonly, a lack of dietary fiber is the root cause of constipation. But it's possible that your symptoms may call for a rectal examination, where the doctor examines the anus to uncover tenderness, bleeding, or an impacted stool that stretches the rectum. Additionally, if further diagnostic testing is needed, your doctor could suggest: *A sigmoidoscopy. This examines the rectum and lower portion of the colon with a lighted flexible tube. * A colonoscopy, which is similar to the sigmoidoscopy, but examines the entire colon. *A barium enema X-ray, in which the rectum, colon and sometimes a part of the small intestine are coated with a radioactive substance to IDENTIFY ABNORMALITIES. Also, your doctor may suggest a simple blood test to rule out thyroid disease or other disorders that may cause constipation. To restore regularity, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes including drinking MORE water and LESS alcohol and coffee. He may also prescribe a stool softener or a high-fiber compound that you dissolve in water and drink once a day. If you ARE suffering from extended constipation, take it seriously, and consult with a doctor. While constipation is often not serious, it can sometimes point to greater health concerns.More »
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Are you suffering from constipation? Drinking plenty of liquids and consuming fiber can help. Check out our video to learn about curing constipation.
Transcript: Feeling a little backed up? Well, if during the past three months, you've had two or fewer bowel movements...
Feeling a little backed up? Well, if during the past three months, you've had two or fewer bowel movements a week and they're painful or feel incomplete, chances are you're constipated. Fortunately, most of the time constipation is relatively simple to cure. Constipation is usually caused by a lack of fluid and fiber in the digestive tract. To ease the condition, drink two to four EXTRA glasses of water a day and increasing your fiber intake. You can get enough fiber to get you GOING again if you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. A good daily dose might include a cup of broccoli, a spinach salad, and a baked potato, PLUS some beans and rice and a cup of raspberries. Other good sources of fiber include: * figs *mangoes *nuts *Brussels sprouts * root vegetables. Another way to ease constipation? EXERCISE. Take a walk, jog, bike, swim. Anything that gets your heart pumping. In some cases, you may need to use stool softeners, mild laxatives or a gentle enema. However, laxatives shouldn't be used for more than two weeks -- overuse can make constipation worse. Chronic constipation can lead to hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal prolapse, and fecal impaction, so if constipation is an ongoing issue for you, take it seriously and see your doctor. One more tip: All these ways of CURING constipation - they can help you PREVENT it too. To find out more about common digestive problems, check out other videos on this site.More »
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Diarrhea is the condition that no one wants to talk about, but everyone has had. Learn the basics, and what to do if diarrhea is serious.
Transcript: Diarrhea. No one wants to talk about it, but everyone's probably had it at least once. And...well, it...
Diarrhea. No one wants to talk about it, but everyone's probably had it at least once. And...well, it can sometimes be inconvenient, and embarrassing. However, whether it comes on because of a once-in-a-while spasm, as a symptom of an infection, or because of a chronic intestinal problem, diarrhea is a potential health hazard. Untreated it can lead to dehydration and deprive you of needed nutrients. The most common type of diarrhea happens if your colon doesn't absorb enough water from the food and liquid you take in, or if undigested food passes too quickly through the small intestine and colon for enough water to be removed. This kind of diarrhea may be triggered by: viral and bacterial Infections or parasites such as Giardia; certain medications, such as antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, heart and high blood pressure drugs, antacids containing magnesium, and chemotherapy; food intolerances, such as those to milk or to some sugar substitutes, and food allergies; stress and anxiety; and exercising in the heat or running long distances can also bring on an episode. Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, or diseases such as Crohn's or celiac, as well as any laxative and alcohol abuse, are also known causes. If you have diarrhea you'll know it. Not only because you've made your bathroom home base, but because on top of urgency you'll probably have abdominal bloating or cramps. In rare cases you may get nausea and vomiting. In most cases, diarrhea will clear up on its own - just remember to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. If your diarrhea lasts for more than two days, or if you see blood in your stool, it's time to call the doctor.To learn how to prevent and treat diarrhea, check out other videos on this site.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-18 | Tags »
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Diarrhea can be a rather annoying digestive issue. Fortunately, you can learn about diarrhea treatment and prevention tips by watching this video.
Transcript: When you think of diarrhea prevention the first thing that probably comes to mind is -- DON'T DRINK THE...
When you think of diarrhea prevention the first thing that probably comes to mind is -- DON'T DRINK THE WATER. Or avoiding that restaurant that once left you stuck in the bathroom ALL NIGHT LONG. But there's more to preventing this annoyingly painful digestive issue. Diarrhea happens when the intestines SECRETE too much water and the colon does NOT pull enough LIQUID out. This can be caused by a number of things, including: *bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections *food intolerances and sensitivities *reactions to medicines *and functional bowel disorders or intestinal diseases *stress *endurance exercises, particularly running. To avoid infection-triggered diarrhea, wash your hands before eating, clean all fruits and vegetables before eating them, and cook all meats ALL the way through. If your diarrhea is caused by a food intolerance or a digestive disease, keeping a food diary to track your meals may be helpful. You could find that foods such as red peppers, green onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, beans, citrus fruits, wheat, rye, barley, dairy, are personal triggers. And fried foods, fatty meats, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and alcohol often make the problem worse. Make sure to share the information with your doctor. Drinking more water and increasing fiber can help keep your intestines working smoothly. So can relaxation. Stress can cause the digestive muscles to tense up and then spasm, speeding up digestion and reducing water absorption in the colon. If you DO get hit with the runs, here's how you'll want to treat it: * Drink water and other liquids such as fruit juice without pulp, broth, caffeine-free soda, tea with honey, and sports drinks frequently throughout the day. Roughly a liter per hour for one to two hours, or until diarrhea symptoms subside. * Eat more soluble-fiber rich foods, and try the stomach-soothing BRAT diet - that's banana, rice, applesauce and toast-- while avoiding foods that irritate your gut. * If you have diarrhea for longer than 6 hours, you can pick up an over-the counter antidiarrheal medication to thicken the stool and slow intestinal spasms. To avoid constipation, stop taking the medication as soon as stools thicken. However, if you've been experiencing diarrhea for more than two days, passing stools containing blood or pus, have severe pain in the abdomen and rectum, and a fever of more than 102 you should see a doctor right away. It could be a sign of a more serious infection. And if diarrhea is caused by bacteria or parasites, over-the-counter medicines may prolong the problem. To learn about other common digestive issues, check out more videos in this series.More »
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Most people don't take diarrhea seriously enough to know when to see a doctor for diarrhea. Learn the symptoms and signs that you need medical attention in this video.
Transcript: It's been 2 days and you're still afraid to be more than 20 feet from the bathroom. You're crampy, bloated...
It's been 2 days and you're still afraid to be more than 20 feet from the bathroom. You're crampy, bloated and DRAINED. That's a pretty good sign that your diarrhea ISN'T going away and you should call the doctor. While most cases of diarrhea are mild and DO go away on their own, some cases can be more serious and may be a warning that a bigger health issue is brewing. If you're experiencing any of the following, get to a doctor, a clinic or emergency room: *Severe diarrhea that shows no improvement after 48 hours *Blood, mucus or pus in the stool *Severe abdominal pain, tenderness or bloating that doesn't go away after a movement *Vomiting and nausea *A fever over 101 *Dehydration OR *If you're pregnant or have preexisting health conditions that may be aggravated by ongoing diarrhea. When you see a health care provider let them know about your medical history and current condition. You should mention: *any diagnosed chronic intestinal disease, food allergies or food intolerances *If you've recently traveled out of the country or spent time in rural areas*If you've recently taken any new medications *When your symptoms started *If anyone else you live with is sick *If you're on a special diet *If you've recently eaten any raw or unpasteurized foods -sushi or some cheeses, for example. *If you've ever had abdominal surgery *If you drink coffee or alcohol or smoke and how much and how often. If necessary, the doctor will test for any infections OR to see if the diarrhea is a symptom of another disease or disorder. For example, a blood pressure reading can determine dehydration-it will be low if you are. And a stool sample can be checked for signs of intestinal inflammation, toxins, viruses and parasites. If necessary, other tests can be done to check for a chronic condition such as food allergies and intolerances, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic intestinal diseases such as celiac or Crohn's, malabsoprtion of fats and sugars, and hormonal issues including hyperthyroidism. In extreme cases, prolonged diarrhea can cause kidney failure and heart rhythm irregularities, so don't try to sit it out. To find out how to prevent and treat diarrhea, check out other videos on this site.More »
Last Modified: 2014-07-22 | Tags »
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Anyone who has suffered with food poisoning knows how painful it is. Check out our video where we discuss this condition in detail.
Transcript: If you've never come down with food poisoning, consider yourself lucky. This stomach ailment -- typically...
If you've never come down with food poisoning, consider yourself lucky. This stomach ailment -- typically caused by eating food or drinking fluids contaminated with bacteria, parasites, viruses, or toxins - can result in: A fever or chills, Headache, Nausea, Stomach cramping, Vomiting, Diarrhea and fatigue within 2 to 6 hours of eating or drinking the contaminated food. Really, it's no picnic. However, some people have been known to come down with food poisoning after eating at a picnic or large social functions; in school, work or other cafeterias; at restaurants, especially buffets or from street vendors. In the U.S., bacteria such as Staphylococcus or Escherichia coli -- E. coli are commonly responsible for most food poisoning cases, but foodborne parasites such as protozoa, roundworms, and tapeworms can also be to blame. These bacteria and parasites can contaminate: Raw seafood; Undercooked meats or eggs; Meat that has been improperly processed or has come in contact with intestinal bacteria; Unrefrigerated dairy products; Fruits and vegetables that have not been washed properly; Food prepared by a person who did not wash his or her hands properly; Food prepared with contaminated utensils. Most people fully recover within 12 - 48 hours, as long as they drink plenty of fluids and make sure they protect their electrolyte balance with replacement drinks like Gatorade. But if you get hit with this gut-wrenching problem and are pregnant, have a serious medical condition, such as kidney disease or diabetes, a weakened immune system or have recently traveled out of the U.S., you'll want to see your doctor. You'll also want to see a doctor if: There is pus or blood in your stool; Diarrhea lasts more than 5 days; Your heart is racing, pounding, or skipping beats. The doctor may take a stool culture and draw blood to rule out any other conditions. If your symptoms are from food poisoning, the doctor probably won't prescribe you anything. In most circumstances, you don't want to take something that stops diarrhea. You want to expel the toxins. Instead, the doctor will probably suggest nutrient-rich fluids and some bed rest until you recover. To learn about other common digestive ailments, check out other video in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-12 | Tags »
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Did you know hemorrhoids are caused by pressure on the anal veins? Over the counter remedies can be helpful in treating hemorrhoids. Watch this to see what they are.
Transcript: Hemorrhoids are swollen or inflamed veins in the anal canal that can be rather painful, and at times...
Hemorrhoids are swollen or inflamed veins in the anal canal that can be rather painful, and at times itch and sting. If severely inflamed, they can bleed when stool is passed. They happen because of pressure on the anal veins FROM chronic constipation and physical inactivity OR as a result of pregnancy or obesity. Sometimes hemorrhoids erupt externally and protrude out of the anus. Others are entirely internal. Doctors often recommend that EXTERNAL hemorrhoids, which are typically more painful, be treated with over-the-counter remedies to temporarily relieve pain and itching. These include ointments, suppositories or pads that contain witch hazel or hydrocortisone. Just don't rely on them for more than a week. They can cause a skin rash and additional inflammation, as well as skin damage. Eating more fiber, drinking more water and taking a stool softener to relieve constipation is also recommended. For TEMPORARY relief, you can also try soaking regularly in a warm bath, using moist towelettes to wipe instead of dry toilet paper, applying cold compresses and taking oral pain relievers. Sometimes a simple surgery is required to remove a blood clot that forms in the inflamed veins. INTERNALl hemorrhoids call for other treatments. Since there is a lack of pain receptors in the anal canal, most people don't know they even have internal hemorrhoids until they see bright, red blood with their stool. Untreated internal hemorrhoids can lead to two severe forms of hemorrhoids: prolapsed, when they distend out of the anus, and strangulated, in which the anal sphincter muscle cuts off blood supply. To prevent these problems, a doctor may recommend you have a minimally invasive procedure to remove the hemorrhoids. Rubber band ligation cuts off circulation to the damaged vein, causing it to shrivel up and fall off within a week. Sclerotherapy uses an injected a chemical solution to shrink the hemorrhoid. And coagulation uses a laser, infrared light or heat to shrink the hemorrhoid. If these procedures don't keep hemorrhoids from coming back, a a hemorrhoidectomy is suggested to remove the chronically inflamed veins and surrounding tissue. For more information on common digestive issues and how to treat them, check out more videos on this site.More »
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Looking and reading your poop might sound strange but it is a very good habit to have. It can help you diagnose a lot of health related issues. Click here to learn more.
Transcript: Everybody poops. Almost everybody looks at it. And that's smart. Its shape, color, consistency and buoyancy...
Everybody poops. Almost everybody looks at it. And that's smart. Its shape, color, consistency and buoyancy can tell you a lot about your digestive and overall health. In fact, it's so informative that there is an official diagnostic chart -- The Bristol Stool Chart -- that describes feces in three categories: Those indicating constipation are: * Separate hard lumps, like nuts. Usually hard to pass. * Sausage-shaped but lumpy. Those indicating that everything is operating optimally: * Sausage-shaped but with cracks on the surface. * Sausage-shaped or snake-like, usually smooth and soft. And those that are too soft or that indicate diarrhea. They range from soft but formed shapes to entirely liquid without solid pieces. Color also matters: Normally feces are brownish. That's from the digestive fluids, bile and bilirubin, that are in them. Yellow indicates either an infection, such as Giardiasis, that's caused by a parasite, or Gilbert's Syndrome, that comes from excess bilirubin. A whitish, clay color indicates a lack of bilirubin and is a sign of a medical emergency. Black indicates the presence of digested blood, typically due to bleeding in the upper digestive tract, such as from a peptic ulcer. Medications including those for indigestion and dietary supplements, such as iron pills, can turn feces black. Eating foods high in animal blood, and those containing beetroot, black licorice, or blueberries can turn feces black, too. If you have black, tar-like sticky stool, you should see a doctor immediately since this could indicate internal bleeding. Bright red indicates the presence of undigested blood, either from lower in the digestive tract, hemorrhoids, or from a more active source in the upper digestive tract. Beets could also be responsible. If you see large amounts of blood in the toilet, go to the doctor immediately. Green indicates the feces moved too rapidly through the intestines or that there is a large amount of unprocessed bile in the digestive tract. It could also be the result of consuming too much green or blue food dye. Blue indicates too much consumption of foods and drink containing blue food dye. Food may sometimes make an appearance in the feces. Common undigested foods found in human feces are seeds, nuts, corn and beans, mainly because of their high dietary fiber content. Some people even spot parasites such as pinworms and/or eggs in their feces. This indicates an infection. As for buoyancy, your feces can either sink or float. Now while most people think it's an increase in fat content that makes feces float, it's actually an increase in gas caused by either malabsorption of nutrients or an infection. Getting your feces to sink may be possible by some probiotics into your diet. Remember though, all changes in feces should always be mentioned to your doctor, especially if they occur for more than a week. For more information on common digestive issues, check out other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-17 | Tags »
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Women can have more severe and frequent digestive problems as compared to men. Watch this video to get detailed information about women’s digestive issues.
Transcript: We ALL experience unpleasant digestive issues - diarrhea, constipation, gas and heart burn. Women, however,...
We ALL experience unpleasant digestive issues - diarrhea, constipation, gas and heart burn. Women, however, experience these more often -- about once a month more often. You see, experts think the hormones associated with a woman's menstrual cycle, pregnancy AND menopause could trigger these digestive reactions. For instance, some women experience diarrhea two to three days before the start of their menstrual period, while others struggle with constipation. Gas and bloating are also common before and during a woman's period. During pregnancy, especially early on, hormones are thought to trigger bowel changes and diarrhea. As pregnancy progress, the uterus expands, putting pressure on the intestines. This can interfere with bowel movements and cause painful constipation and eventually hemorrhoids. Additionally, some women experience heartburn because of the pressure put on the stomach. It's estimated that about 85 percent of women experience heartburn during pregnancy. When it comes to MENOPAUSE, diarrhea, constipation and gas can be problems. If hormone replacement therapy is being used, the symptoms may become more irritating. After menopause, women's most common digestive issue is malabsorption of nutrients from food. This is thought to be from age-related changes in the digestive system and the body as a whole, not specifically because of hormonal changes.Unfortunately, premenopausal women may write off repeated digestive problems as part of their hormone cycle when they actually have an underlying condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, gallstones or colon cancer. Up to 75 percent of those diagnosed with Irritable bowel syndrome are women. Experts think this may be because women's digestive systems are more sensitive than men's. It is important to note though that women who suffer from IBS often have irregular menstrual cycles and symptoms of IBS typically get worse right before the start of their period. For more information on these digestive conditions and how to treat them, check out other videos in this series.More »
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Everybody burps, farts and gets a little bloated from time to time. Watch this to see what's causing the gas, bloating and burping and how to relieve it.
Transcript: Everybody burps, farts and gets a little bloated from time to time. These are all normal parts of your...
Everybody burps, farts and gets a little bloated from time to time. These are all normal parts of your digestive sound track. As your body digests food, you can get a build-up of hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and, in about one-third of all people, methane in the stomach and intestines. They need to be released, and that's when you get burping and flatulence.Common triggers of a temporary gas build-up include lentils, beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, bananas, prunes, and eggs. also fuel the gas pipeline. When your body becomes accustomed to these foods, the gas often subsides. Carbonated beverages also fuel the gas pipeline. Possible causes of CHRONIC burping or farting include food intolerances and allergies, constipation, stomach or bowel obstructions, a lack of good bacteria - called probiotic organisms - in intestinal tract, and hormonal changes, especially during menstrual cycles and menopause. Whether you are gassy after a meal of beans and rice or you struggle with frequent burping, when it comes to treating and preventing burping, farting and bloating doctors often suggest: Eating more slowly and chewing food thoroughly before swallowing; Not drinking through a straw or chewing gum - excess inhaled air can power the burps; And If you can't PREVENT a gas attack, you can try over-the-counter remedies containing simethicone after meals or enzyme supplements before you eat. While sometimes embarrassing, gas is rarely cause for alarm, unless it becomes painful. Burping that occurs with other symptoms, such as pain, heartburn, nausea, a decreased appetite, or weight loss, may have a more serious cause, such as gastroesophageal reflux or GERD, ulcers, gallstones, cystic fibrosis, heart attack and cancer. It is normal to pass gas from six to 20 times a day-most of it passes unnoticed. But if your gas is accompanied by painful bloating nausea, decreased appetite, weight loss or bloody, mucus-coated feces you should make an appointment with your doctor. For more information on other common digestive issues, check out more videos on this site.More »
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Diarrhea and abdominal pain indicate that you have a digestive problem, but which one? Watch our video to learn about diagnosing digestive issues.
Transcript: Your stomach and guts are not feeling good. How do you know WHAT'S causing the problems or if they are...
Your stomach and guts are not feeling good. How do you know WHAT'S causing the problems or if they are serious? Rule of thumb: If you're experiencing repeated diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain or nausea, go see your doctor, right away. Those symptoms may be stress-related or the sign of a virus, OR they could indicate a more chronic problem that requires medical attention. Inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis. Stomach and intestinal polyps .Diverticulosis. Crohn's disease. Esophageal reflux. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Food sensitivities such as lactose intolerance, etc. Cancer of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas and colon. During the visit, the doctor will ask you a few questions about your eating habits, your work, home and sleep routines, and what kind of pain you have been experiencing. Make sure to include information about what time of day you have the pain or bowel problems, if they happen soon after eating and if you've been losing weight unintentionally. This information may help the doctor decide if you need a CT scan or an endoscopic examination of your intestines. Often, these tests are not necessary. A LOWER GI tract X-ray uses a barium ENEMA to assess the rectum, colon and sometimes part of the lower small intestine. It can identify polyps, tumors, or other structural abnormalities. An endoscopic exam can detect inflammation, infection and cancer in your digestive system. A thin, flexible tube equipped with a small camera is passed through your mouth and into the stomach and the upper small intestine. Endoscopic exams can also offer a look at the lower part of the large intestine and colon via the rectum. Ultrasound scans use sound waves to produce images of the digestive organs, capturing abnormalities such as cysts and tumors. CT scans, which take multiple X-rays of the body from different angles, can pick up cancerous or noncancerous tumors, changes in blood vessels, and inflammation -- particularly of the appendix or diverticula of the intestines. MRIs use large magnets and radio waves to produce similar images of the digestive system. Remember, the sooner you get tests done, the sooner your doctor will be able to diagnose and treat you. So, if you experience abdominal pain, chronic constipation, diarrhea, vomiting or rectal bleeding for more than three days, make a doctor's appointment. For more information on diagnosing and treating specific digestive issues, check out other videos in this series.More »
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