Information for Patients
When you eat, your body breaks food down to a form it can use to build and nourish cells and provide energy. This process is called digestion.
Your digestive system is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube. It runs from your mouth to your anus and includes your esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines. Your liver, gallbladder and pancreas are also involved. They produce juices to help digestion.
There are many types of digestive disorders. The symptoms vary widely depending on the problem. In general, you should see your doctor if you have
- Blood in your stool
- Changes in bowel habits
- Severe abdominal pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Heartburn not relieved by antacids
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. Screening tests can find diseases early, when they're easier to treat. You can get some screenings in your doctor's office. Others need special equipment, so you may need to go to a different office or clinic.
Some conditions that doctors commonly screen for include
- Breast cancer and cervical cancer in women
- Colorectal cancer
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Overweight and obesity
- Prostate cancer in men
Which tests you need depends on your age, your sex, your family history, and whether you have risk factors for certain diseases. After a screening test, ask when you will get the results and whom to talk to about them.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality