Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal issues are a common reason for medical visits, impacting millions of people worldwide. These conditions encompass a wide range of issues, from the uncomfortable but often minor concerns of vomiting and diarrhea to chronic conditions like Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Our digestive system, also known as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, plays a crucial role in maintaining our overall health. It is responsible for breaking down the food we consume, extracting nutrients, and eliminating waste. However, when this intricate system faces issues, it can result in a myriad of uncomfortable symptoms, affecting our quality of life.

At Carolina Urgent Care, we can provide you with treatment for a wide range of gastrointestinal issues. Understanding these conditions is the first step towards managing them and getting the care you need. 

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common symptoms associated with gastrointestinal issues. Although they are often temporary and can be treated at home, they can also be signs of a more serious issue.

Vomiting, medically known as emesis, is the body's way of expelling harmful substances from the stomach through the mouth. It is often triggered by a variety of factors, such as foodborne illnesses, pregnancy, motion sickness, and certain medications.

On the other hand, diarrhea is characterized by loose or watery stools. Bacterial or viral infections, food intolerances, or certain medications commonly cause it.

While both vomiting and diarrhea can be highly uncomfortable, they usually subside within a few days.

However, persistent symptoms or the presence of other concerning signs, such as severe abdominal pain, blood in your vomit or stool, or signs of dehydration, means you should get medical attention immediately. 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic condition where stomach acid frequently flows back into the esophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn and acid reflux. It occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, a ring of muscle acting as a valve between the esophagus and stomach, does not function properly.

While occasional acid reflux is common and usually no cause for concern, chronic GERD can lead to serious complications if left untreated. These complications can include esophageal stricture, Barrett's esophagus, and esophageal cancer.

Fortunately, GERD can often be managed through lifestyle changes and medication. In some cases, surgery might be necessary.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, or both. The exact cause of IBS is not known, but it is believed to be the result of a combination of factors, including abnormal gastrointestinal motility, heightened sensitivity to pain, and psychological factors.

Managing IBS is often a matter of managing symptoms. Lifestyle changes, including diet and stress management, are often the first line of treatment. In some cases, medication or therapy may be necessary.

Peptic Ulcers

Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside lining of your stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine. Common symptoms include burning stomach pain, feeling of fullness, bloating, or belching. They occur when the stomach's protective mucus layer is reduced, allowing the digestive acids to erode the tissues of the stomach lining.

The most common causes of peptic ulcers are long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Treatment often involves medications to reduce stomach acid and antibiotics to combat H. pylori infection.


Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. The condition can be acute or chronic. Acute gastritis occurs suddenly and is typically caused by excessive alcohol consumption, prolonged use of NSAIDs, or bacterial infection. Chronic gastritis, on the other hand, develops slowly and can last for years.

The most common symptoms of gastritis include upper abdominal pain or discomfort, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment for gastritis usually involves taking antacids and other drugs to reduce stomach acid, which can help relieve gastritis symptoms and promote healing.


Gallstones are hardened deposits that form in your gallbladder, a small organ under the liver. They can range in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. While some people with gallstones do not have any symptoms, others might experience sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen or in the center of your abdomen, just below your breastbone.

Gallstones are commonly caused by an imbalance in the substances that make up bile. While they can be managed with lifestyle changes or medications, surgery might sometimes be necessary to remove the gallbladder.


Constipation is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It can be defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week or hard, dry, and small bowel movements that are painful or difficult to pass. The condition is usually temporary, but constipation can become chronic for some people.

Constipation is often caused by a low-fiber diet, lack of physical activity, certain medications, aging, changes in routine, and not drinking enough water. It can be relieved with lifestyle changes such as increasing fiber intake, regular exercise, and staying hydrated. In some cases, over-the-counter or prescription medications can be helpful.


Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins in your lower rectum and anus. They can cause discomfort, itching, and bleeding during bowel movements. Hemorrhoids can develop due to increased pressure in the lower rectum due to obesity, pregnancy, sitting for long periods of time, or straining during bowel movements.

While hemorrhoids can be uncomfortable, they're usually not serious and often resolve on their own with home treatments. Lifestyle changes such as eating a high-fiber diet, not straining during bowel movements, and getting regular exercise can help prevent hemorrhoids.

Managing Gastrointestinal Concerns with Carolina Urgent Care

Managing gastrointestinal concerns often starts with understanding the conditions and their causes. It's important to recognize the signs and symptoms and seek professional medical help when necessary.

Remember, many of these conditions can be managed or even prevented with the right lifestyle changes and treatments.

Need help with gastrointestinal issues? You can visit our clinics in Chapel Hill, Durham, or schedule an appointment online. We're committed to providing you with the best care possible to help manage your gastrointestinal concerns.

1840 M.L.K. Jr Blvd,
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
5234 N Roxboro St
Durham, NC, 27712

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