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AARP: 10 Stomach Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

AARP recently interviewed gastroenterologist Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, director of Health Services Research at Cedars-Sinai, about stomach symptoms that could be a sign of something serious, including COVID-19.

Everyone experiences occasional stomach issues and digestive discomfort, and they're usually not cause for worry. However, symptoms such as prolonged diarrhea could hint at a bigger problem.

Just as a cough or fever can be the first signs of COVID-19, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms could also point to an infection, Spiegel told AARP. In fact, studies have proved that COVID-19 can cause gastrointestinal symptoms in as many as half of coronavirus cases.

“Don’t wait for a cough or shortness of breath to get tested for COVID if you have diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, or abdominal pain that lasts more than a day,” said Spiegel, who also is a professor of Medicine.

Diarrhea is the most frequently reported GI symptom among COVID-19 patients. “One bout of diarrhea may not mean anything, but if you have three or four per day and it is going on two days, and you have no history of diarrhea, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor, whether we’re in a pandemic or not,” Spiegel told AARP

Other digestive symptoms that could signal serious health problems include:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Severe cramps after eating
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chronic or prolonged constipation
  • Sudden, intense abdominal pain
  • Frequent, severe or worsening heartburn
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Feeling full after eating very little

Patients should seek medical attention right away if they experience any of these issues.

Click here to read the complete article from AARP.