Gastrointestinal disorders are one of the common ailments that occur among most individuals. It affects the digestive tract and can affect the normal process of food digestion and absorption. Gastrointestinal issues can be quite uncomfortable and abstaining from treatment can make matters worse. The treatment methods offered in most of the low income medical clinics involve a series of diagnosis aimed at finding the root cause of the problem. It will help in suggesting the appropriate medications that will help in effectively treating the gastrointestinal disorder. Some of the diagnostic tests to analyze gastrointestinal disorders are described below.


Most gastrointestinal disorders like acidity, bowel pattern changes, weight loss, and heartburn indicate problems in the normal functioning of the intestine. In such cases, a detailed examination of the intestine is required, which is performed using an endoscope. Endoscopy is a non-surgical procedure that uses an instrument called endoscope in order to obtain detailed images of the stomach and digestive tract. Tissue samples may also be taken to further to diagnose the presence of any cancerous cells.

Stool Analysis

Gastrointestinal disorders are also diagnosed by analyzing the stool. The state of the stool can reveal a lot about the health of the gastrointestinal system. It can help to analyze the digestion, absorption, microbial balance, and other crucial factors. It involves collecting a sample of the stool in a container and then examining it in a laboratory. Any changes in color, pH balance, bile, mucus, sugars, etc., can help in identifying the specific gastrointestinal disorder.

Abdominal Imaging

Various imaging methods like ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI are also used to obtain a detailed image of the gastrointestinal tract. Abdominal ultrasound is used for analyzing the tissues and blood vessels of liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. A CT scan can help in obtaining a cross-sectional image that can help diagnose any injuries, tumors or infection in the digestive tracts. MRI is also used to diagnose any cancerous cells present in the gastrointestinal tract.

Blood Tests

Carrying out blood tests like blood count, liver function test, pancreatic enzyme test, etc., can help to determine certain gastrointestinal disorders like celiac disease, bacterial or parasitic infection, diarrhea, lactose intolerance, etc. The normal functioning of the liver are also determined by a complete blood count (CBC), blood albumin, prothrombin time, and liver function tests.

Physical Examination

Physical examinations can also aid in diagnosing various types of gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation, diarrhea, acidity, etc. In case of hemorrhoids, the doctor may suggest a physical rectal examination. It involves physically examining the rectum to identify any kind of abnormalities.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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