Diagnosing Gastrointestinal Disorders
In primary care settings, patients often present with abdominal pain. Although this is frequently a
sign of a gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, abdominal pain could also be the result of other systemic
disorders, making this type of pain difficult to assess. While abdominal pain is most common,
many other GI symptoms also overlap multiple disorders, further increasing the difficulty in
diagnosing and treating patients. This makes provider-patient communication essential. You
must be able to formulate questions that will prompt the patient to provide the necessary
information, as this will guide your assessment and diagnosis. For this Discussion, consider
potential diagnoses for the patient
Diagnosing Gastrointestinal Disorders
Various people are diagnosed with various gastrointestinal disorders. Sometimes it may
be somehow complex to determine which gastrointestinal disorder the patient is suffering from.
Therefore, it becomes prudent to provide an in-depth analysis when making a diagnosis (Buttaro,
Trybulski, Polgar Bailey & Sandberg-Cook, 2013). The paper deliberates on case study 2
pertaining to gastrointestinal disorders among other issues.
The case study is about a 40-year-old female complaining of diarrhea. The woman has as
well suffered from rectal bleeding and abdominal pains. She has lost nine pound in the last
month. For all this period, she has not taken any medications a situation that has contributed to
stressful but manageable life. The woman blood pressure while standing is 86/50 and while
DIAGNOSING GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS 2
standing is 94/60. Her heart rate is 96, respiratory rate is 18 and O2 saturation is 99 percent. She
as well manifests various physical symptoms enlisted in the study.
Various differential diagnoses rhymes to the symptoms of the patient in this case study.
One of the differentiated diagnoses is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). People suffering from this
disease experience diarrhea. They as well experience stress. They further experience abdominal
pain, discomfort among many other symptoms that the patient in the case study exhibits. The
other differential diagnosis may be Crohn disease that as well manifests symptoms relating to
diarrhea and inflammation (Jung, 2012). Other differential diagnosis that relate to those
experienced by the patient in the case study include chronic diarrhea, celiac diseases and
carcinoid syndrome, abdominal aortic aneurysm, duodenal ulcers, gastric cancer and gastric ulcer
among many others. These diseases have similar symptoms that a patient with gastrointestinal
In any diagnosis process, medical practitioners need to consider physical exam and
patient history. History of the patient and physical exam plays critical role in the diagnosis
process. The patient history allows medical practitioners to have a good understanding of the
causes of the diseases and as well facilitates identification of the specific diseases that the patient
suffers from. For instance, understanding the history of a patient about smoking behaviors, blood
pressure, medications taken, diseases diagnosed helps to enhance diagnosis. This history
provides useful insights on the kind of diseases that the patient suffers from. Therefore, the
medical practitioner has higher chances of providing an accurate diagnosis when they have a
clear understanding of patient history. Furthermore, patient history helps the medical practitioner
to provide the best medications to the patient hence enhancing their recovery. It is also important
for medical practitioners to carry out physical exam of the patient (WebMD, 2014). Through
DIAGNOSING GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS 3
physical exam, the medical practitioner has higher chances of providing accurate diagnosis.
Certain physical characteristics are associated with certain kinds of ailments and therefore,
comparing the theoretical symptoms associated with various diseases with the physical
symptoms observed from the patients enhances better diagnosis. This as well facilitates the
period it takes to determine the ailments that the patient is suffering from.
Various treatment options are available for a patient that exemplifies this symptoms-case
study 2. This patient should make adjustments in her diets so that she can stop to diarrhea. She
needs to avoid some of the diets such as carbonated drinks, chocolate, caffeine, artificial
sweetener orbital too (Jung, 2012). These food products worsen diarrhea symptoms. She also
needs to avoid eating many fibers. She should consume soluble because they take shorter time to
leave the digestive system. Some of the soluble fibers that she needs to take include oat bran,
flesh of fruit, brain and the lima beans. She also must drink a lot of plain water. She can as well
seek the advice of a medical officer to offer her some guidelines on the best medication that she
can use to end the problem.
DIAGNOSING GASTROINTESTINAL DISORDERS 4
Buttaro, T. M., Trybulski, J., Polgar Bailey, P., & Sandberg-Cook, J. (2013). Primary care: A
collaborative practice (4th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Jung, S. (2012). Differential Diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease: What Is the Role of
Colonoscopy?, Clin Endosc., 45(3): 254–262.
WebMD. (2014). Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Health Center.