Signs of gastrointestinal disease.

There are various symptoms which can indicate gastrointestinal disorders.

Primarily abdominal pain can present as somatic pain, but is often unrelated to activity or joint movements. It can be relived or aggravated by food, and can also be constant in nature.

Abdominal examination is composed of observation, auscultation, percussion and palpation.


Abdominal distention – ascites, portal hypertension
Jaundice – liver dysfunctions, gallstones.
Pallor – anaemia.
Clubbed fingers – ulcerative collitis, crohns, chronic heart failure, auto-immune.
Dupytren’s contracture – alcoholism.
Spider naeviLiver disease (if excessive)
Distended veins – portal hypertension, cirrhosis, irritable bowel syndrome.

clubbed nails ascites jaundice spider naevi

Case presentation indicators:

Dysphagia – damaged CN IX or CN X, space occupying lesion, inflammation.
Dyspepsia – indigestion, heart burn, intolerance to fats.
Reflux – weak spincter muscle, hiatus hernia, increased acid production.
Weight loss – malnutrition, malabsorbtion, deliberate, anorexia.
Flatus – lactose/wheat/gluten intolerance, coeliac disease, gut fermentation.
Pain – unrelated to movement, food aggravates or relieves.

Gall bladder: pale, foul smelling, floating.
Crohns/ulcerative collitis: bloody diarrhoea, mucus.
anal fissure: fresh blood.
Gastrointestinal bleeding: melena (if higher up tract), can also present with anaemia.



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