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The 5 strangest reasons people go to a gastroenterologist

If you're lucky, the only times you'll have to see a gastroenterologist are when you have routine colonoscopies after age 50, but these specialists also see patients with a range of digestive illnesses.

When asked to name the "strangest" reasons patients come to his office, Dr. Stephen Holland, a Chicago-based gastroenterologist with Naperville Gastroenterology, said that after 30 years in as a physician nothing seems strange to him. However, he added, what may seem strange to laymen is that many symptoms related to gastroenterology ailments do not seem to be connected to digestion.

For example, Dr. Holland said he often treats patients for Vitamin D deficiencies. This vitamin is needed for the absorption of calcium, so this could lead to a calcium deficiency as well if it is severe and left untreated. The cause of this disorder may be unrelated to the patient's actual eating habits and may be because the body is not properly absorbing these nutrients.

When the body is not absorbing properly, malnutrition can result regardless of how much the person eats and drinks. Celiac disease is a malabsorption syndrome. Most of the symptoms of this condition are related to the digestive system, but there are some rare symptoms that can throw off a quick diagnosis. One of these symptoms is osteomalacia. This means the bones have become soft, which can result in skeletal deformities, weakness, progressive limping and short stature. Most would not think to look at the digestive system for skeletal complaints.

More: How itching and joint pain are related to gastroenterology


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