Most of us wonder if we should see a doctor at some point. Whether it’s a bad cold, a funny mole, or a nagging pain that won’t go away, it can be difficult to know when to see your doctor. There are no rules that tell you when to go or when to wait, because sometimes illness can progress or change, and then it’s best if it’s addressed by a doctor. However, some general guidelines can help you the next time you’re trying to make a decision.
We all get headaches from time to time. They usually go away with rest. But headaches can also be a sign of a serious illness, such as a stroke or meningitis. If you have a high fever, a stiff neck, confusion, difficulty speaking or walking, or a headache, go to the emergency room.
If you have headaches that are unusual, more frequent, or more severe, or ones that get worse after taking over-the-counter medications, make an appointment to see your doctor.
Back pain can range from muscle pain to a shooting, burning, or stabbing feeling. Additionally, pain may spread down one leg, but most back pain will go away within a few weeks without treatment. Bending, twisting, lifting, standing, or walking can make the situation worse.
The situation is often improved by using over-the-counter medications. You can also apply hot or cold compresses to the painful area. But sometimes it’s a sign of trouble. If you happen to live there, you can call your Plano back pain doctor if you experience constant pain, pain that spreads to one or both legs, especially if the pain spreads beyond the knee, pain accompanied by weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or both legs, unexplained pain, weight loss, swelling, or redness in the back, or pain accompanied by fever. The real cause of pain is determined by a physical exam, x-ray, CT scan, and MRI. That way, they can decide which therapy is best for you, which will ease your pain and get you back to doing the things that you love.
Your digestive system is made up of many parts, including your digestive system, respiratory tract, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. So it’s not surprising that symptoms around these areas can appear different. Some of them can be quite mild and indicate that you ate something funny. But other marks can be seemingly endless, not to mention painful, and it’s a good sign that it’s time to see a specialist.
It can include problems in the upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus and stomach) and the lower gastrointestinal tract (intestines). If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor:
- Feeling like food is stuck in the throat.
- Heartburn that doesn’t go away, gets worse or doesn’t improve with medication.
- Difficult or painful swallowing.
- Hoarseness or sore throat that doesn’t go away.
- Nausea that doesn’t go away.
- Vomiting blood or bile (green).
- Severe or persistent abdominal pain.
- Constipation or diarrhea that does not go away.
- Black or bloody stools.
A woman’s monthly period can have a big impact on her life, especially if there are any problems. But if they are continually very heavy or painful, or if they frequently cause severe mood changes, a person’s life can be significantly disrupted. Irregular or absent menstruation can also make it difficult to get pregnant.
Cramps, heavy or irregular periods, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are common problems, but effective treatment and management techniques can help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
Call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Your menstrual cycle suddenly becomes irregular.
- You have not had a period for 3 months or more.
- You bleed between periods.
- You have periods that last longer than usual or bleed more heavily than usual.
- You have severe or disabling cramps.
Mental health problems
Mental health is an important part of our overall health and should never be overlooked. Having mental health problems is common and treatable. Your treatment depends on the type of mental illness you have, its severity, and what is best for you.
If you have a mild mental illness with well-controlled symptoms, your primary care treatment may be enough. However, a team approach is often appropriate to ensure that all of your psychiatric, medical, and social needs are met. This is especially important for serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. Call your doctor if you have any signs of a mental health problem:
- Feelings of depression or sadness that don’t go away.
- Experience extreme ups and downs. Having excessive fear, anxiety, or worry.
- Withdrawing from social interactions.
- Changes in eating or sleeping.
- Inability to cope with everyday problems.
- Delusions or hallucinations.
Diarrhea—loose, watery stools and possibly more frequent bowel movements—is a common problem. Sometimes it’s the only symptom, but it may be associated with other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or weight loss.
It usually doesn’t mean something is wrong. But there are signs to look for that could indicate a problem, including:
- Diarrhea lasts more than 3 days.
- Black and tarry stools.
- Blood in your stool.
- Severe stomach pain.
- Signs of dehydration (very dry mouth or skin, fatigue, little urination, confusion, or irritability).
An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) happen when the electrical signals that coordinate the heart’s rhythm don’t work properly. The faulty signal leads to a heartbeat that is too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregular.
An arrhythmia can make you feel like your heart is pounding or racing and can be harmless. However, some arrhythmias can cause uncomfortable or even life-threatening signs and symptoms. If you feel like your heart is beating too fast or too slow or it skips a beat, make an appointment to see your doctor. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience difficulty breathing, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or near-fainting, chest pain or discomfort.
Most people don’t see a doctor unless they are sick or have a problem. But you should start by seeing your doctor when you feel well. By seeing your doctor regularly, you can maintain your best health. They can perform preventative health screenings and monitor your health over time. This allows them to detect diseases early and help you manage them before they turn into more serious conditions.