Skip to Main Content

Ten Common GI Complaints in Women

UHealth Comprehensive Women’s Health Alliance


Call or click for an in-person
or virtual visit.

Call us at
855-3-4-WOMEN (855-349-6636)
Office Hours: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm


Insurance Plans

View a list of insurance plans accepted at the University of Miami Health System.

Are you experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, or pain? You're not alone.

Many women in the US suffer from a variety of GI complaints. Don't ignore your symptoms; our team can help you find the cause and explore treatments.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): IBS is a chronic condition that leads to frequent altered bowel movements (either too loose or too hard) and altered frequency of stools, associated with abdominal pain. An estimated 10-15% of women in the U.S. have IBS.

Acid reflux or heartburn: Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest or throat. In women, this can also present as nausea, upset stomach, or decreased appetite. This condition is very common; more than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month.

Constipation: This can either mean an infrequency in stools (fewer than 3 times per week), hard stools, or both. Other associated symptoms can include abdominal discomfort and bloating. These conditions refer to abnormal bowel movements. Various factors, including natural physiology, diet, stress, and certain medications, can lead to constipation. A very common cause is pelvic floor dysfunction.

Diarrhea: This can either mean an increased frequency in stools (more than 3 times per day), loose or watery stools, or both. Other associated symptoms can include abdominal discomfort, cramping, and bloating. Various factors, including natural physiology, diet, stress, infection, and certain medications, can lead to diarrhea.

Bloating: Bloating is extremely common. While this is often dietary, other causes like bacterial imbalance, autoimmune conditions, and constipation can contribute.

Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus. They can cause pain, itching, and bleeding and may be worsened with pregnancy, constipation, and straining during bowel movements. It is estimated that up to 75% of Americans will experience hemorrhoids at some point.

Fecal Incontinence: With age, prior surgery, and multiple pregnancies or deliveries, fecal incontinence can become a significant issue causing distress and impairing quality of life. Dedicated testing is available to get to the root cause in each individual case so that a tailored treatment plan can be developed.

Gallstones or gallbladder disease: Gallstones are small, hard deposits that form in the gallbladder. They can cause pain and other symptoms and may require surgery to remove them. Gallbladder disease is the term used to describe any condition that affects the gallbladder, including inflammation, infection, and blockages. Women are more likely than men to develop gallbladder disease, with an estimated 20 million Americans affected.

Diverticulitis: Diverticulitis occurs when weakened areas in the wall of the colon lead to small outpouchings (diverticulosis), which then become infected. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, fever, and changes in bowel habits. It is estimated that about 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year due to diverticulitis.

Celiac disease: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system. It occurs when the body reacts negatively to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fatigue. Celiac disease diagnoses are more common in females.

Advanced Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services

UHealth’s Women’s Health GI Initiative uses a leading-edge motility lab to provide accurate diagnoses of GI conditions more quickly and efficiently. We offer a variety of diagnostics, including hydrogen breath testing for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and anorectal manometry for constipation or fecal incontinence.

Once you have an accurate diagnosis, you can receive the latest treatments, including access to cutting-edge technology and research-supported approaches, innovative options like bio-feedback therapy and dedicated pelvic floor physical therapy, as well as individualized dietary advice.

Your health matters

From routine exams to addressing specific health concerns, one of our women’s nurse coordinators can connect you
with convenient, compassionate, and expert-led care. Contact us today!