What GI issues need to be diagnosed/treated early lest they cause permanent damage or become unrecoverable. An example would colon cancer.

The question is about which possible diagnoses need to be crossed off the list before it is reasonable to take an alternative approach.

For example if colon cancer is a possible diagnosis, one would want testing asap to, hopefully, rule it out.

If CC were the only serious possible diagnosis, then after ruling it out priorities qualitatively change. It becomes reasonable switch to a less aggressive approach, such as the other extreme of simply giving the body time to heal itself.

Could waterborne infections, including Giardia and Criptosporidium, microscopic colitis and bile malabsorption result in permanent damage?

  • For problems with your account try to contact the staff (the address is probably in your e-mail). The conditions you subsequently listed (such as repeated waterborne infections) rarely cause permanent damage, but you can check my edited answer for more details.
    – Jan
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


Gastrointestinal conditions that can be acutely life-threatening because of organ rupture, bleeding or sepsis if not diagnosed/treated early:

Gastrointestinal conditions that can result in permanent damage if not treated early:

GI conditions that less likely result in permanent damage:

  • Food poisoning and other acute GI viral and bacterial infections
  • Parasitic infections, such as giardiasis and cryptosporidiasis, can become chronic, but the damage is rarely permanent
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Food intolerances (lactose intolerance, fructose malabsorption) and allergies
  • Benign tumors
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Microscopic (lymphocitic, collagenous) colitis triggered by certain drugs, celiac disease, infections, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis
  • I like your answer; however I think you could do the prioritisation a bit clearer. Thinks that kill quickly are blood loss and sepsis. This is why any perforation of bowels and the following peritonitis or rupture of blood vessels (oesophageal varicoses or spleen etc.) feel like they provide the most imminent danger.
    – Narusan
    Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 8:41
  • 1
    @Narusan, I rearranged the whole thing a bit.
    – Jan
    Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 10:21

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