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What Are the Signs That You Need to See a General Surgeon?

Home - Health & Fitness - What Are the Signs That You Need to See a General Surgeon?

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General surgery is a broad field that encompasses a wide range of procedures. Recognising when to see a general surgeon can be critical for addressing health issues promptly and effectively. Here are some signs and symptoms that indicate you may need to consult a general surgeon, especially if you’re considering treatment at a reputable hospital in Kenya.

Persistent Abdominal Pain

Chronic or Severe Pain:

  • Persistent or severe abdominal pain that does not resolve with over-the-counter medication or lifestyle changes may require surgical intervention. Conditions like appendicitis, gallbladder issues, or hernias can cause significant discomfort and often necessitate surgical treatment.

Localised Pain:

  • Pain localised to a specific area of the abdomen, especially if accompanied by fever, vomiting, or changes in bowel habits, can indicate conditions like diverticulitis, gallstones, or appendicitis, which may require surgery.

Unexplained Weight Loss

Rapid Weight Loss:

  • Unintentional and rapid weight loss can be a sign of various underlying conditions, including gastrointestinal disorders, cancers, or metabolic issues. A general surgeon can help diagnose and treat conditions causing this symptom.

Loss of Appetite:

  • A persistent lack of appetite, along with weight loss, could be indicative of serious health problems such as stomach cancer or bowel obstruction, which might require surgical intervention.

Digestive Issues

Persistent Heartburn or GERD:

  • Chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or persistent heartburn that does not respond to medication can damage the oesophagus and may necessitate surgical intervention to correct the problem.

Difficulty Swallowing:

  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) can be caused by oesophagal strictures, tumours, or other obstructions that a general surgeon can address.

Bowel Changes:

  • Significant changes in bowel habits, such as prolonged constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in the stool, can be symptoms of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or other severe conditions requiring surgical evaluation and treatment.

Lumps or Swellings

Visible Lumps:

  • Any new, unexplained lump or swelling on your body, particularly in the abdomen, groin, or breasts, should be evaluated by a general surgeon. These could be hernias, lipomas, cysts, or tumors needing surgical removal.

Painful Swellings:

  • Swellings that are painful to touch, increase in size, or cause other symptoms, such as fever, might indicate an abscess or an infected cyst, often requiring surgical drainage or removal.

Persistent Infections

Recurring Infections:

  • Persistent or recurring infections, particularly in the skin, soft tissues, or within the abdomen, may necessitate surgical intervention to remove the source of infection or to drain abscesses.

Non-Healing Wounds:

  • Wounds that do not heal properly, especially in patients with diabetes or vascular disease, may require surgical debridement or other interventions to promote healing.

Trauma and Injuries

Severe Injuries:

  • Severe trauma, such as fractures, deep cuts, or injuries from accidents, often require surgical repair to ensure proper healing and function.

Internal Injuries:

  • Injuries resulting from trauma that affect internal organs, such as ruptured spleen, liver lacerations, or intestinal perforations, are typically addressed by a general surgeon.

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Vomiting Blood:

  • Vomiting blood (hematemesis) or the presence of blood in the stool (melena) can indicate severe conditions such as peptic ulcers, oesophagal varices, or gastrointestinal cancers, all of which may require surgical intervention.

Anaemia and Fatigue:

  • Chronic gastrointestinal bleeding can lead to anaemia and fatigue, necessitating a surgical evaluation to identify and treat the source of bleeding.

Gallbladder Issues


  • Gallstones can cause severe pain, jaundice, and infection of the gallbladder (cholecystitis). Persistent symptoms often require the surgical removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy).

Biliary Colic:

  • Recurring episodes of biliary colic, which is severe pain caused by gallstones blocking the bile ducts, often necessitate surgical intervention.


Visible Bulge:

  • A visible bulge or lump in the abdomen or groin that becomes more prominent when standing or straining can indicate a hernia. Hernias do not resolve independently and often require surgical repair to prevent complications.

Pain and Discomfort:

  • Hernias can cause pain and discomfort, especially when lifting heavy objects or during physical activity. Surgery is often recommended to relieve symptoms and prevent further complications.

Chronic Inflammatory Conditions


  • Sudden, severe pain in the lower right abdomen, accompanied by fever, nausea, and vomiting, can indicate appendicitis, which requires immediate surgical removal of the appendix.


  • Inflammation or infection of small pouches in the colon (diverticulitis) can cause severe pain and often requires surgical intervention if complications arise.


Recognising the signs that you need to see a general surgeon is crucial for the timely and effective treatment of various medical conditions. From persistent abdominal pain and unexplained weight loss to gastrointestinal bleeding and severe injuries, these symptoms should not be ignored. Seeking expert care at a reputable hospital in Kenya ensures access to experienced general surgeons who can provide the necessary surgical interventions and improve your health outcomes. If you experience these signs, consult a healthcare professional to determine the best action.