It can be hard to know sometimes whether you need to go to the doctor's office. For symptoms that are more serious, you should consider going to urgent care. However, some symptoms don't need attention right away but still warrant seeing your doctor.

Here are four instances you should see your doctor.

1. Your Cold Gets Worse

If you have a viral infection in your upper respiratory tract, you most likely have a common cold. Symptoms of a cold include the following:

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Watery eyes
  • Post-nasal drip

Even though colds aren't serious, they can make you feel miserable. When you have a cold, the best thing you can do is drink plenty of fluids and rest as much as you can. The viral infection will eventually go away. However, if your cold persists or the symptoms get worse, you should pay a visit to the doctor's office. In some cases, a cold might turn into a sinus infection, for which antibiotics may be necessary.

2. You Are Losing Weight

In most cases, it's a good thing to shed unwanted pounds. There are instances, however, where people lose weight without even trying. If this is the case or if the weight loss occurs suddenly, it might be a sign of a serious health issue.

It's especially concerning if your unintentional weight loss has caused you to become underweight. Some potential reasons for losing weight without trying include diabetes, liver disease, celiac disease, cancer, hyperthyroidism, or depression. All of these health issues should be addressed by your physician as soon as possible.

3. Your Bowel Movements Have Changed

If you're like most people, your bowel movements occur on a regular schedule, plus they are probably close to the same color and consistency every day. This is especially true if your diet doesn't change much. However, if your bowel movements have suddenly changed, it may be time to go to the doctor's office.

Some concerning changes in bowel movements include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Chronic constipation
  • Changes in color, such as white, clay, or tar-colored stool
  • Stool with blood or mucous

These kinds of changes in bowel movements could indicate Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or a thyroid condition.

4. You Experience Shortness of Breath

There are many reasons you might experience shortness of breath. Maybe you are simply out of shape, or you have overexerted yourself. High altitudes and extreme temperatures could also cause you to become short of breath. However, if you are doing normal activities and you feel out of breath, this might mean you have a lung or heart issue. If you experience shortness of breath that is out of the ordinary, it's time to go to the doctor's office.