Gastroenterologists concern themselves with diagnosing and treating conditions that affect your intestines and stomach, giving special care to digestive health.
Why visit a gastroenterology specialist when suffering from digestive health problems
Gastroenterologists focus on diagnosing and treating disorders and ailments that affect the gastrointestinal (intestines and stomach) and hepatological (liver, gallbladder, pancreas and biliary tree) organs.
A gastroenterology specialist performs a variety of therapeutic procedures and diagnostic tests to pinpoint disease and problems and then find an effective treatment for the disease or problem.
Worldwide, people experience digestive problems, some more common than others and other with life altering effects that need lifelong treatment or care. A large percentage of people visiting their general practitioner will complain about issues with their digestive system.
Everyday Digestive Health Complaints and Disorders:
- Functional illness: Symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, belching and flatulence can be treated by a general practitioner. If the symptoms persist, a referral to a gastroenterologist may be rquired.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: You will possibly be referred to a gastroenterologist to confirm a diagnosis and prescribed medication and advised on dietary changes.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are both similar to this disease, so you will need a referral to confirm the correct diagnosis and arrange treatment.
- Heartburn and GERD: Treatable, but if symptoms persist you should go to a Gastroenterologist for diagnosing the cause and finding a treatment.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: It might be necessary to have the correct tests done by a specialist to find the cause of such deficiencies. It might be caused by an inefficient digestive system, rather than just eating a diet low in nutrients.
These are only a few of the more common digestive complaints doctors hear daily. You can also include conditions such as gallbladder disease, appendicitis, obesity, acute and chronic pancreatitis, peptic ulcers, cirrhosis, celiac disease and other food intolerances.
Most Common Tests Performed by a Gastroenterologist:
Colonoscopy: A Colonoscopy will be performed to find conditions such as colorectal cancer and also to examine the large intestine for problems and disease.
A long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and light (colonoscope) is used to view to colon. It is used to check for inflammatory changes, polyps and cancer. Polyps can often be removed while this procedure is performed.
Endoscopy: An Endoscope is performed to evaluate and diagnose various problems, for instance, pain in the stomach or abdomen, ulcers, tumours, bleeding, pain or difficulty swallowing, pancreas and gallbladder problems and more.
An Endoscope is a flexible, thin tube (long enough to go through the length of the upper digestive tract), ending in a tiny light and camera. The endoscope can be safely guided through the whole upper part of the digestive system to examine the inside lining of the upper digestive system. Some treatments can also be executed with the Endoscope.
When you feel that you need a better diagnosis or treatment for a digestive system problem or illness, it will be best to request a referral to a gastroenterology specialist.