Who is a gastroenterologist?
A gastroenterologist is also known as a GI doctor, specialized in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of gastrointestinal ailments. Some of the ailments treated by a GI are Colon Polyps, Hepatitis, Gastroesophageal Reflux (heartburn), Colitis, Pancreatitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, etc. The study of all the activities and diseases of the digestive organs is known as gastroenterology. This includes the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal organs, digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body, excretion and liver function, and identifying diseases from the entire digestive system. You can also visit for fundoplication surgery.
When to visit a gastroenterologist?
If you are suffering from any of the following: stomach problems, difficulty in swallowing, Nausea, Diarrhoea, Constipation, Heartburn, Vomiting, sudden weight loss, abdominal pain, inflammation in the digestive tract, you must visit an experienced gastroenterologist. A GI Doctor helps Oncologists in the diagnosis of tumours or Metastatic Diseases, through Colonoscopy or Endoscopy.
Diarrhoea and constipation if not treated within a few days, may be a sign of some serious problems like Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease. Constipation may result in piles and haemorrhoids that will lead to rectal bleeding. If your heartburn continues for a prolonged period, then there is a chance of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Colorectal Cancer cannot be identified in the initial stages as they show a few symptoms and require regular cancer screenings. Due to unhealthy eating habits or bad diets, the inner lining of the gastrointestinal tract breaks, resulting in ulcers. These ulcers may be a result of bacterial infections or a reaction from consuming nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
10 reasons why you must visit a gastroenterologist.
Most of the people with stomach problems hesitate and think about “what do I tell my gastroenterologist”. Don’t be shy as they are the only person who can find the root cause of your gut problem and treat you with the utmost care. If you are tending to neglect your questions in the initial stage, then you are going to suffer badly in the coming years of your life. Here are some reasons why you need to visit an experienced gastroenterologist –
- They can diagnose and treat your digestive problems with best medical procedures. For liver cirrhosis, they perform liver biopsies and abdominal x-rays to find out stomach problems.
- If you are suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, then it will result in chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. You may also have severe symptoms like stomach pains, rectal bleeding, etc. The treatment requires Blood tests, X-rays, Tissue and Stool tests, CT Scan, Endoscopy etc. are to be conducted. All these need a recommendation from a Gastroenterologist. Certain conditions may require surgeries.
- Suffering from heartburn, for more than twice a week, maybe a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease that needs to be treated by a GI Doctor, either by medicines or in severe cases, surgery. Untreated GERD will result in chronic inflammation in the esophagus, and you will suffer from breathing problems.
- If you have a single Gallbladder Stone, then the tendency of having frequent stomach problems is higher. It needs an experienced gastroenterologist to suggest proper medication at the initial stages to dissolve the stones or carry out surgery in case of severe conditions.
- If you are suffering from any or most of the following: persistent heartburn, bleeding, nausea and vomiting, difficulty in swallowing, stomach pain, and weight loss, then your gastroenterologist will perform an endoscopy. The GI will find the root cause of your problem.
- Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy are conducted to diagnose early Colon or Rectum Cancer. An experienced gastroenterologist can find a reason for a change in bowel habit, and the cause for symptoms like rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and weight loss. Sigmoidoscopy examines the rectum and the lower colon.
- Polypectomy is performed to remove polyps from the lining of the bowel. The help of wire loop forceps removes these, and some of the gastroenterologists use electric current during colonoscopy to burn them.
- A gastroenterologist performs esophageal dilation to stretch the area of the esophagus with the help of a plastic dilator or inflating a balloon. This solves the problem of difficulty in swallowing caused due to acid reflux or layer of excess tissues, esophagus cancer, or muscle scars due to radiation treatment.
- If you have developed intolerance towards gluten-rich foods, then there is a chance of Celiac disease that damages the intestinal lining resulting in severe health issues. Ask your gastroenterologist to suggest a gluten-free diet.
- Suffering from abdominal pain is quite common these days. But if it continues for a prolonged period, then you must see a GI doctor to find out the root cause. The causes may be from diet, stress, medicines to some severe health conditions like ulcers, Crohn’s Disease, Small intestine bacterial overgrowth, or Ulcerative colitis.
Not only elders, but children do also need a gastroenterologist at times. They are known as pediatric gastroenterologists. Children with nutritional problems need some interventions like placement and management of feeding tubes, intravenous nutrition, diagnosis and treatment of infants and teens with liver diseases.
Request an appointment from your gastroenterologist before it is too late to treat. Look into his professional career and for better results, ask for references. Taking professional help at the initial stage will save him from severe consequences in the future.