Posts for tag: Gastroenterologist
Your digestive system is important. It handles the food you eat, breaking down the food into energy for your body to use. Your digestive system also gets rid of the byproducts your body doesn’t use, keeping your body running cleanly and efficiently.
Did you know that a gastroenterologist is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions and diseases in your digestive system? A gastroenterologist can diagnose and treat everything from acid reflux to cancer in your digestive system.
A major benefit of having a gastroenterologist as part of your healthcare team is the vast amount of specialized knowledge your gastroenterologist has. Your gastroenterologist can diagnose and treat conditions of the stomach, upper and lower intestines, and colon. The conditions and diseases include:
- Acid reflux or GERD
- Esophageal irritation
- Stomach ulcers
- Intestinal polyps
- Crohn’s disease
- Stomach, intestinal, and colon cancer
Another major benefit of having a gastroenterologist is the type of testing available. Your gastroenterologist may recommend:
A Colonoscopy; used to examine your colon and rectal lining to check for polyps or signs of colon cancer
A Sigmoidoscopy; used to examine your lower colon and rectal lining to check for polyps in your sigmoid colon or signs of colon cancer
CT Colonography; used to take bowel scans to check for bowel obstructions and other issues
Stool Tests; used to check for blood in your stool or abnormal DNA from intestinal bleeding or signs of intestinal cancer
You should visit your gastroenterologist yearly for a colon cancer screening. You should also schedule a visit with your gastroenterologist if you experience:
- Excessive, sudden weight loss
- Abdominal cramping and pain that doesn’t go away
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- A change in the consistency or color of your stool
- Chronic nausea and vomiting that doesn’t go away
Having a gastroenterologist is one of the most important decisions you can make regarding your healthcare. Your gastrointestinal system is complex, and you need a specialist who understands this. You need a gastroenterologist, so call today.
Should you schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist?
A gastroenterologist is a medical specialist who diagnoses and treats conditions and disorders that impact the gastrointestinal tract including the liver, gallbladder and intestines. If you are dealing with digestive problems, a GI doctor is probably going to be the best doctor to turn to. Here’s when you could benefit from seeing a gastroenterologist,
You’re Experiencing Persistent Heartburn
Dealing with heartburn two or more times a week? If so, your heartburn could actually be a sign of something more serious known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Untreated GERD can increase your risk for esophageal cancer so it’s important that you turn to a qualified GI doctor for the proper way to treat heartburn symptoms. If you are dealing with recurring heartburn, using over-the-counter medications regularly is not the answer. A gastroenterologist can help.
You’re Noticing Abnormal Bowel Issues
Whether you’re dealing with diarrhea, constipation or a mix of both, we all know that these issues can be uncomfortable and embarrassing; however, it’s important to recognize when these are issues that warrant seeing a gastroenterologist. If you’re experiencing constipation or diarrhea that lasts for more than a couple of days, or if you’re experiencing dehydration due to diarrhea, you should turn to a GI doctor.
You Experience Rectal Bleeding
Rectal bleeding may be caused by more minor issues such as a fissure or hemorrhoids but it may also be a sign of internal bleeding. The color of the blood can give you a clue as to where the bleed is coming from. For example, dark blood often comes from the upper GI tract and may be caused by inflammation, gastroenteritis or ulcers. If blood is bright red this typically comes from the lower digestive tract and may be caused by polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, hemorrhoids or rectal prolapse. If you notice frequent or heavy rectal bleeding, you should see a gastroenterologist right away.
You Turned 50 Years Old
Everyone, regardless of risk factors, should turn to a gastroenterologist for routine colonoscopies. A colonoscopy is the best way to detect early signs of colorectal cancer (a gastroenterologist can even remove polyps during this standard procedure). If you are at an increased risk for colorectal cancer, you should talk to your GI doctor about getting colonoscopies starting at 45 years old.
No one wants to deal with digestive difficulties. If you are dealing with any of the situations above, a gastroenterologist can help you make sense of what’s going on and provide you with the treatment you need to feel better.
A gastroenterologist is a doctor that specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating a variety of disorders, conditions and problems that affect the esophagus, gallbladder, intestines, liver, stomach, colon, and rectum. In essence, a gastroenterologist will be able to provide treatment and care for any problems affecting your gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes you may choose to seek out a gastroenterologist yourself or your family physician may refer you to one.
A gastroenterologist can treat a variety of conditions and diseases that affect your intestinal or digestive tract. Some of these conditions include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Celiac disease
- Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Stomach ulcers
- Liver diseases
- Colon polyps
Here are some instances in which you may benefit from seeing a gastroenterologist for care.
While this is a common problem that is often the result of a minor issue such as hemorrhoids or an anal fissure, it could also be a sign of a more serious issue. If rectal bleeding is severe, if it lasts for more than 2 or 3 days or if it’s accompanied by abdominal pain or fever it’s time to get it checked out.
While the occasional bout of heartburn can happen to any of us, especially after enjoying a spicy meal, if you find yourself dealing with frequent heartburn several times a week then this could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Since this condition can damage the lining of the esophagus, it’s important to see a GI doctor who can provide you with the proper medication and dietary changes to reduce heartburn symptoms.
Changes in bowel habits
If you are noticing chronic constipation that lasts for about one week or you experience diarrhea for more than a few days it’s important to see a gastroenterologist to determine the cause. Everything from a bacterial infection to food intolerances to digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease could be the cause.
You just turned 50 years old
By the time you reach 50 years old you should also schedule your first routine colorectal cancer screening, also known as a colonoscopy. This is the most effective tool our intestinal doctors have for being able to detect colorectal cancer early. Those patients at an increased risk for colorectal cancer may want to start coming in for routine screenings by the age of 45.
While abdominal pain has many causes if you notice that you experience pain frequently, especially after meals, or if bowel issues or nausea accompany your pain then this may also warrant seeing a gastroenterologist for testing.
From colorectal cancer to bowel problems, a gastroenterologist can provide you with the treatment and care you need for a healthy digestive tract. If you are experiencing any of the issues above a GI doctor can help you.