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Gastroenterologists: The Doctors Who Diagnose and Treat Digestive Disorders

A gastroenterologist is a trained physician who specializes in diseases of the digestive system. The GI tract (esophagus, stomach, and intestines), as well as the biliary systems (liver, pancreas, bile ducts, and gallbladder), are all treated by gastroenterologists. 

Why See A Gastroenterologist

Sometimes you experience digestive symptoms that your general practitioner hasn’t been able to accurately identify or address. Or perhaps you are already aware that you have a severe digestive disorder and need professional treatment. Seeing a specialist who has additional training in the kind of situation you are experiencing has many advantages. Compared to other physicians, gastroenterologists conduct more gastrointestinal research, tests, and procedures. As a result, they are more likely to provide accurate diagnoses, recognize issues earlier, and handle them more effectively.

Diagnosis & Treatment By Gastroenterologists

The following are typical diseases that gastroenterologists treat:

Gastrointestinal conditions:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Diverticulitis.
  • Appendicitis.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Celiac disease.
  • Colorectal polyps.
  • Hemorrhoids.

Liver Diseases:

  •  Hepatitis.
  • Cirrhosis.
  • Fatty liver disease

Esophageal Disorders:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Swallowing difficulties.
  • Esophagitis.
  • Hiatal hernias.

Biliary, Pancreatic, & Gallbladder Illnesses:

  • Gallstones.
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Cholecystitis.

Symptoms To See A Gastroenterologist

You might visit a gastroenterologists if you experience any of the following typical digestive symptoms:

  • Discomfort in the abdomen.
  • Abdominal bloating.
  • Indigestion.
  • Discomfort from flatulence.
  • Puking and nauseousness.
  • Blood in the rectum.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Either trouble pooping or constipation.
  • Unjustified weight increase or loss.
  • Heartburn.
  • Jaundice.

What Do Gastroenterologists Do

A gastroenterologist might perform your medical examination first. They might put a finger in your rectum or feel and listen to your abdominal innards from the outside. They might request additional tests as a follow-up, like blood or stool tests or imaging examinations like GI X-rays that show your organs from the outside. However, gastroenterologists are particularly trained to carry out endoscopic procedures when they need more information than these tests can offer. These examinations use an endoscope, which is a tiny video camera at the end of a lengthy, thin, flexible tube that is inserted into your body to examine inside you. The available endoscopic treatments are:

  • Endoscopy: An examination of your upper GI tract, which runs from your throat through your stomach to your top small intestine, is known as an upper endoscopy or EGD. (duodenum).
  •  Enteroscopy: A small intestine inspection is called an enteroscopy.
  • Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy is a procedure that looks inside your large or lower stomach.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound: Seeing your biliary system through an upper or lower endoscopy that also has an ultrasound wand attached to it.
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography: ERCP, is a type of upper endoscopy that reaches into the bile ducts and then obtains fluoroscopic X-rays of the biliary system.
  • Polypectomy: is the endoscopic excision of polyps from the intestines or stomach.

Endoscopy examinations provide gastroenterologists with a more thorough look inside your body so that they can assess how things are operating and what might be the source of your symptoms. However, gastroenterologists can also use tiny instruments they pass through the endoscope to collect tissue samples and carry out quick procedures. As a result, gastroenterologists may use endoscopy as a stepping stone before performing surgery to address your condition. Through the endoscope, gastroenterologists can clear blockages, widen pathways, halt bleeding, and remove tumors. They can also analyze the outcomes of the test.

Gastroenterologists & Cancer treatment

If you have cancer in any part of the digestive system, a gastroenterologist is likely to find it first. Gastroenterologists use endoscopy and biopsy to find, remove, and diagnose cancerous lesions throughout your GI tract and biliary system. If cancer is diagnosed, additional endoscopic operations will probably be performed to aid in staging it. To determine whether the cancer has expanded, more tissue samples will be taken. Gastroenterologists occasionally use the endoscope to treat specific lesions, either by surgically removing them or by lasering them.

Gastroenterologists can identify, categorize, and treat:

  • Stomach cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer.
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
  • Liver cancer.
  • Gallbladder cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Bile duct cancer.
  • Duodenal cancer.
  • Small intestine cancer.
  • Esophageal cancer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would a gastroenterologist be needed?

A screening colonoscopy should be performed by a gastroenterologist if you are over 45 years old. In addition to this crucial examination, you may decide to visit a gastroenterologist if you experience gastrointestinal complaints like cramping, pain, discomfort, or unexpected changes in bowel habits. 

Before my gastroenterology visit, can I eat?

You are free to eat normally before your gastroenterology appointment unless otherwise directed, such as when having a diagnostic procedure like a colonoscopy.

What are the most typical gastrointestinal disorders’ indications and symptoms?

Stomach pain, severe heartburn or reflux, weight loss or gain, changes in bowel habits, and blood in the stool are the most typical indications and symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders. 


Although digestive problems are frequently experienced, it can be difficult to determine what is causing them. Someone has undoubtedly advised you to see a gastroenterologist, also known as a GI specialist, if you experience unexplained or frequent digestive issues, such as abdominal discomfort or changes in your bowel habits.

An expert can be helpful in this situation. Gastroenterologists are able to diagnose digestive system problems by knowing how each organ functions in concert with the others.

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