Your digestive system includes the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas and colon, which means the symptoms of gastrointestinal can be all over the map. This means some medical concerns may need more specific attention and care than your primary care doctor typically provides. Gastroenterologists have additional specialised medication training and signification experience dealing with digestive and liver disorders. Seeing a specialist in gastroenterology can leave you more assured under experienced hands during procedures and a more accurate detection of concerns like polyps and cancer.
So, when do you need to see a gastroenterologist? Here are a few signs that it is time to book an appointment.
If you are experiencing any of the following common symptoms:
- Constipation and diarrhoea
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Rectal bleeding
- Changes in bowel habits or bowel movement urges that are difficult to control
- Heartburn/Acid Reflux
- Excessive gas or belching (Flatulence)
- Stomach upset, nausea, vomiting
- Loss of appetite or weight
- Difficulty swallowing
Conditions under the care of a gastroenterologist include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Gallbladder disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease (including Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
A gastroenterologist is specially trained to treat and manage disorders and diseases of the digestive tract, starting from the esophagus to the anus. Getting your symptoms looked into and treated by a specialist is the best choice to receive the most up-to-date care for digestive conditions.
Diagnosis and Screening by a Gastroenterologist
If you are at the age 50 or above, it is recommended to see a gastroenterologist for cancer screening. You’ll also be able to determine the best schedule of screening for you depending on your potential risk factors such as family history. Even though you do not have any symptoms or suspected diseases, undergoing such tests allow cancers to be detected earlier and have a higher chance of being treated more successfully. The certainty of a cure is higher when cancers are detected at an early stage and even reduce the risk of cancer development itself.
A specialist in gastroenterology will be able to perform medical procedures like colonoscopy to investigate symptoms and detection of cancers as well as carry out a biopsy.