|What is a Gastroenterologist?|
A gastroenterologist is a specialist in the digestive system.
The digestive system includes the 25-foot-long tube that processes food and nutrients, plus the liver, pancreas and gallbladder. These organs break down and absorb the food we eat so that the nutrients can be transported into the blood stream and delivered to cells throughout the body.
A Gastroenterologist must first complete a three-year Internal Medicine residency and is then eligible for additional specialized training (fellowship) in Gastroenterology. This fellowship is generally 2-5 years long so by the time Gastroenterologists have completed their training, they have had 5-6 years of additional specialized education following Medical School.
The most critical emphasis during the training period is attention to detail and incorporation of their comprehensive knowledge of the entire gastrointestinal tract to provide the highest quality endoscopy and consultative services.
What makes a Gastroenterologist different?
The unique training that Gastroenterologists complete provides them with the ability to provide high quality, comprehensive care for patients with a wide variety of gastrointestinal ailments. Gastroenterologists perform the bulk of research involving endoscopic procedures as well as interpretation of results and are considered experts in the field. Studies have shown that Gastroenterologists perform higher quality colonoscopy examinations. This translates to a more accurate detection of polyps and cancer by colonoscopy when performed by Gastroenterologists, fewer complications from procedures and fewer days in hospitals for many gastrointestinal conditions managed by trained Gastroenterology specialists which distinguishes from Gastroenterologists from other physicians that provide some similar services.
Gastroenterologists are frequently asked to evaluate the following problems:
Abdominal Pain, Anemia from overt or silent Gastrointestinal bleeding, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty with swallowing, heart burn, gall bladder disease, indigestion, liver problems, pancreas problems, rectal bleeding.
Some diseases that are diagnosed and treated by gastroenterologist include, acid reflux, cirrhosis, colon polyps, crohn’s disease, diverticulosis, gallstones, hepatitis,, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatic disease, peptic ulcer disease, ulcerative colitis.
Gastroenterologists may perform the following procedures to help make a diagnosis or treat specific disorders:
Ambulatory Esophageal pH monitoring, Colonoscopy, Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangropancreatography (ERCP), Endoscopic Ultrasonography, Esophageal Mannometry, Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), Flexible Sigmoidoscopy, Upper GI Endoscopy, Video Capsule Endoscopy