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What Is Gastroenterology?

Gastroenterology is a general medicine subspecialty. It focuses on the digestive system, its associated organs, and their disorders. The main function of the gastrointestinal system is to digest and transfer food, assimilate nutrients, eliminate toxins from the body. It is mainly concerned with the illnesses affecting the organs starting from the mouth to the anus i.e. the gastrointestinal tract.

What Are The Most Common Gastroenterological Diseases?

Gastroenterology experts can treat various diseases like acid reflux, ulcers,, hepatitis C, polyps/growths (which usually occur in the large intestine), jaundice, hemorrhoids, bloody stools, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), colon cancer, constipation, defecation problems, acute or chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, rectal problems in women, inflammatory bowel diseases like chron’s disease or ulcerative colitis etc. The symptoms for these diseases are wide ranging, and can be an , nausea, vomiting, loose motions, constipation, rectal bleeding, pale-colored stools, loss of appetite or weight, and lethargy.

Who Are Gastroenterologists?

Practitioners trained under this specialty are known as gastroenterologists. These doctors are educated and trained for a total of 10 years, including undergraduate medical education, a MD in internal medicine and DM or fellowship in gastroenterology. Gastroenterology doctors are skilled to perform diagnostic and remedial tests like colonoscopy, endoscopy, ERCP, gastroscopy , endoscopic ultrasound, and liver biopsy. Some gastroenterologists also perform advanced endoscopy, hepatology and treatments for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

When To Consult A Gastroenterologist?

The best gastroenterologist should be immediately consulted if there is an unexplained abdominal complaints. Also, if the patient is undergoing severe abdominal pain, then a gastroenterology specialist must be contacted. people over 50, usually consult gastroenterologists for precautionary reasons, as there are high possibilities of colon cancer.

What Are The Common Treatment Methods?

Gastroenterologists diagnose illnesses in both men and women. In order to perform various tests, they use specialized tools to get a closer view of the GI tract for analysis. They are not trained to perform surgeries but work with GI surgeons. They perform endoscopic ultrasounds, to test both the GI tract and other internal organs. Colonoscopies are also done to diagnose colon cancer or colon polyps if any. ERCP i.e. endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is performed for the identification of gallstones, cysts or scarred membrane in the bile duct sphere. Sigmoidoscopies help to assess any blood loss or discomfort in the bowel and liver biopsies to find any inflammation and fibrosis in the GI gland. Capsule endoscopies and double balloon enteroscopy are for examining the small intestine.

Why online consultation might help?

Online consultation not only ensures confidentiality but also saves time. Additionally, people may not have enough time or may hesitate to visit a sexologist, and thus online consultation comes to aid.

What do our Gastroenterologists treat?

Our Gastroenterologists are extensively trained to identify and treat disorders and ailments of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract . This includes the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), and biliary system (liver, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts). A gastroenterologist will be able to guide more on the symptoms and conditions of the GI organs mentioned below.

Liver Problems -

The liver plays a crucial role in breaking down fat, and also helps in keeping our body clean by breaking down toxins in the body. Jaundice (Yellowish eyes, skin and nails), abdominal pain, dark urine are some of the common symptoms and conditions which indicate trouble for the liver.

Nausea -

Nausea is an uneasy feeling of sickness leading to an urge to vomit. Nauseous sensation may arise due to a number of factors such as motion sickness, gastroesophageal reflux, bacterial/viral infections. It can also be a sign of food poisoning, or stomach upset. Consulting a gastroenterologist is the first step to diagnose and know more about any underlying symptoms.

Constipation -

Constipation is a condition in which the bowel movements are infrequent. It is also characterized by difficulty in passing stool through the body. This generally occurs when the stool becomes too hard, resulting in a slower than usual bowel movement. Other causes include irritable bowel syndrome, lack of physical activity and low fiber diet. Treatments generally include eating a fiber-rich diet, and drinking lots of fluids. If constipation is longer and persistent it is better to consult a gastroenterologist to know more about the underlying problems.

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Gastritis -

Gastritis refers to the inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach. Gastritis occurs due to irritation caused by excessive alcohol consumption, chronic vomiting, stress, or the use of certain medications such as aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs and Infections caused by bacteria and viruses.Symptoms include abdominal pain, hiccups, and burning. Treatments include oral antacids, but it is better to consult a doctor to know more about the condition before starting any form of medication.

Abdominal Pain -

It is the pain experienced by the sufferer between the pelvic and chest area. The gastrointestinal reasons for abdominal pain can be lactose intolerance, constipation, stomach flu, vomiting etc. It can also happen when bacteria and viruses enter the intestines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Endoscopy has multiple tests and procedures under it. Commonly, you shouldn’t eat or eat very light/liquid meals before a Colonoscopy. It is advised to not eat before an Upper GI Endoscopy. It is always advisable to follow the doctor’s instructions on this.
Anyone who has digestive/bowel issues such as acidity, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, weight loss, stomach pain etc.

Yes, they're the same.
Gastroenterologists with degrees like DM or DNB are medical gastroenterologists. Gastroentero-surgeons have a degree of MCH or DNB in gastro-surgery.

Diagnosis is done by taking a detailed medical history, conducting the right investigations such as Blood tests/ultrasounds/imaging techniques/endoscopy - as needed, to corroborate the history and symptoms.
Digestive organs like stomach, liver, gall bladder, rectum-anal canal and the intestines.

The most common intestinal disorders are- Gastroenteritis, Dispepsia (Acid reflux), GERD, Acid-Peptic, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance.