What Is Gastroenterology?

A gastroenterologist is a medical professional who specializes in conditions that affect the organs and structures of the digestive system.

Gastroenterology is a subspecialty of internal medicine.

It relates to the study of the function and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and the digestive system.

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According to the American College of Gastroenterology, gastroenterology involves a detailed understanding of:

  1. the gastrointestinal organs
  2. the movement of material through the stomach and intestines
  3. the digestion and absorption of nutrients
  4. the removal of waste from the body
  5. the liver

What is a gastroenterologist?

A gastroenterologist is a medical professional who specializes in diseases and conditions that affect the digestive organs and structures.

These parts of the body include the:

  1. esophagus, or food pipe
  2. stomach
  3. small intestine
  4. colon
  5. rectum
  6. pancreas
  7. gallbladder
  8. bile ducts
  9. liver

Why would a person get a referral to a gastroenterologist?

In some cases, doctors need to refer people to medical professionals with specialist knowledge.

A doctor may refer an individual to a gastroenterologist if they suspect that a problem with the digestive system is causing the person’s symptoms.

The symptoms of such issues can vary, but they may include:

  1. difficulty swallowing
  2. stomach pain
  3. nausea and vomiting
  4. heartburn
  5. diarrhea
  6. constipation
  7. jaundice

The gastroenterologist will use their specialist knowledge to assess the person and recommend treatment and management if necessary.

What conditions do gastroenterologists treat?

Gastroenterologists play a role in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of people with conditions such as:

  1. colon polyps
  2. colon cancer
  3. celiac disease
  4. hepatitis
  5. heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  6. gallbladder disease
  7. irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  8. pancreatitis