Gastroenterology represents the study of the normal operation, disorders and diseases of the digestive system including the pancreas, bile ducts, gallbladder, esophagus, rectum, colon, small intestine, stomach, and liver.  This is the process of understanding how the gastrointestinal organs operate, including your stomach and intestines, how food is digested and nutrients are absorbed into the body.  It is examining how waste is removed and how the liver operates as part of your digestive system.  It also involves studying and diagnosing any disorders or diseases related to these organs.  Often referred to as a GI doctor, our physicians specialize in digestive system diseases.

Preparing for a Gastroenterologist Appointment

Generally speaking, you will be referred to a gastroenterologist by our physicians.  This does not always mean you have been officially diagnosed, but may simply mean we need to gather further testing and analysis of your digestive system.  Understanding the importance of what a gastroenterologist provides will help you to buy in to the importance of visiting a specialist.  Our physicians will let you know precisely why you are being referred to a specialist.  Your specialist will want you to bring a complete list of medications you are taking.  This list should include any and all supplements and vitamins.  During your appointment, you might feel slightly overwhelmed, so we recommend writing down a list of any questions you may have.

Digital illustration of inflamed stomach depicted by woman holding her abdomen and red glowing light around illustration to indicate pain.

Protecting Your Digestive System

Gastroenterology may not be the most delightful branch of medicine, but it is one of the most critical. A healthy digestive tract is essential to your well-being.

What to Expect from Your Gastroenterology Appointment

If it is your first visit, the GI doctor will cover any medical history in detail with you.  This is a great time for Q&A.  While some questions may be sensitive or even embarrassing, it is critical that you provide full detail of your experiences and even ask questions.  It is essential that this information is revealed as it will allow the specialist to pinpoint areas that he or she should pay attention to.

A series of diagnostic tests will allow the GI doctor to discover problems.  This can include an endoscopy, colonoscopy, an endoscopic ultrasound or other specialized tests.  An endoscopy is a procedure that employs a camera to examine the lining of your upper GI tract.  A colonoscopy also uses a camera, but it involves analyzing the lining of your colon.  An endoscopic ultrasound involves the use of an ultrasound probe to create an image of your digestive organs.  Once your problem is diagnosed, your GI doctor will be able to provide a treatment that will either cure the problem or help you successfully control your digestive system.

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