It is common for people to approach their primary care physician for digestive problems like stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea. However, some concerns may require the expertise of a medical professional specializing in the gastrointestinal tract.
If you are experiencing these symptoms or other issues with your digestive system, your primary doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist. While it you can visit the specialist without preparing, knowing what to expect can ease your mind. Keep reading to find out what you can do to improve your visit.
Do Research On The Specialization
If you don’t know much about gastroenterology, here are the basics you need to known before your first visit. Gastroenterologists are doctors who are experts in diagnosing and treating disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) system. That includes medical problems with the mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, small and large intestines, rectum, and anus.
Some disorders a gastroenterologist can help you with include:
- Colon polyps and cancer
- Celiac disease and food intolerances
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
To treat and evaluate patients, gastroenterologists use different diagnostic tests and procedures. Most of these tests involve using a long and flexible tube with a light and camera on one end, called an endoscope. The device connects to a monitor, which the doctor uses to view the shot images. Endoscopy and colonoscopy are examples of tests in which a gastroenterologist uses and endoscope to view your upper and lower digestive tract, respectively.
Take Note Of Details Regarding Your Health
During your first visit, your doctor will ask you questions regarding your health. That includes your medical history, symptoms, diet, and procedures you may have undergone previously.
You can make a list of your symptoms and other details of your condition, such as:
- The length of time you’ve been experiencing pain or discomfort
- The areas of your body where you feel the most pain or discomfort
- Recent changes in bowel movement
- Medical diseases you’ve been diagnosed with
- The medications you are taking
- Any recent lifestyle changes
- Any family history of digestive problems
Your doctor may tell you to undergo additional testing to diagnose the disorder you’re experiencing. Aside from the previously mentioned tests, you may need:
- CT scans
- Blood exams
- Stool exams, and
- Enema or barium swallow test
After these tests, bring the relevant documents to your next visit.
Check The Gastroenterologist’s Credentials
Choose a board-certified gastroenterologist to get the best treatment. Board certification means they have the necessary knowledge and training to treat you.
Gastroenterologists must pass an examination from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). They must also fulfill fellowship training requirements to practice gastroenterology.
Before meeting your gastroenterologist for the first time, look for their board certification on their website. You can also check The Official American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Directory of Board-Certified Medical Specialists. In addition, you can ask them about their board certification yourself.
It is a good practice to check if your doctor has a history of malpractice or disciplinary records. You can visit the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) website to access this information.
After consulting with your doctor, you may be anxious about your treatment. Maybe you would just like to know more about your condition. Perhaps you are worried that a medical condition you have might affect the treatment.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your doctor will be more than happy to answer to help you better understand what is going on.
Questions you may ask can include:
- Possible causes of your condition
- Expectations for the proposed treatment
- Other treatment options
- The cost of each treatment option
- The risks and benefits of the treatment
- Dietary changes you should make
- How to prevent future cases of your condition
The Best Gastro Doctor Near You In California
If you are looking for a gastro doctor, look no further than inSite Digestive Health Care! Our health centers in California feature state-of-the-art technologies for diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal problems. We also offer various surgical and nonsurgical treatments.