Whether you are experiencing persistent stomach pain or are grappling with a gastrointestinal condition, seeing a gastro doctor can make all the difference.
A gastro doctor, also known as a gastroenterologist or GI doctor, is a medical doctor who specializes in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They diagnose, treat, and help prevent acute and chronic conditions of the GI tract and related organs, such asthe liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
In this article, we will give you a brief introduction to a gastro doctor and the benefits of seeing one.
A Gastro Doctor: What Is It?
A gastro doctoris a physician who receives additional training and experience in treating diseases, malformations, and chronic conditions involving the gastrointestinal tract and the organs that are associated with digestion, such as the liver, bile duct, gallbladder, and pancreas.
To become a gastro doctor, one must complete three years of medical residency after completing medical school.In medical residency,new doctorswork alongside experienced gastroenterologistsand learn about treating all kinds of diseases and conditions. After completing residency, a doctor interested in gastroenterology must complete a two or three-year fellowship to receive more specialized training in GI treatment and conditions.
Gastroenterologists who wish to advance their careers sit for a board certification exam in internal medicine as well as gastroenterology from the American Board of Internal Medicine.This certification ensures that the GIdoctor can perform certain exams and interpret results that a general physician cannot.
Benefits Of Seeing a Gastro Doctor
The following are some of the advantages of consulting a gastroenterologist.
Specialized GI Care
A primary benefit of seeing a gastro doctor is that you will receive specialized care. A gastro has many years of specialized trainingwhich allows them to address almost all diseasesor disorders related to the digestive tract. They possess in-depth knowledge and a thorough understanding of GI conditions, making them highly qualified individuals toprovidean accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan.
A gastro doctor performs a comprehensive evaluation to provide their patients with an accurate diagnosis.
When you see a gastroenterologist, they will ask for and evaluate your detailed medical history. You may needto describe any GI conditions you have previously been diagnosed with or something running in your family history. Your gastroenterologist may ask you about any painful and uncomfortable symptoms of the digestive tract problem that you are experiencing currently, such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach bloating
- Frequent burping
Often, an accurate diagnosis includes identifying other conditions that contribute to your issues. For instance, a gastro doctorwill ask you about conditions affecting your general health like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.Tell your doctor if you have undergone any surgical procedure before and if there are any medicines or supplements you are using.Your gastroenterologist may also ask about your recent bowel movement changes and recent lifestyle changes. These answers will help your GI doctor make a more accurate diagnosis.
A detailed physical examination that may include:
- Examining your stomach and the area around your stomach for signs of abnormalities, such as visible lumps or bulging surgical scars.
- Pressing down the four quadrants of your stomach to check for lumps or discomfort.
- Asking you to cough or take deep breaths or describe if pressing the quadrants causes pain.
- Listening for bowel noisesin each abdominal quadrant.
- Recording the tone, duration, and intensity of abdominal sounds.
- Inserting a finger into the rectum to examine the rectal cavity for bulges, lumps, muscle tone, and inflammatory symptoms.
Lab Tests and Imaging
Following a total physical examination, your gastro doctor may request you to undergo some diagnostic tests to rule out other possible conditions that may be contributing to your symptoms. They may order tests such as:
- Blood tests
- Stool tests
- Abdominal X-ray
- Abdominal CT scan that takes a picture of your gastrointestinal tract.
This comprehensive evaluation and assessment allow your doctor toprovide a moreaccurate diagnosis.
Gastro Doctors Are Experts in Endoscopy and Colonoscopy
- investigate symptoms like abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding,and heartburn
- diagnose diseases and conditions that may be causing bleeding, anemia, inflammation, or diarrhea
- treat digestive system problems
On the other hand, colonoscopy is used to detect colon cancer, polyps, swollen tissues, ulcers,and other issues in the lower digestive tract.
These diagnostic tests and procedures give your gastroenterologist a more detailed view of the inside of your GI cavity to see how things are working and what might be causing your GI symptoms. A gastro doctor can also take a tissue samplefrom your GI tract, a procedure called a biopsy, to identify the cause of your gastrointestinal symptoms.
Detailed Personalized Treatment Plan
Each patient has uniquetreatment goals depending on theirunique GI problem. After the initial evaluation and diagnosis, your GI doctor will createan individualizedtreatment plan to address your unique problem and related symptoms. The detailed treatment plan developed by gastrointestinal doctors is based on each patient’s unique needs, related health conditions, possible therapeutic outcomes, and personal goals.
Typically, a gastro doctor treatsan individual’s acute or chronic GI condition with a focused combination of:
- Medications, like proton pump inhibitors, metoclopramide, and H2 blockers for the treatment of symptoms, such as heartburn, gas, constipation, and others.
- Nutritional counseling, including weight-loss techniques and supplements.
- Lifestyle changes, such as eating more fiber, cutting back on caffeine, abstaining from foods that trigger symptoms, exercising, and responding to bowel movement urges.
In addition, a gastroenterologist can also perform a wide range of surgical procedures to treat your problem once and for all. It is pertinent to mention here that before performing surgery, a gastro doctor utilizes non-surgical treatment modalities like medications, nutritional counseling, and lifestyle changes among others.
AGIdoctor can perform a broad range of non-surgical or minimally invasive procedures like:
- Upper endoscopy, which involves the use of an endoscope to diagnose the conditions of the food pipe, stomach, and small intestine.
- Endoscopic ultrasound, which is used to examine the GI tract as well as other internal organs.
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, which is used to identify tumors or stones in the bile duct area.
- Sigmoidoscopy, which involves determining the cause of blood loss or pain in the lower large bowel.
- Liver biopsy, which involves taking our tissue sample from the liver and assessing the tissue sample for inflammation and fibrosis.
- Capsule endoscopy and double-balloonenteroscopy, both these procedures help examine the small intestine.
- Feeding tube insertion, a procedurethat involves inserting feeding tubes in the abdomen.
Treatment for a Broad Range of Conditions
Our GI tract consists of many small organs and structures, e.g.,the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, and anus. Innumerable diseases and conditions can impair the functioning of these organs. A gastro doctor is well-versed in treating and diagnosing all the diseases that affect these organs and structures. Common diseases of the digestive tract that a gastroenterologist can treat include:
- Stomach conditions, such as acid reflux, gastritis, stomach ulcer, stomach cancer, etc.
- Esophagus problems, such as esophagitis, achalasia, and narrowing of the esophagus.
- Rectal problems, such as hemorrhoids, proctitis, rectal prolapse, and annual fissures.
- Intestinal problems, such as infections, celiac diseases, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, malabsorption, short bowel syndrome, polyps and cancers, etc.
In addition to treating the problems affecting the structures and organs of that digestive tract, a gastro doctor can treat conditions and issues of related organs like the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. Hepatitis, pancreatitis, gallstones, cholangitis, and cholecystitis are common diseases of the associated organs that a GI doctor can treat.
Screening and Preventive Care
Preventive care is a cornerstone of your overall health, and this also holds true for gastroenterology.This means that the services of a gastro doctor are not limited to just the treatment and diagnosis of GI problems, but you can also get the necessary information and preventive care from your doctor to prevent future GI issues.
A GIdoctor can perform screenings to detect the early signs of digestive disorders such as hepatitis, stomach ulcers, colon cancers, and others. The most common screening tests that can catch the red flags of GI disorders early include colonoscopy, endoscopy, and other imaging studies like GI x-rays, ultrasounds, or CT scans.
Gastro Doctors Can Teach You How to Keep Your GI Tract Healthy
Furthermore, a gastroenterologist can also provide you with guidance on a healthy diet to promote digestive health. They can recommend you consume a balanced diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and low-fat dietary products. Additionally, they may also advise you to limit the intake of saturated fat, sugary beverages, processed foods,etc.
As a part of preventive care, your GI doctor can also advise you to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that can prevent gastrointestinal problems.You may be advised to abstain from smoking andconsuming alcohol. Getting regular exercise, managing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight are some of the effective ways your gastro doctor can recommend to you to optimize your GI health.
Preventive care is especially crucial for people who are at higher risk of catching deadly illnesses like colon cancer due to their lifestyle and family history.
Gastro Doctor Near Me in California
If you or your loved one are having a GI problem or related issue and are looking for top-notch GI care in California, visit us here at InSite Digestive Health Care. We have a team of highly trained and skilled gastro doctors who are committed to providing you with the cost-effective and high-quality care that you deserve. Our GI specialists keep patients well-informed about their digestive health and conditions,and we welcome questions from our patientsso that they understand how to manage their conditions and regain their quality of life.
At our clinic, we use state-of-the-art tools and technologies to treat chronic and complex gastrointestinal problems. For your convenience, we have over 20 affiliated private practices located all over the state of California.
If you would like to make an appointment with one of our experts, call us today at our GI clinic nearest you or use our appointment request form.Don’t hesitate to get the treatment you deserve – reach out to us today!