Are you experiencing symptoms such as stomachache, irregular bowel movements, frequent heartburn, bloating, trouble swallowing? It’s time you saw a gastroenterologist!
However, if your symptoms are not quite severe, it’s better to first visit your personal physician for initial testing. They will determine whether or not you should be referred to a specialist.
Who Is a Gastroenterologist?
Many people restrict the human gastrointestinal system to the stomach and intestines. In fact, gastroenterology studies the usual function and illnesses of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver.
Conditions Managed by Gastroenterologists
Here are the most common conditions, ailments, and disorders detected and treated by these experts:
• Cancer (Gastrointestinal, Liver, Pancreatic, Colorectal)
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
• Celiac Disease
• Inflammatory Bowel Disease
• Gallbladder Disease
• GERD (Heartburn, Acid Reflux)
There are some commonly occurring signs and symptoms that may prompt a visit to your specialist, who can then diagnose and treat any one of the numerous ailments related to your symptoms. Here are some major signs you should consider scheduling a visit to a stomach specialist:
Irregular Bowel Movements
• Constipation: If your bowel movements are fewer than three per week, you may be suffering from intense constipation. And this may be due to several reasons including neurological issues, muscular or hormonal fault, diet or other factors. A gastroenterologist may help you find out the reason behind this anomaly.
• Diarrhea: If watery stool persists for more than a few days, it could be owing to various causes including virus, parasite/bacteria, a reaction to certain medications, or it could also be a sign of other digestive disorders.
Causes of blood in the stool can differ in severity, but usually means there is bleeding somewhere in your digestive tract. This may be due to an anal fissure, hemorrhoids, or it could be indicative of something more serious such as cancer.
It’s OK to have occasional heartburn, but frequent heartburn may be a sign of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and, in more serious situations, even esophageal cancer. If acid reflux happens frequently, you may be diagnosed with GERD and start receiving medication to ease your discomfort, and have testing to confirm the diagnosis.
Age Group (50+) That Warrants Regular Screening for Colorectal Cancer
A screening test, which is a preventive measure, ought to be administered before symptoms appear. Colon cancer often starts as precancerous polyps that can be diagnosed and eliminated during a colonoscopy. Experts recommend adults aged 50 to 75 be screened for colon cancer. Patients of specific origin need screening earlier. For instance, African Americans should begin the screening process at age 45.
Stomachache and Bloating
Infrequent, minor abdominal pain and bloating may not warrant a visit to a specialist, but if the pain or bloating takes place long after you take your meal, or is accompanied by nausea, or painful bowel movements, you must see a doctor who will then decide if you should be referred to a gastroenterologist.
Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia)
Certain diseases could cause you to experience difficulty swallowing, or incapacity to swallow. If you experience regular esophageal pain or difficulty swallowing, or if difficulty swallowing increases over time, a specialist may see you to find out the cause of your distress and begin administering treatment.
Medications effective in gastroenterological infections
Left untreated, gastroenterology could be a serious issue. Therefore, it’s important to see a specialist on time and start taking appropriate medications. Some of the medicines that are highly effective in controlling the disease include No-Spa tablets, Novidat, Azomax, and Danzen DS.