4 Questions to Ask Your Gastroenterologist
Learn more about your digestive system and the treatment options available at Diamond Gastroenterology. Call or visit us online to book an appointment. We serve patients from Oak Park IL, and surrounding areas.
Table of Contents:
What does a gastroenterologist do?
When should I see a gastroenterologist?
What are some procedures done by a gastroenterologist?
What are the most common signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders?
A gastroenterologist is a specialized physician trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the organs of the digestive system. For example, this includes the liver, stomach, colon, gallbladder, pancreas, etc. Some common conditions that gastroenterologists treat include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, celiac disease, Crohn’s Disease, diverticulitis, gallstones and much more.
You may see a gastroenterologist when you are experiencing symptoms related to any of the following organs: esophagus (the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach), stomach, small intestine, liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas, colon (large intestine) and rectum.
Some symptoms associated with the esophagus include acid reflux, commonly referred to as heartburn, involuntary regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). If your issue is in the stomach, you may feel nauseated or experience bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. For the liver, you may notice jaundice (yellowing of the skin), darker urine, pale stool, or abdominal swelling. If you have gallstones or gallbladder inflammation, you may feel pain in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen, where it lies just under the liver.
Conditions of the pancreas have similar symptoms, though pain won’t be as concentrated on the right side, and it may radiate through to your back. Intestinal issues, especially in the colon, will result in stool changes, like color, consistency, frequency, and level of comfort as it passes. Suppose you are experiencing any of these symptoms for a questionable amount of time, and it is not known to be attributed to another condition. In that case, it is probably best you have a visit with a gastroenterologist to determine if there is an undiagnosed issue that can be treated.
Two of the most common procedures performed by gastroenterologists are a colonoscopy and an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), also known as an upper endoscopy. A colonoscopy is a procedure in which a flexible tube with a camera on the end (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum and directed through the colon.
This diagnostic exam is used to detect any visible abnormalities. Similarly, in an EGD, an endoscope is fed through the mouth and down the esophagus to the stomach for the same purposes. A colonoscopy is completed in approximately forty minutes, while an endoscopy can be performed in fifteen.
Another procedure similar in process is called an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP). In this exam, an endoscopy is used in conjunction with fluoroscopy, which allows you to see the movements and functions of the various body structures as it happens. This technique is typically used to diagnose conditions of the biliary ducts.
The most common gastrointestinal (GI) disorder symptoms include nausea, vomiting, changes in stool, and pain. You may notice an increased frequency of abdominal pain that may or may not be associated with gas. You may feel pain in your chest or throat as well, which would signal issues in the stomach and esophageal tube, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn. You may also develop a cough and could see blood in the sputum (hemoptysis).
Further, you may experience difficulty swallowing as well as you may notice differences in the consistency and frequency of your bowel movements for example, periods of diarrhea or constipation. Be on the lookout for pale bowel movements, as this indicates a reduced amount of bile in the stool and is likely caused by a blocked biliary duct.
If you are experiencing symptoms in relation to the digestive system, Diamond Gastroenterology can help. You may meet with one of our highly specialized physicians and receive quality care, diagnosis, and treatment. Our medical staff is here to help you reach better health, so please do not hesitate to call us or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Oak Park IL, River Forest IL, Cicero IL, River Grove IL, Forest Park IL, Berwyn IL, Melrose Park IL and Broadview IL.