Gastroenterology is that particular branch of science and medicine that works on issues and disorders related to digestive system. This specialty focuses on diseases troubling the normal functions of our gastrointestinal tract that comprises of organs from mouth to anus. Physicians who practice in order to correct these disorders are known as gastroenterologists. Confirming the diagnosis needs in-depth and precise medical history of the patient apart from several physical examinations. The doctors conduct different diagnostic and therapeutic techniques such as colonoscopy, endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, ERCP, and liver biopsy to understand the core disease and treat it accurately for beneficial results.
On the other hand, Hepatology- also called hepatobiliary incorporates the study of organs such as liver, pancreas, and biliary tree and proctology involve the study on areas of anus and rectum diseases. These two are understood to be the sub-specialties of the study of gastroenterology.
What medical conditions fall in this category:
Every study of science concentrates on different organs and parts of the body. Since gastroenterology is all about treating the digestive system, all the disorders handled in this case have got to do with the organs that contribute to digestion. Some of the most common conditions treated under gastro studies include-
- Acid reflux
- Hepatitis C and Jaundice
- Polyps in the large intestine
- Bloody stool
- Colon cancer
Most of the diseases related to the digestive system are extremely complex and show mild symptoms. The worst part is that the reasons that trigger these disorders are generally unknown. These causes may be either hereditary or developed out of different factors including stress, fatigue, smoking or diet. However, the greatest threat to the digestive system and related diseases is an extreme intake of alcohol.
When is it the high-time to see a gastroenterologist?
When you visit your regular family doctor, he or she may strictly refer you to a gastroenterologist in case you:
- Excrete bloody stool
- Have difficulties while swallowing
- Are bearing severe abdominal pain
Note that if the patient is over 50 years of age, they should anyway prefer to see a gastroenterologist on a regular basis for precautionary care as both, men and women are at a greater risk of colon cancer at that age. If you are facing any such issue or have crossed the age of 50, you must get yourself screened time-to-time. In case any of your relatives is affected with colon cancer, you should consult the doctor and confirm when the screening process should be started.