Have you ever heard of a gastroenterologist? Do you know what a gastroenterologist does? We’re doing a “Know Your Specialists” series this week to help patients better understand what medical specialists do. Continue reading to learn about gastroenterologists!
What is a gastroenterologist?
Gastroenterologists are physicians who specialize in medicine relating to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the liver. The GI tract is also known as the GI system or digestive system.
The GI system does three main things.
- Moves and digests food
- Absorbs nutrients from food
- Removes waste from the body
Gastroenterologists understand the normal physiology as well as diseases of the digestive tract. Gastroenterologists must complete four years of medical school, three years of internal medicine residency, and a fellowship in gastroenterology.
What does a gastroenterologist do?
Physicians who specialize in gastroenterology must understand the way that all parts of the GI system work. They’re also responsible for diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders of the digestive system and liver.
Gastroenterologists treat any disorder of the GI or digestive system. Some of these disorders include:
- Acid reflux
- Celiac disease
- Colon cancer or rectal cancer
- Colon polyps
- Food intolerance
- Gastroesophegeal reflux disease
- Heart burn
- Hepatitis C
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Nutritional deficiencies
Gastroenterologists also perform procedures such as an endoscopy or colonoscopy.