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Gastroenterology refers to the study of the function and diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver. Gastroenterology involves a detailed study and understanding of:

  • the gastrointestinal organs
  • the material movement through the stomach and intestines
  • the digestion and absorption of nutrients
  • the removal of waste from the body
  • the liver

A gastroenterologist is a medical professional who specializes in diseases that affect the digestive organs and structures and is also referred to as a GI Specialist or a GI doctor.

When to see a Gastroenterologist?

You might see a gastroenterologist for health concerns with your:

  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Abdomen
  • Small intestine
  • Colon
  • Rectum
  • Pancreas
  • Gallbladder
  • Bile ducts
  • Liver

What does a Gastroenterologist treat?

Gastroenterologists have the tools to treat gastrointestinal diseases and problems such as:

  • Celiac disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Food allergies and intolerances
  • Diverticulitis
  • Appendicitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Colorectal polyps

Pancreatic, biliary and gallbladder diseases, such as:

  • Cholecystitis
  • Gallstones

Liver diseases, such as:

  • Viral hepatitis
  • Toxic hepatitis
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Cirrhosis

Esophageal disorders, such as:

  • Esophagitis
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Hiatal hernias

Tests and Procedures

You may need a nonsurgical procedure while visiting a gastro. Your professional might perform include:

  • Endoscopy, where an instrument is used to look inside the body.
  • Ultrasounds, to produce medical imaging using sound.
  • Colonoscopies, where an instrument is inserted through the anus to check the colon.
  • Liver biopsy, to assess inflammation and fibrosis, in the liver.
  • Enteroscopy, examination of your small intestine.
  • Polypectomy, the removal of polyps during an endoscopy.