Why would a doctor refer you to a gastroenterologist?
Gastroenterologists are specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of problems and diseases that effect the digestive system. Patients typically need a referral from their family doctor or primary care physician to see a gastroenterologist for treatment. When individuals have concerns about their digestive system, whether it be for new symptoms or ongoing, recurring symptoms, their first visit for treatment should be to their family doctor. Your doctor can help determine if the issue is something that can be easily treated with their care, or if the situation is more complex or serious that requires the treatment of a gastroenterologist. Your doctor will most likely have you complete some initial tests and try a few different treatment methods before referring you to a GI doctor in order to provide you with some immediate relief from your symptoms. If those treatments don’t work, that is also an indication that you may need the specialized care that a GI doctor can provide. Your doctor is likely to order some additional tests for you to complete prior to your appointment with a gastroenterologist in order to help them with their diagnosis.
What diseases does a gastroenterologist treat?
Gastroenterologists are able to diagnose, treat and manage any diseases or conditions that affect the digestive tract, which runs from the esophagus all the way to the anus.
Some of the conditions that a GI doctor can treat can include:
- Celiac disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Gallbladder disease
- Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux
Gastroenterologists have received additional, specialized training for any and all issues related to the digestive system and are able to treat complicated diseases that can affect this system. They are also able to perform specific tests related to the digestive system, such as colonoscopies and endoscopies in order to find the source of the symptoms their patients are experiencing and provide the proper treatment plan. GI doctors are able to treat patients of all ages, including both kids and adults.
What are the most common signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders?
Gastrointestinal disorders affect the digestive system and can cause symptoms at any point along the digestive tract. While the occasional bout of digestive issue may not be cause for concern, with most people experiencing diarrhea, constipation, heartburn or stomach pain at some point in their life as a result of something that they ate, these symptoms can be an indication of a larger issue when they are recurring or happening frequently. Checking in with your doctor about your symptoms can help determine if the issue is easily treatable with a change to diet or medications, or if it’s more serious and requires the assessment of a gastroenterologist. Symptoms that can indicate a gut-related disease include trouble swallowing, heartburn, stomach pain, frequently feelings of nausea or throwing up, yellowing of the skin, ongoing constipation, frequent diarrhea and blood found in the stool.
When should I see a GI doctor?
Your family doctor or primary care physician can help you determine if you need to see a GI doctor based on your symptoms, medical history, and family history. They will perform a physical exam and often work with you on some initial treatments to see if they help to relieve symptoms before referring you to a gastroenterologist. Signs of a serious condition or disease that may require treatment from a GI doctor include frequent diarrhea, ongoing constipation, blood in the stool, frequent nausea and vomiting, stomach pain that won’t go away, trouble swallowing, heartburn and yellowing of the skin. Your family doctor will help determine if you need to seek out medical care from a GI doctor or if they are able to treat your condition, depending on the symptoms and severity. If you have any questions or need to see a GI doctor, then contact our team of healthcare professionals today at Vanguard Gastroenterology. We care about your health and well-being. We serve patients from New York NY, Midtown NY, Queens NY, Brooklyn NY, The Bronx NY, East Elmhurst NY, Ridgewood NY, Valley Stream NY, and Staten Island NY. We hope to hear from you soon!