If you see blood in your stool, experience severe abdominal pain frequently or have difficulty swallowing, you need to see your doctor. You might have an underlying issue that requires the services of a specialist known as a gastroenterologist. In most cases, you might not know that you need to see one and that is why most of their patients are from referrals. If you have been referred to a gastroenterologist and do not have a clue what to expect, this article will shed some light.
What Is a Gastroenterologist?
A gastroentologist is a specialist who treats conditions of the digestive system. The digestive system starts from the mouth (tongue, saliva, salivary glands, epiglottis), goes to the throat, gullet, stomach, intestines (both small and large), rectum and ends at the anus. Some organs are also considered to be part of the digestive system since they play various roles during digestion. These organs include the liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
What Can You Expect During Your First Visit?
You will be asked to describe what you are feeling or your symptoms. You might also be asked how long you have had the symptoms. Other questions you might be asked are if you are on any medication, have changed your diet or have travelled anywhere recently. Your family health history may also be required.
Based on your answers, the gastroenterologist will know what tests to conduct. Most times it is usually nothing serious. The gastroenterologist can carry out an endoscopic ultrasound, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, capsule endoscopy, liver biopsy, double-balloon enteroscopy, CT scans, X-rays, proctectomy or colectomy.
Colonoscopies check for colon polyps or cancer while sigmoidoscopies evaluate pain in the bowel and blood loss. Capsule endoscopy and double-balloon enteroscopy mainly check the small intestines.
The results from the tests carried out determine what is to be done next. You and the gastroenterologist will discuss the results and form a treatment plan.
How Much Does It Cost to See a Gastroenterologist?
Seeing a health specialist, especially one who specialises in a particular area, can be expensive. If you have tests done, the cost may be quite high. Therefore, it is important to make a call before visiting to know if they accept payment through your insurance.
Who Needs to See a Gastroenterologist?
If you have colon cancer, jaundice, haemorrhoids, pancreatitis, acid reflux, hepatitis C, irritable bowel syndrome, blood in your stool, ulcers, dysphagia, odynophagia, short gut syndrome, coeliac disease, upper GI bleeding, anaemia, abdominal mass or significant weight loss or if you are more than fifty years old, you might need to see a gastroenterologist for treatment or tests.
For more information, contact a clinic like Diagnostic Endoscopy Centre.