What is gastroenterology?
Gastroenterology is the specialty relating to the gastrointestinal tract – including the oesophagus, stomach, small bowel and colon. It also involves related digestive organs such as the pancreas, gallbladder, biliary tree and liver. All gastroenterologists are trained to look after patients with conditions affecting these organs, however some also have a particular interest in diseases of the liver (known as hepatology).
What conditions do gastroenterologists treat?
Common conditions that gastroenterologists can manage include:
- gastro-oesophageal reflux (GORD) and dyspepsia,
- stomach ulcers,
- gastro-intestinal bleeding,
- functional gastro-intestinal disorders (such as irritable bowel syndrome),
- inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis),
- nausea and vomiting,
- abdominal pain,
- constipation and/or diarrhea,
- food allergy/intolerances (such as Coeliac disease),
- small bowel disorders,
- dysphagia, and
- colonic polyps.
How are gastroenterological issues diagnosed?
Gastroenterologists often investigate symptoms by performing endoscopy and colonoscopy. Some have further training in endoscopic ultrasound and video capsule endoscopy. Early stages of oesophageal and colorectal cancer can also be treated through these procedures.
What treatment options are available?
The treatment you’re given will depend on what condition(s) you have, and your personal medical history and circumstances.