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What is Gastroenterology? Roles and responsibilities of a gastroenterologist

  • Posted on- Apr 13, 2014
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Gastroenterology is a branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders. Gastroenterology is a sub-specialty of internal medicine.

A Gastroenterologist specializes in diseases of the digestive system or the gastrointestinal tract. Gastroenterologists are extensively trained in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), and biliary system (e.g., liver, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts). Gastroenterologist understand how the food moves through the digestive tract and the physical and chemical break down of food, which is also known as digestion, including the absorption of nutrients and the removal of waste products.

Any problems related to the digestive functions of the liver are taken care by Gastroenterologists. You need to refer to a experienced Gastroenterologist for treatment in case you are going through any of the symptoms and conditions:

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Gastroenterologists are expert in the evaluation, diagnosis, management, and treatment of all diseases and symptoms as mentioned above. Gastroenterologists are physicians who are awarded either a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree.

The next step in becoming a gastroenterologist is a 3-year program of special study and training called ageneral internal medicine residency. Following completion of this residency, the physician (internist) may continue on to specialize in gastroenterology by entering a gastroenterology fellowship.

A gastroenterology fellowship is an intense 2- or 3-year program, during which the physician receives extensive training in diseases and conditions of the digestive tract. Organizations such as the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the American College of Gastroenterology, and the American Gastroenterological Association oversee gastroenterology fellowships to ensure a high quality of education and training.

Gastroenterology fellowships include instruction and training in the following:
  1. Caring for patients in different settings (e.g., doctor's office, hospital)
  2. Evaluating and treating patients with GI symptoms and conditions
  3. Performing diagnostic procedures (e.g., endoscopic procedures, such as colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy)
  4. Providing recommendations to help prevent disease and maintain good health.

During this fellowship, physicians learn how to perform complicated procedures, such as polyp removal (called polypectomy), stretching (dilation) of the esophagus and intestines, and various techniques to stop bleeding in the GI tract. They also learn how to administer sedation required for these procedures and how to interpret results.

A gastroenterologist also needs to have a clear understanding of ailments affecting the organs of the gastrointestinal system like:

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Starting from evaluation of patients to caring for them in the office as well as in the hospital is part of the training. Training involves learning endoscopy (upper endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy), endoscopic biliary examination (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or ERCP), endoscopic mucosal resection or EMR, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) etc.

After completion of the fellowship the gastroenterologists are qualified to take the Gastroenterology board certification test administered by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Once they have successfully completed this examination they are “Board Certified.”


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11-08-2017 07:51 AM

I had suffered from Crohn's disease which has also resulted in the deficiency of Vitamin B12. As a result, balanced diet was the only option to get this deficiency completed.

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07-07-2016 10:57 AM

I was hit by stomach pain few years back, I ignored it as it will go of its own. But it did not come to an end, when checked, there were some stomach ulcers present. I had my treatment done and now I am fine.

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