Clinical gastroenterology is both and complex. The simplicity comes from the finite number of diagnoses that are commonly encountered, and the relatively limited number of symptoms that typically indicate disease of the gastrointestinal system. However, there are hidden depths to the practice of the specialty. Gastroenterologist deal with disease affecting many separate organs that all from part of the same system the liver, pancreas, stomach, etc. the clinical consequences of some diseases can be dramatic and complex, particularly, for instance, dysfunction of the liver.
Symptoms such as abdominal pain, altered bowel function and changes in weight can be combined in myriad ways to pose true clinical puzzles.
A Gastroenterologist is a specialist who is first broadly trained in Internal Medicine and subsequently in diagnosing and treating disease of the digestive system.
Frequently, a Gastroenterologist is called in cases of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or change in bowel habits when the diagnosis is unclear or where specialized diagnostic procedures are necessary.
Disorder of the gastrointestinal system may present with a wide range of symptoms. When enquiring about gastrointestinal illness it is worth asking specifically about certain symptoms, even if only to have a confirmed negative.
|Dry mouth (xerostomia) or painful mouth.||Excess salivation (waterbrash).|
|Altered taste sensation (dysgeusia) or smell.||Bad breath (halitosis).|
|Lump in throat (globus).||Difficulty with swallowing (dysphagia).|
|Pain on swallowing (odynophagia).||Nausea and vomiting.|
|Heartburn and reflux: epigastric or retrosternal burning or acid indigestion.||Abdominal pain or discomfort.|
A gastroenterologist also needs to have a clear understanding of ailments affecting the organs of the gastrointestinal system like:
|peptic ulcer disease||gastric cancers|
|Barret’s esophagus||colon polyps|
|colon and bowel cancers||pancreatitis|
|biliary tract disease||gallbladder stones and cancer|
|colitis||nutritional problems and malabsorption|
|Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)||a host of other disease conditions|