A gastroenterologist is a doctor who is engaged in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the digestive organs. Moreover, for the convenience of patients, there are certain categories of narrow specialists who focus only on adults or exclusively on children. Such a careful separation makes it possible to provide treatment at a qualitatively new level, taking into account the peculiarities of organisms in different age categories. Specialists involved in liver diseases - hepatologists.
Usually, the referral to this doctor is issued by the district therapist, to whom the complainant comes for an ordinary visit. The patient says that he suffers from pain in the abdomen, and he also suffers from digestive disorders, impaired stool or other characteristic symptoms. Based on this, the therapist recommends that you immediately sign up to a profile expert.
Sometimes, in order to reduce time costs, the district police officer himself appoints a standard test package so that, with their results, the person immediately goes to see the right doctor.
Spectrum of activity
Definitely answer the question: what does a gastroenterologist treat, is almost impossible. His competence is a whole list of organs of the gastrointestinal tract, but quite often he has to additionally cooperate with other narrow specialists.
A good doctor based on the results of a clinical examination may additionally suspect related diseases such as diabetes or even a tumor process. Because of this, he can work with oncologists-surgeons, nephrologists, and even naturotherapists, if the patient’s condition allows him to manage with alternative methods of treatment.
Despite the fact that an experienced doctor can make a diagnosis already during the initial examination, this is not a reason to refuse additional diagnostics for confirmation. For the same reason, you should not think that online counseling, which is currently fashionable among medical professionals at private clinics, will be able to provide detailed assistance. Tips via the Internet or telephone are only assumptions that should encourage the patient to go for a direct inspection, and not a guide to action.
Of particular danger are thematic sites, blogs and even a forum where people share a list of symptoms and possible healing options with others. In no case it is impossible to engage in a similar format of self-treatment, because each organism is individual. Only a doctor based on tests can prescribe the correct therapy.
The following diseases are within the competence of a gastroenterologist:
- diseases of the stomach, esophagus, duodenum;
- diseases of the liver and gallbladder;
- pancreatic diseases;
- intestinal ailments;
- problems with the spleen.
Pathology of the mucous membrane of the upper gastrointestinal tract is catarrhal and erosive-ulcerative lesions, often due to the presence of Helicobacter. The latter indicates obstruction of the bile ducts. The doctor deals with issues of inflammation of the gallbladder, the most striking example of which is cholecystitis in its various forms, and damage to the liver and biliary tract.
No less dangerous disease is inflammation of the pancreas, the development of manifestations of pancreatitis. The disease can progress rapidly and is caused by a violation of the development of pancreatic necrosis enzymes necessary for stable digestion. If you delay with the treatment of pancreatitis, the acute phase will gradually become chronic, and over time the disease completely paralyzes the entire organ. This is confirmed by the reviews of those patients who did not listen to the experts' assurances, deciding to move everything “on their feet”.
Considering the main diseases in terms of imbalance in the functioning of the intestine, it is worthwhile to dwell on spastic, bacterial, ulcerative, autoimmune colitis. It is also not less often for those who wish to consult a gastroenterologist, and later they are diagnosed:
- parasite infection;
If you delay with a trip to a gastroenterologist, then in a matter of months, at first a slight discomfort can then turn into a malignant tumor. Because of this, doctors insist that when they detect the first unpleasant symptoms, people immediately find out where the nearest specialist is receiving.
Otherwise, a common illness that could be dealt with in a month can disrupt the patient’s life status for a long time.
How does a gastroenterologist work?
Regardless of which specialist conducts the reception: paid or free, the algorithm of his actions must be kept identical. A primary examination involves palpation and measurements of common indicators, such as pulse and pressure, to create a general clinical picture.
Also, the doctor will review the case history, if it is taking place, and listen to all the patient's complaints. Based on the information received, the patient is issued a number of areas for analysis. And after their results are obtained and the need for additional diagnostics arises, the patient can be sent for instrumental examinations.
If it is necessary to use auxiliary diagnostic methods, many patients have to be examined on a commercial basis. But in this case, you should not feel sorry for the money, because there is a high probability that outdated methods of detecting the source of inflammation will simply fail.
The following modern methods are used as assistants to establish the truth:
- Abdominal ultrasound;
- MRI of the abdominal cavity with and without contrast;
- fibroscopic liver;
- virtual colonoscopy;
- retrograde cholangiography.
Sometimes the hospital insists on additional DNA testing. These new generation tests are necessary for suspected genetic abnormalities or rare diseases.
Treatment will be prescribed strictly on the basis of the data obtained, so it often does not match even in those patients who have identical diagnoses, but their overall health status varies. The basis of therapy can be taken the following areas, both together and separately:
- the use of pharmaceuticals;
- phytotherapy or similar options for help from a naturotherapist;
- dietology and scheduling nutrition, lifestyle;
- non-pharmacological treatment methods, such as physiotherapy, acupuncture, laser therapy, pressure chamber, physical therapy.
Sometimes surgery is necessary. This means that the patient will need to consult a surgeon.
When is the time for reception?
Age is not an indication that problems regarding human digestion will not be affected. This means that both newborns and people in advanced age suffer from this disease. Only the spectrum of characteristic diseases of a certain age group will fluctuate slightly.
So, infants usually face dysbiosis, and pensioners are forced to suffer from chronic constipation. Not avoided deviations in the digestive tract of adolescents and young people. They usually come with gastritis and ulcers, which is a direct consequence of improper eating habits. Snacking on the go, "dry bread", the lack of hot full food and its replacement with junk food like chips and crackers for a couple of months will be a direct pass to the gastroenterologist's office.
Another factor that allows for a long time not to go to the doctor is a high pain threshold of sensitivity or unwillingness to spend time on consultation. Despite the deterioration in the quality of life, patients tolerate literally until they faint, and are already on reception with chronic forms of the disease, and even with oncology at the last stage of development.
Because of this, doctors advise that it is necessary to seek help for a speedy recovery as soon as any unpleasant symptoms arise. To help sensible patients more likely to receive qualified support, doctors have made some kind of clues. If a person has found at least two or three signs of deterioration of well-being from the list, then this is a reason to enroll to a specialist:
- bitter taste;
- belching after eating;
- the smell of the mouth;
- persistent heartburn after almost every meal;
- pain syndrome with localization in the intestine, stomach, hypochondrium;
- heaviness in the stomach;
- prolonged nausea;
- diagnosing diabetes;
- problems with the chair;
- discoloration of feces and the appearance of impurities (blood and mucus);
- skin eruptions of not clear etiology;
- peeling, dry skin;
- problems with the condition of hair and nails.
Separately, cases are considered when a person has been taking medication for a long time or has received chemotherapy. He needs to consult a gastroenterologist in order to jointly restore the intestinal microflora and heal the defects of the gastric mucosa. Otherwise, severe complications and reduced quality of human life are possible.
Another hidden problem that arises because of a refusal to seem to a gastroenterologist is the inability of the body to fully absorb the incoming food. Because of this, all organs are affected, which in sufficient quantities will no longer receive nutrients.
Against this background, various toxic substances will accumulate in the cells, poisoning the body from the inside. Within a couple of months, a person may experience dysfunction of the cardiovascular and nervous systems. At the same time, there is a decrease in efficiency, deterioration of appearance, decrease in social activity.
But the most powerful blow to the immune system. Because of this failure, even ordinary respiratory diseases occur with complications and relapses.
An even greater danger later treatment is for children. In a particularly deplorable scenario in children, due to the disorder of the digestive system, physical development first slows down, and then mental difficulties arise.
Often, to assist adolescents, a specialist simply orders a review of the daily menu if the disease is caught at the initial level. But if this is a neglected case, then an improvement in the quality of food can only be an auxiliary measure, and some cannot do without medicines or even surgery. In order not to end up with this, it is enough just to sign up for a consultation at the first signs of indigestion!
Specialty: infectious diseases specialist, gastroenterologist, pulmonologist.
Total experience: 35 years.
Education: 1975-1982, 1MMI, San gig, high qualification, infectious diseases doctor.
Science degree: doctor of the highest category, PhD.
- Infectious diseases.
- Parasitic diseases.
- Emergency conditions.