Understanding Gastroenterology


Gastroenterology is a medical specialty that involves the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the digestive system. These disorders may affect the esophagus (food tube), stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum, liver, gallbladder and pancreas.

A gastroenterologist is a physician who is trained in internal medicine who then spends three additional years of training in gastroenterology. Most gastroenterologists are board certified in Internal Medicine. Then after completing the gastroenterology training, a physician can become board certified in gastroenterology.

Gastroenterologists are frequently asked to evaluate the following problems:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Heartburn/Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
  • Indigestion
  • Liver problems
  • Pancreas problems
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Upset stomach

Gastroenterologists may perform the following procedures in order to make an accurate diagnosis:

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