Bloating, constipation, heartburn, and stomach pain are symptoms that usually disappear on their own. However, frequent or severe cases require a consultation with a gastroenterologist or GI doctor. If you haven’t been to a gastroenterologist before, it can be confusing deciding how to choose one. You want to select a doctor who is a good communicator, someone you feel comfortable sharing intimate health details with, and someone who has a wealth of experience in the field.
Here’s a guide on how to choose your GI doctor.
Scope Of Services And Available Amenities
First of all, you should consider the scope of services a GI doctor has to offer. Gastrointestinal conditions are divided into two main groups, namely functional and structural. Abnormalities within your GI tract result in structural conditions. Here are some examples:
- Colon polyps
- Colon cancer
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
These diseases usually require surgical procedures like endoscopy, laparoscopy, or open surgery. So, should you feel symptoms of these conditions, make sure you choose a doctor who has the necessary surgical expertise and equipment.
If you have a functional disease, your GI tract doesn’t have any functional abnormalities but may have issues with its movement. These conditions are common and relatively easier to treat. Here are some of the functional GI issues your gastroenterologist can address:
- Acid reflux/GERD
- Food poisoning
- Lactose intolerance
To arrive at a proper diagnosis, your doctor will request numerous diagnostic tests. Some of the standard diagnostic tests you may need include:
- Fecal occult blood test
- Esophageal pH monitoring
- Stool culture
- CT scans
- Colorectal transit study
- Lower GI tract endoscopy (colonoscopy)
- Upper GI tract endoscopy (esophagogastroduodenoscopy)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Oropharyngeal motility test
Your doctor’s clinic should have access to imaging equipment and laboratories for a smooth diagnostic process.
Credentials And Other Qualities
Gastrointestinal health is a significant part of your overall well-being. It is only fitting that you deal only with board-certified gastrointestinal doctors. Your gastroenterologist should be certified to practice both gastrointestinal and internal medicine.
While their credentials speak for their skills and abilities in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases, GI doctors also have varying qualities. Doctors with more experience may treat your condition more effectively and efficiently. So, choose a doctor who has impressive expertise.
Additionally, your gastroenterologist should have a communication style suitable for you. Communication is vital because it lets your doctor understand your concerns. The more they know, the better the treatment plan they’ll customize for you. If you go with a doctor you cannot communicate well with, you are less likely to share details about your symptoms, especially intimate ones. Thus, you should be comfortable with the doctor you choose.
Consider Their Clinic’s Accessibility
Lastly, you should also consider accessibility. Accessibility refers to three things, namely:
First, your gastroenterologist should be able to fit you in for appointments with ease. The last thing you want is to select a doctor who is booked up for months at a time.
Next, location matters, especially if you have a chronic condition. You may have to visit your doctor’s clinic from time to time for tests and follow-ups. So, a doctor’s clinic close to your home is a good choice.
Lastly, consider the financial cost of going with your selected gastroenterologist. Inquire about their rates and if your insurance plan covers their services.
Find Your GI Doctor In Cuyahoga County, OH
When choosing a GI doctor, you should consider their credibility and area of expertise. Next, you should look at the quality of patient care and services. Lastly, make sure you are dealing with a doctor who is close by and affordable.
Luckily, we check all these boxes at Northshore Gastroenterology & Endoscopy Centers. We have friendly staff and numerous board-certified and experienced GI doctors to cater to your needs. Our clinics also have imaging equipment and access to lab services for the proper diagnosis of your condition. We also have the necessary amenities for both invasive and non-invasive procedures to correct structural conditions.
We look forward to being of your service!