Your digestive system processes the foods you eat and absorbs nutrients for use in bodily processes. This is a very important function for your overall health. If you have concerns about your gastrointestinal health, you need expert diagnostic assessments and treatments available from a gastroenterologist.
A Gastroenterologist Diagnoses and Treats Diseases and Conditions of the GI Tract
Digestion begins in the mouth and continues with the esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and bile ducts. Besides processing and absorbing your food, your gastrointestinal organs secrete hormones and also filter and eliminate waste from the body. When working properly, you may not even notice your digestive processes, except for the occasional passing of gas or loud stomach noises when you are hungry.
When symptoms such as stomach pain, jaundice, rectal bleeding, persistent diarrhea, or something else develop, you need the expertise of a board-certified gastroenterologist.
Among the many conditions, a GI doctor diagnoses and treats are:
- Acid reflux disease
- Hiatal hernia
- Swallowing problems
- Irritable bowel disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Lactose intolerance
Your Gastroenterologist Educates You on Optimal Digestive Health
Besides diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions and diseases, a gastroenterologist provides valuable education on digestive health, including:
- When and how to take medications
- Which foods optimize your digestive health and processes
- How to prepare for advanced imaging tests, such as colonoscopy (used for colon cancer screening)
- How to avoid long-term complications of chronic conditions, such as Crohn’s disease
What Happens at a GI Appointment?
If your primary care physician has referred you to a gastroenterologist, you can expect your visit to involve:
- A review of your medical history, family history, surgeries, medications, and symptoms
- A physical examination of the area of concern
- Imaging tests, such as digital X-rays and digital rectal examination
- Blood work
- Recommendations on when to have cancer screenings and at what intervals
Your GI physician may advise you on getting imaging tests, such as flexible sigmoidoscopy, upper endoscopy (EGD), capsule endoscopy, or something else. Many of these are performed onsite in the doctor’s clinic and yield important information that the specialist can use to formulate an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
For an effective appointment, you should come prepared to ask your GI doctor questions about your symptoms, condition, medications, and testing. Possible questions can include:
- How does my condition affect my overall health?
- What changes can I make to my diet to improve my condition?
- What medications should I take, and do they have side effects?
- How often will I need follow-up tests?
- How many colonoscopies (or other procedures) have you performed?
Top-Notch GI Care at North Shore Gastroenterology in Ohio
At NorthShore Gastroenterology & Endoscopy Center, our talented team includes 10 board-certified gastroenterologists with many years of experience and expertise in the health and function of the digestive system. When you come to see us at either our Brooklyn or Westlake, OH, location, you can expect compassionate, precise care in a state-of-the-art setting. Plus, our support staff is second to none and will do whatever possible to make you comfortable and satisfied with our service.