Digestive health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, as it directly impacts the body’s ability to break down and absorb essential nutrients from food for energy and cell growth. Any disruptions to this process can lead to symptoms and poor health. For this reason, gastrointestinal (GI) conditions should be evaluated by a specialist: a gastroenterologist.
Gastroenterologists play a highly important role in managing digestive conditions and improving digestive health. They can diagnose your GI condition and provide treatment, usually without the need for surgery.
Let’s talk more about digestive health, what GI conditions gastroenterologists treat, and methods they use in treating them.
Why Digestive Health Matters
Your digestive health matters and should be prioritized for the following reasons:
- For Better Nutrient Absorption – The digestive system is responsible for breaking down food into nutrients that the body can absorb and utilize for energy, growth, and repair.
- For the Gut-Brain Connection – The gut-brain axis plays a significant role in overall health, with the gut influencing the brain and vice versa. A healthy digestive system can positively impact mood, cognitive function, and emotional well-being.
- For Better Immune Function – The digestive system houses a large portion of the body’s immune system. A healthy gut helps defend against harmful pathogens and supports the immune response.
- The Efficient Elimination of Waste – Proper digestion ensures the efficient elimination of waste products, preventing constipation and promoting regular bowel movements.
GI Conditions Treated by Gastroenterologists
Gastroenterologists are highly specialized physicians of the digestive system, and they have the training and experience needed to effectively treat the following:
#1 Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
A chronic condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, leading to heartburn and potential damage to the esophagus lining. GERD should be a serious concern, as it may increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
#2 H. Pylori and Peptic Ulcers
pylori is a type of bacteria that infects the stomach lining, causing the development of peptic ulcers, which are painful sores that form on the lining of the stomach. Peptic ulcers cause great discomfort but can be treated with antibiotics and medication to control stomach acid.
#3 Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
IBD refers to conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which are characterized by chronic inflammation that can potentially damage the gastrointestinal tract. IBD needs management to prevent malnutrition and other serious complications.
#4 Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS causes abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea that may be due to abnormal movement patterns and changes in communication between the brain and GI system. Medication is critical to managing IBS and the avoidance of triggers.
#5 Celiac Disease
This GI condition is a type of autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten, which is found in wheat products. If eaten, it leads to the body attacking the small intestine, impairing nutrient absorption. Avoidance is critical to managing celiac disease.
#6 Gallbladder and Biliary Tract Disorders
Conditions affecting the gallbladder and bile ducts, such as gallstones and biliary colic, are treated by gastroenterologists using medicine and surgery.
#7 Liver Diseases
Hepatitis, fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis are all treated by gastroenterologists. There is a risk of liver failure and liver cancer in patients with liver disease, so patients must be monitored regularly.
How Do GI Doctors Treat GI Conditions?
Gastroenterologists employ various methods to diagnose and treat digestive disorders. Some of the treatments include:
- Endoscopy procedures, such as upper endoscopy and colonoscopy, can help visualize the gastrointestinal tract and obtain tissue samples for examination, whether it’s for purposes of screening, diagnostics, or treatment.
- Medications to manage symptoms and treat underlying conditions. This may include acid suppressants for GERD, anti-inflammatory drugs for IBD, and antispasmodics for IBS.
- Dietary recommendations to manage digestive conditions, such as avoiding trigger foods or following specific diets for conditions like lactose intolerance, celiac disease, IBD, and IBS.
- Gastroenterologists can perform procedures to address specific digestive conditions, such as removing very large polyps or repairing gastrointestinal abnormalities.
- Give advice on lifestyle changes, such as weight management, regular exercise, and stress reduction, to support digestive health.
Top Gastroenterologists in Westlake and Brooklyn, OH
The gastroenterology specialists at North Shore Gastroenterology are ready to serve your GI needs. We treat GI conditions and perform a wide range of procedures for screening, diagnostics, and treatment purposes and collaborate with other specialists to bring you the best in digestive care.
If you want to take the next step toward better digestive health, call our office today at
(440) 808-1212 or use our convenient online form.