Physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of the digestive system or gastrointestinal tract are gastroenterologists. When they specialize to treat children in the same area, they are termed as pediatric gastroenterologist. They treat conditions such hepatitis, colon or rectal cancer, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. A gastroenterologist must complete four years of degree, four years of medical school, three years residency in internal medicines and later specialize in gastroenterology for a period of two to three years. Certification from a recognized board is necessary.
Role of gastroenterologist
- Diagnose and offer medical treatment for any kind of disorder in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Order for blood tests, x-rays, endoscope checks of the stomach called gastroscopy or for the large intestine called colonoscopy depending on the patient's illness.
- Assist a surgeon in exactly locating the area of problem that needs treatment in the gastrointestinal section.
- They follow up digestive system disorders that include esophagus, small and large intestine, stomach, pancreas and the liver. They also follow up on symptoms of heartburn, indigestion, ulcers etc following an operation.
Modern techniques and gastroenterologist
- Use of ultra high frequency in endosonography gives better understanding of any lesions formed.
- Measuring of myoelectric and contractile activity in the gastrointestinal tract, esophageal and anal manometry to understand constipation, nausea, abdominal pain etc better in any patient.
- Electrogastrography and few other modern techniques have made it easier to understand the esophageal transit in patients easier.