Gastroenterology – the digestive system
Gastroenterology refers to the area of medicine focused on the digestive system. This includes managing diseases of the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas and liver.
The physiology of the gastrointestinal system includes movement of material through the stomach and intestine, digestion and absorption of nutrients into the body, function of the liver, and removal of waste from the system.
Poor digestive health can result in conditions such as cancer, hepatitis, gastroesophageal reflux, colon polyps, cirrhosis, colitis, nutritional problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), peptic ulcer disease and pancreatitis.
Some of the common symptoms of diseases caused by digestive problems include:
- Acid reflux / Heartburn
- Nausea / Vomiting
- Abdominal Pain
- Belching, bloating, flatulence
- Acute or Chronic Diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss
If poor digestive health is a problem, your GP may perform a physical exam on the abdomen to help locate the cause of discomfort, ask about your medical history and refer you to a Gastroenterologist. Diagnostic procedures such as Ultrasound, Colonoscopy, Endoscopy and Colon Screening may be used by your Gastroenterologist.