What is a Gastroenterologist?
A gastroenterologist is a physician who specializes in digestive health disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, gallstones and celiac disease. Gastroenterologists have undergone extensive training and certification in internal medicine, then pursued their specialty in gastroenterology. Gastroenterologists are trained to perform procedures such as sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy, which are used to diagnose and prevent digestive health issues.
Gastroenterology is the study of disorders that affect the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. This broad area requires a gastroenterologist to have an in-depth understanding of all functions of the digestive system.
In most cases, your primary care physician will refer you to a gastroenterologist if your digestive issues are beyond the scope of their practice. If you are diagnosed with a severe gastrointestinal disease, the gastroenterologist will likely become your primary point of care.
At the Gastroenterology Clinic at Bryan Hospital and Archbold Medical Center, we treat people who are suffering from a variety of gastrointestinal issues.
In addition to digestive health treatments, gastroenterologists perform colorectal cancer screenings. Gastroenterologists are trained in endoscopy, the use of a tube with a built-in camera to inspect the inside of the intestinal tract.
“A large part of gastroenterology,” says Dr. Matt Cooley, “Is centered around prevention. Screening colonoscopy has led to a significant decline in colon cancers and allows for treatment of pre-cancerous polyps before they become something more concerning.”
The American Cancer Society recommends scheduling regular screenings with a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy every 10 years once you reach the age of 45. Depending on your family history, you may need to schedule sooner. Consult with your family doctor about the best timing for you.
Need to schedule an appointment? Call us today!
Bryan Hospital: 419-630-2021
Archbold Medical Center: 419-446-3019