If you have been to your doctor complaining of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, diarrhoea, problems swallowing, liver issues, heartburn, etc. you may be referred to a gastroenterologist. Most of the time, gastroenterologists receive patients from a referral. The reason for this is that when people experience health problems, they visit their general doctor first. They may not know that their symptoms or illness require a specialist.
Who is a Gastroenterologist?
This is a specialist who handles health problems related to your digestive tract system and the organs found along it. These organs include your stomach, oesophagus/gullet, intestines (both large and small), pancreas and liver.
What Happens When You Visit the Gastroenterologist?
This will depend on what problem you have and how severe it is. However, there are some basic things that you can expect.
You will have a question and answer session with the gastroenterologist. This will be basically to give him or her an idea of what you are experiencing. You will give details of your symptoms and also the worsening or relieving factors. For example, it worsens when you do this or feels much better when you do something else.
Based on your answers, your gastroenterologist will examine you physically, and this can differ for each patient. He or she may feel your abdomen for masses or tender spots, inspect your mouth, eyes, hair, skin, hands and even fingernails. At times, you may get your anus examined. It might feel awkward, but it is important. You may also get an X-ray.
In some circumstances, you may have health problems that will necessitate taking a look inside your digestive tract or getting a biopsy done. You may require a colonoscopy where a tube with a light and camera on one end will be inserted into your rectum.
Is The Colonoscopy Procedure Painful?
The procedure is not painful, but you may feel some slight discomfort during preparation. You may be given some medication to help you relax. After the procedure, some people claim to feel some discomfort or slight pain. Others do not feel anything. This is because of the air that was pumped in to help easily view your bowel lining. If a biopsy was taken, you may feel some pain and notice slight bleeding. This is normal.
Always have someone with you when going for any medical procedure. You will definitely need them to give you a ride back home in case you are still impaired from medication given. If you think that you may be suffering from digestive-track problems find a gastroenterologist like those at Diagnostic Endoscopy Centre near you.