Gastroenterologists are specialists who focus on the digestive system and its disorders. They are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the esophagus, stomach, intestines, liver, and pancreas. Aside from providing general care for these disorders, gastroenterologists also perform procedures such as colonoscopies and endoscopies.
If you have any concerns about your digestive health, it’s best to see a gastroenterologist. Aside from digestive issues, gastroenterologists can also help with other conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and hepatology. They can also help you manage your weight and provide guidance on nutrition.
Not sure if you need to see a gastroenterologist? Here are 10 signs that you might need to book an appointment:
- You have persistent digestive issues
If you have ongoing digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation, it’s time to see a gastroenterologist. These issues can be caused by a variety of conditions, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
- You have trouble swallowing
If you have difficulty swallowing, or feel like food is getting stuck in your throat, you should see a gastroenterologist. This may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or another condition. When left untreated, difficulty swallowing can lead to weight loss and malnutrition.
- You have blood in your stool
If you see blood in your stool, it’s important to see a gastroenterologist right away. This could be a sign of colon cancer or another serious condition. It’s also important to see a gastroenterologist if you have any other changes in your stool, such as a sudden change in bowel habits.
- You have chronic heartburn or acid reflux
If you have chronic heartburn or acid reflux, it’s time to see a gastroenterologist. These conditions can be caused by a variety of factors, including diet and lifestyle choices. A gastroenterologist can help you find the underlying cause of your heartburn or acid reflux and develop a treatment plan.
- You have celiac disease or another food intolerance
Celiac disease is a condition that causes an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It’s important to see a gastroenterologist if you think you may have celiac disease, as it can cause serious health problems. A gastroenterologist can also help you if you have another food intolerance, such as lactose intolerance.
- You have liver disease
If you have liver diseases like hepatitis C or cirrhosis, it’s important to see a gastroenterologist. They can help you manage your condition and prevent complications.
- You have pancreatitis
Pancreatitis is a serious condition that affects the pancreas. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including alcohol use, certain medications, and Gallstones. If you have pancreatitis, it’s important to see a gastroenterologist so they can develop a treatment plan.
- You have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). They can both cause a variety of symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. If you have either of these conditions, it’s important to see a gastroenterologist so they can manage your symptoms and prevent complications.
- You have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. These symptoms can be debilitating and interfere with your quality of life. If you have IBS, it’s important to see a gastroenterologist so they can develop a treatment plan that works for you.
- You are experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding
Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding can be a sign of a serious condition, such as ulcerative colitis or stomach cancer. If you are experiencing GI bleeding, it’s important to see a gastroenterologist right away. They can determine the cause of the bleeding and develop a treatment plan.
These are just a few of the signs that you may need to see a gastroenterologist. If you have any concerns about your digestive health, it’s always best to consult with a medical professional.
If you are worried about your gastroenterology medical billing, you can check with your gastroenterologist to see if they are in-network with your insurance provider. Many gastroenterologists are covered by major insurance plans. However, if your gastroenterologist is not in-network with your insurance, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for their services.