There are many ailments that a primary care doctor is not fully equipped to treat. Gastroenterologists specialize in the digestive system and are better able to diagnose and create a plan of action for certain conditions. Below is a list of the four most common disorders and afflictions that are best seen by a gastroenterologist.
Although it is normal for individuals to develop constipation for a short time every once in awhile, it is a problem when constipation lasts for an extended period. Gastroenterologists work to find the cause of constipation, whether that be diet, irritable bowel syndrome, or hypothyroidism. It is also possible that the prescriptions you may be taking are the reason you have trouble with your bowel movements. Once the cause is identified, a treatment plan can be created.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Another common ailment worth seeing the specialist about is gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD as it is commonly referred to. If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux on a regular basis, you'll need something stronger than an over-the-counter antacid. The doctor can authorize a prescription proton pump inhibitor, as well as lifestyle and diet changes. If that doesn't work, the gastroenterologist may recommend a coating or promotility agent. Surgery is the last resort.
A virus that is known for attacking the liver, Hepatitis C starts off with flu-like symptoms. Muscle aches and pains and fatigue are common. Indiana Health University reports that two-thirds of the people infected with Hepatitis C don't even know that have it because after the initial symptoms fade, they may not have any more symptoms for 20 to 30 years. A gastroenterologist can test for this virus and treat it with antiviral medications. If left untreated, Hepatitis C will eventually cause damage to the liver.
There are two types of pancreatic cancer that gastroenterologists commonly treat. The first is found in the pancreatic duct, while the second is the occurrence of pancreatic endocrine tumors. As with all other kinds of cancers, pancreatic cancer has the best outcome when treated in its early stages. A few symptoms to watch for include unexplained weight loss, jaundice, digestive issues, and pain in either the middle of your back or the front of your belly. Once the gastroenterologist diagnoses pancreatic cancer through a series of tests, he will work with you to find the best oncologist to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan.
To learn more, contact a company like Gastroenterology Associates.