Gastroenterology focuses on the health of the digestive system or the gastrointestinal tract. The gastrointestinal system is responsible for the digestion of food, absorption of nutrients and removal of waste from the body.

Gastroenterologists diagnose and treat diseases that occur in the gastrointestinal system. These are specialists that focus on:

  • The physiology or normal function of gastrointestinal organs
  • The motility or movement of food through the digestive tract
  • The digestion or breakdown of food
  • The absorption of nutrients
  • The removal of waste from the body

Treatment usually involves short-term or long-term medication. However, a gastroenterologist may perform a few tests and procedures to diagnose gastrointestinal diseases.

One of the major procedures performed by the gastroenterologist is endoscopy. It involves the use of narrow flexible tubes with a built-in video camera that can be inserted into the intestinal tract.

If one is necessary, we refer our patients to a hospital endoscopy unit, and it is usually organised within a couple of weeks.

The following are common diseases and symptoms treated by a gastroenterologist:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Gastro-Oesophageal Acid reflux
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Hepatitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Jaundice
  • Polyps in the large intestine
  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Reflux esophagitis (caused by gastroesophageal disease)
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Bloody stools, cramping, bloating
  • So, when do you need to see a gastroenterologist? Here are a few signs that it is time to book an appointment.
  • If you are experiencing any of the following common symptoms:

    • Constipation and diarrhoea
    • Abdominal pain and discomfort
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Changes in bowel habits or bowel movement urges that are difficult to control
    • Heartburn/Acid Reflux
    • Excessive gas or belching (Flatulence)
    • Stomach upset, nausea, vomiting
    • Loss of appetite or weight
    • Difficulty swallowing