When should you visit a gastroenterologist ?

People suffering from frequent digestive issues and not experiencing relief after seeking over-the-counter (OTC) medicines or treatment from a general physician need to visit a gastroenterologist on a priority basis.

Dr. Samrat Jankar Created on 21th Jun, 21

People suffering from frequent digestive issues and not experiencing relief after seeking over-the-counter (OTC) medicines or treatment from a general physician need to visit a gastroenterologist on a priority basis.

 

Dr. Samrat Jankar is a leading gastroenterologist in Pune who offers suitable treatment to treat long-standing and complicated issues of the digestive tract.

 

These digestive issues could be;

  • Abdominal pain
  • Issues in passing bowels
  • Pale coloured stools
  • Excessive gas and belching
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark coloured Urine
  • Esophageal discomfort

 

A gastroenterologist is a doctor who provides specialized treatment to issues in the digestive tract i.e. the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, rectum. The gastroenterologist also treats issues in the gall bladder, liver, pancreas, and common bile duct. The diagnosis of these issues is done through medical history, physical examination, imaging, blood tests, and endoscopy as required.

 

Let us move on to serious gastroenterology related disorders that require immediate medical attention –

 

  1. Gastroesophageal reflux disease – GERD

It is also referred to as heartburn in which the patient experiences a burning sensation in the chest or the throat. The main reason being the stomach acid entering the food pipe or the esophagus. Excessive consumption of hot, spicy, and acidic foods can cause heartburn.

It is advisable to seek the advice of a gastroenterologist if the patient complains of GERD even after taking proton pump inhibitors (PPI) for nearly six months. If ignored, it can lead to breathing issues, inflammation of the esophagus, and other complications in the digestive tract.

 

2. Blood in Stool

Passing blood in stools is a serious medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. The case is even more serious if the bleeding is accompanied by fever especially if it has been happening for two or more days in a row. Rectal bleeding can occur due to anal fissure or hemorrhoids which are enlarged blood vessels present within or around the bottom (the rectum and anus) or an ulcer or a tumour or a polyp in the internal intestinal lining.

 

3. Inflammatory bowel disease – IBD

This medical condition includes a varied range of disorders that affects any organ in the digestive tract and to a great extent it affects the small intestines. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the two major diseases associated with inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease is caused by an autoimmune response or genetic predisposition.

 

4. Colon Screening

Screening the colon for cancer is a must for people above 50 years of age to check for colorectal cancer especially in the early stages. This test involves inserting a tube with a camera into the rectum to check the colon’s health and issues if any.

 

5. Gallstones

Yet another painful condition that occurs in the gall bladder in the digestive tract. Sudden or shooting pain in the abdomen especially on the right side is the main indicator of gallstones which subsides as and when they change their location. The gastroenterologist could prescribe medicines to dissolve the gallstones or even suggest surgery to remove the gall bladder. Aging and/or obese people and pregnant women are likely to develop gall stones.

 

6. Jaundice

Jaundice is one of the most commonly occurring liver diseases. It is characterized by yellow skin and sclera. Jaundice can occur due to hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and blockages in the channels that drain the bile from the liver. It is necessary to seek prompt medical attention and suitable medical treatment else it could lead to permanent liver damage, liver failure, or infection in the bile passage.

 

7. Diarrhea

A patient with loose watery stools along with frequent trips to clear the bowels is said to have diarrhea. It can occur due to viral or bacterial infection or due to medication or even due to other digestive disorders such as celiac diseases, Crohn’s disease, TB of the intestine and ulcerative colitis, and so on. If a patient complains of loose motions for few weeks, prompt medical attention or treatment is essential as it can lead to severe complications.

 

8. Constipation

Constipation is one of the most common digestive disorders faced across the globe. Patients complain of abdominal pain and incomplete evacuation. It also causes a lot of personal stress and social trauma. Constipation can be due to colonic tumours, polyps, irritable bowel disease, rectal ulcer, or inflammation of the rectum. Chronic constipation issues need comprehensive medical treatment and examination for best outcomes. 

 

Consulting a gastroenterologist is essential for patients suffering from chronic digestive issues. Dr. Samrat Jankar is a leading Gastroenterologist in Pune available for expert consultation and treatment on gastroenterological diseases.

 

9. Gallstones:

Gallstones are small and hard deposits that form in the fluid of the gallbladder. They develop due to imbalances in the chemicals that form bile, the digestive fluid made by the liver. Shooting or sudden pain in the right side of your abdomen can indicate the presence of gallstones. Generally, pain from a gallstone subsides as it moves.

 

Obese people, pregnant women, and people of age are prone to develop gallstones. Gallstone treatment can include medication that dissolves the stones. In many cases, patients who develop gallstones have to undergo surgery to remove their gallbladder.

 

10. Coeliac disease:

Coeliac disease is a genetic autoimmune condition that impedes the body’s ability to process gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When patients with Coeliac disease consume products containing gluten, their body responds by attacking their small intestine. It also interferes in the absorption of some nutrients.

 

Coeliac disease is different from gluten sensitivity in that the latter does not cause damage to the intestines even though both conditions share many symptoms. Coeliac disease can be confirmed by a gastroenterologist with a blood test or a sample of the small intestine (by looking for signs of damage).

 

Though your primary care doctor can help you successfully navigate most of the common abdominal issues, consulting a gastroenterologist often leads to quicker and accurate diagnosis of complex gastrointestinal conditions. A quick diagnosis followed by the correct treatment plan reduces the risk of complications and lowers the chances of having to undergo procedures at the hospital.

 

WHO IS A GASTROENTEROLOGIST ? WHAT IS GASTROENTEROLOGY ?

These problems are treated by medications, endoscopy and sometimes surgical interventions are required. Dr Vatsal Mehta is practicing Gastroenterologist in Ahmedabad.

 

WHAT IS ENDOSCOPY?

Endoscopy is a visualization of internal organs like food pipe, stomach and the initial part of the small intestine are seen in Upper GI Endoscopy while in colonoscopy there is visualization of large intestines and small intestine. A flexible, thin endoscope is used for this procedure, which has a light and a viewing instrument that sends images to monitor.

 

The doctor carefully examines the video produced during the procedure to understand the pathology within the tract. Sometimes endoscopy is used for administration of therapy like band ligation, glue injection, dilatation of narrowed segment of gastrointestinal tract.

 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS WHEN I SHOULD CONSULT A GASTROENTEROLOGIST?

1. DIFFICULTY IN SWALLOWING

When a patient feels that something is stuck in the food-pipe, it usually requires an upper GI endoscopy for diagnosis and further management of the said problem. Endoscopy can diagnose problems like reflux esophagitis, tumor of esophagus, achalasia cardia and stricture (narrowing of esophagus). These problems can be managed by specific medications, endoscopic procedure, or surgery. Hence, meeting a gastroenterologist, before you loose significant weight is highly advisable.

 

2. LONG STANDING ACIDITY AND INDIGESTION

Patients with short lasting symptoms of acidity, liquid reflux or digestions can be managed by temporary over the counter medication, while when these symptoms are chronic and long standing, they must see a gastroenterologist for further guidance. These patients often have H Pylori infection. In presence of weight loss, persistent vomiting, or bleeding serious problems like gastric ulcer bleeding, tumour or dilated veins in the stomach region can be found on endoscopy.

 

3. BLOOD IN VOMITING

Presence of blood in vomiting indicated a medical emergency. In such situation, patient may require emergency endoscopy apart from medical management, resuscitation, and blood transfusion. In these patients active bleeding is controlled be endoscopy, sometimes further bleeding is prevented by endoscopy.

 

4. JAUNDICE

Presence of yellow dis-colouration of skin and sclera is known as jaundice. One of the common symptoms of liver disease is jaundice. Causes of jaundice includes a wide spectrum of disease including viral infections of liver (hepatitis), long standing liver damage (liver cirrhosis) and obstruction of bile draining channels of liver. Careful evaluation and treatment in these cases is very important to prevent liver failure, infection in bile pathway or permanent liver damage. Timely treatment results in significant improvement in patients’ health and generalized well-being.

 

5. CHRONIC DIARRHEA

Diarrhea usually occurs due to consumption of food or water harvesting infectious agents like viruses, bacteria, or parasites. When short lasting these cases are managed by improving hydration orally and tablets to conquer infections. On the other hand, chronic diarrhea lasting for more than a month can result in malnutrition and weight loss along with poor quality of life. In these patients, laboratory, and endoscopic evaluation of cause of diarrhea is prudent. Causes like food allergy, gluten sensitivity, inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and TB of intestine etc. have tendency to stay undetected for months before systematic approach and scientific treatment is offered.

 

6. CONSTIPATION

Constipation is very common problem seen worldwide and is often overlooked. Constipation not only produces symptoms like feel of incomplete evacuation, abdominal pain but it also creates social and mental distress. Careful examination, laboratory investigation and colonoscopy help to find-out the cause of constipation, treating them makes patient fee from the same. Irritable bowel disease, functional constipation, colonic tumors, colonic polyps, inflammation of rectum and solitary rectal ulcer syndrome are common treatable cause of constipation.

 

7. BLOOD IN STOOLS

Appearance of blood in stool in small quantity can be managed on outpatient bases, while large amount of blood in stools can become a medical emergency. Ulcer in internal lining of small or large bowel, tumor or a polyp can be readily diagnosed and treated by endoscopy.

 

Gastroenterology is a very vast subject, multiple reasons are seen in various patients with pain in abdomen, vomiting, distension of abdomen or collection of fluid in abdomen. These all patients require to see a gastroenterologist for finding out the reason and the way to get relief form it.

 

There could be multiple causes of shoulder pain in teenager and adolescent kids. It is important to seek prompt medical attention and suitable orthopedic treatment that relives them from pain and inflammation while ensuring their ability to resume active sports.