Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for: March, 2020

By Advanced Gastroenterology Group
March 13, 2020
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Gastroenterologist  

A gastroenterologist is a doctor that specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating a variety of disorders, conditions and problems that affect the esophagus, gallbladder, intestines, liver, stomach, colon, and rectum. In essence, a gastroenterologist will be able to provide treatment and care for any problems affecting your gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes you may choose to seek out a gastroenterologist yourself or your family physician may refer you to one.

A gastroenterologist can treat a variety of conditions and diseases that affect your intestinal or digestive tract. Some of these conditions include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Celiac disease
  • Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Liver diseases
  • Pancreatitis
  • Colon polyps

Here are some instances in which you may benefit from seeing a gastroenterologist for care.

Rectal bleeding

While this is a common problem that is often the result of a minor issue such as hemorrhoids or an anal fissure, it could also be a sign of a more serious issue. If rectal bleeding is severe, if it lasts for more than 2 or 3 days or if it’s accompanied by abdominal pain or fever it’s time to get it checked out.

Persistent heartburn

While the occasional bout of heartburn can happen to any of us, especially after enjoying a spicy meal, if you find yourself dealing with frequent heartburn several times a week then this could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Since this condition can damage the lining of the esophagus, it’s important to see a GI doctor who can provide you with the proper medication and dietary changes to reduce heartburn symptoms.

Changes in bowel habits

If you are noticing chronic constipation that lasts for about one week or you experience diarrhea for more than a few days it’s important to see a gastroenterologist to determine the cause. Everything from a bacterial infection to food intolerances to digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease could be the cause.

You just turned 50 years old

By the time you reach 50 years old you should also schedule your first routine colorectal cancer screening, also known as a colonoscopy. This is the most effective tool our intestinal doctors have for being able to detect colorectal cancer early. Those patients at an increased risk for colorectal cancer may want to start coming in for routine screenings by the age of 45.

Abdominal pain

While abdominal pain has many causes if you notice that you experience pain frequently, especially after meals, or if bowel issues or nausea accompany your pain then this may also warrant seeing a gastroenterologist for testing.

From colorectal cancer to bowel problems, a gastroenterologist can provide you with the treatment and care you need for a healthy digestive tract. If you are experiencing any of the issues above a GI doctor can help you.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and at Advanced Gastroenterology Group, colon cancer screening and prevention is a large part of what we do.  Without colon cancer screening, 1 out of every 20 people will go on to develop colon cancer.  The good news is, most of these cancers can be prevented with screening.  Screening is the process by which we look for cancers before symptoms start, making them easier to treat and cure.  While some cancers, unfortunately, don’t have a good screening test and cannot be reliably detected early, screening in colon cancer has been very successful.  In fact, colonoscopy, the most commonly used colon cancer screening test, can even PREVENT colon cancer.  This is because most colon cancers start as a polyp, a small growth, which if left in place, can grow into cancer in the future.  However, if found early during colonoscopy, a polyp can be easily removed, preventing cancer in the future.  It is for this reason that colon cancer screening is recommended. 

During this month, we will be posting information on colon cancer and screening in an effort to get more people tested.  We will post a series of videos from the American Gastroenterological Association helping to stress the need to get screened.  We hope that this information is helpful and results in more people getting screened for colon cancer.  Please share this information with your friends.  You can call our office for an appointment to discuss your screening options.  We also encourage you to explore more about colon cancer screening on our web page (www.aggnj.net) and that of the American Gastroenterological Association (www.gastro.org).