Gastroenterology is an area of medicine that focuses on the health of the digestive system or the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Gastroenterologists can treat everything from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to hepatitis.
A gastroenterologist is an expert in digestive health and issues related to the stomach, intestines, and bowels, but also includes a number of other organs related to the entire digestive tract. A lot happens between the time food enters your mouth until it is excreted from your body as waste. Your liver, pancreas, esophagus, and stomach all play a role in the digestive process. Sometimes changes in your digestion may be a minor response to new foods, medications, or stressful situations. Certain symptoms may indicate something more serious that needs to be checked out.
These specialists primarily diagnose and treat GI diseases in both men and women. They perform endoscopic procedures, in which they use specialized instruments to view the GI tract and make a diagnosis. They don’t perform surgery. In some cases, they may work closely with a GI surgeon.