Gastroenterology is the branch of medicine that deals with the normal function and diseases of the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver.
A gastroenterologist is a physician who treats diseases and conditions related to the digestive system and intestines such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), coeliac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastro-oesophageal disease. IBS is the most common disease diagnosed by gastroenterologists and one of the most common disorders seen by primary care physicians./
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Stomach Pain? Let’s See How Gastroenterology Doctors Treat You
Patients are referred to a gastroenterologist when experiencing digestive disorders and issues that include unexplained changes in bowel habits, including diarrhoea, constipation and blood in the stool, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and heartburn.
Other common signs and symptoms of the gastrointestinal disorder are:
- bloating or gas
- blood in stool
At SJMC, during the consultation, our gastroenterologist will speak with the patient about medical history, symptoms, and any recent treatments they had previously. Depending on the patient’s age, they may recommend certain preventative measures, such as a colonoscopy, which can help prevent colorectal cancer.
Hepatology: Specialist That Focuses on Liver Problems
Hepatology is a branch of medicine that focuses on the structure, functions, diseases, and abnormalities of the liver.
Hepatologists are medical doctors who diagnose, treat, and manage problems associated with the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas. Liver problems are a growing issue around the world, with conditions like cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, and hepatitis affecting the lives of millions of people each year.
Liver failure occurs when the liver does not function well enough (for example, manufacturing bile and eliminating harmful substances from the body). Some of the symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, and blood in the stool.
During an appointment at SJMC, our hepatology (liver) doctors will take a detailed history of the patient’s symptoms and coordinate the necessary examinations to establish a diagnosis as soon as possible. This is likely to include several different scans, health screenings and blood tests, and may also include a liver biopsy.
Common liver function tests offered at our centre include:
- Alanine transaminase (ALT)
- Aspartate transaminase (AST)
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
- Albumin and total protein
- Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)
- L-lactate dehydrogenase (LD)
- Prothrombin time (PT)
Elevated liver enzymes often indicate inflammation or damage to cells in the liver. Inflamed or injured liver cells release higher than normal amounts of specific chemicals, including liver enzymes, into the bloodstream, elevating liver enzymes on blood tests.
Some of the Best Qualities You Should Identify from a Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist
The following qualities, be it medical or non-medical related, should form the basis of considering a gastroenterologist and hepatologist of your choice:
In the field of gastroenterology and hepatology, every doctor has his/her own expertise in different procedural focuses. Ensure that such procedure is suitable for your condition after diagnosis
From the medical schools they graduated from to postgraduate clinical training and certifications, the discipline of studies they underwent and the experience accumulated throughout real-life procedures ensure a higher degree of confidence for the patient to proceed with the diagnosis and treatment.
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A gastroenterologist and hepatologist’s tone of voice, body language and manner of explaining things, and ability to provide compassionate care can spell the difference between a pleasant and a subpar patient experience
Treatment Offered by Gastroenterology and Hepatology Department
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. Our gastroenterologists diagnose and treat diseases that occur in the gastrointestinal system.
Our hepatologists treat acute or chronic liver disease, ranging from fatty liver disease to cirrhosis to liver cancer. Both hepatologists and gastroenterologists can help diagnose and treat liver disease.
Alcohol-related liver disease can be improved with abstinence from alcohol, but when the liver disease progresses to liver failure, a liver transplant may be the best treatment option. A transplant replaces a damaged liver with a healthy one.
Other treatments available include:
- Diagnostic or therapeutic gastroscopy
- Diagnostic or therapeutic colonoscopy
- Endoscopic management of varices
- Large volume abdominal paracentesis
- Treatment of liver cirrhosis with portal hypertension
Book an appointment with our highly skilled team of gastroenterologists and hepatologists for a comprehensive range of methods for investigation and treatment.