Who is a gastroenterologist (and hepatologist)?
In Australia, gastroenterologists (and hepatologists) are specialist internal medicine physicians who specialise in diseases of the digestive tract and its accessory organs such as liver, gallbladder and pancreas. They undertake further training (7+ years) after graduating from medical school. Gastroenterologists help patients diagnose and manage gastrointestinal conditions. They may also perform procedures such as gastroscopy and colonoscopy.
Why do I need to see a gastroenterologist (and hepatologist)?
Your GP may refer you to a gastroenterologist for a number of reasons. Most GPs are excellent at managing common gastrointestinal problems. However, if your symptoms fail to resolve with appropriate treatment or the symptoms are unusual, your GP may refer you to see a specialist. Gastroenterologists help manage abdominal pain, swallowing difficulties, gastrointestinal bleeding, change in bowel habit, unexplained weight loss, abnormal blood tests and more.
What to bring on your first visit?
Updated medication list
Private health fund information
Previous blood test and radiology results
Medical specialist correspondence
What is endoscopy?
Endoscopy uses small cameras to look inside the human body. Endoscopy is generally less invasive than surgery. The upper gastrointestinal system may be examined using gastroscopy. The lower gastrointestinal system may be examined using colonoscopy. The small bowel may be examined using capsule endoscopy.
What is bowel preparation?
Bowel preparation is the process by which the large bowel is cleaned to allow optimal views during colonoscopy. This is important because research shows that a good bowel preparation improves colonoscopy outcomes such as polyp detection.