Visiting your gastroenterologist may not be at the top of your list of fun activities, but it may be one of the best things you will do all year. Gastroenterologists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of digestive issues that affect the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, large intestine, and other organs of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Here are three reasons why seeing your gastroenterologist is a smart move.
1. Screening for colorectal cancer
The American Cancer Society recommends everyone aged 45 and older who is at average risk of colorectal cancer begin screening. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or personal health history that increases your risk for the disease, your doctor may recommend earlier screening. Screening for colorectal cancer can set your mind at ease, as this serious type of cancer does not always cause symptoms until it has progressed to an advanced stage.
While you can do a stool test that detects cancer, these tests are not as accurate as a colonoscopy when it comes to detecting colorectal cancer. What’s more, your gastroenterologist can remove any suspicious polyps that may someday turn into cancer.
2. Overcome unpleasant or embarrassing digestive issues
Painful constipation or excess flatulence can be embarrassing – the inconvenience of some digestive issues can even decrease your quality of life, especially if they prevent you from doing your job or enjoying the company of others. Your gastroenterologist can help you manage your symptoms so you can get back to enjoying life.
3. Diagnose and treat more serious or persistent GI problems
A trip to your gastroenterologist may be in order if you are experiencing digestive problems, such as stomach upset or diarrhea/constipation, for 2 weeks or longer. Your GI doctor can also help if your digestive issue interferes with your day.
If you have bleeding, yellowing of the skin or eyes known as jaundice, unexplained weight loss, or trouble swallowing, see your gastroenterologist right away. These signs and symptoms may indicate something serious.
For more information on gastroenterology, or to learn other reasons for seeing a gastroenterologist, consult with the GI professionals at Northeast Digestive. Our digestive doctors are always glad to see you.