A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in the medical conditions of the digestive system, including the upper and lower GI systems, and the pancreas. This includes disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's disease. Gastroenterologists may also be called hematologists or hepatobiliary surgeons.

Gastroenterologists often work in conjunction with other physicians who treat disorders of the stomach, such as internists. However, gastroenterologists can also practice independently by caring for patients with gastrointestinal problems who do not require any other type of care besides diagnosis and treatment.

What Does a Gastroenterologist Do?

The gastroenterologist diagnoses and treats a variety of conditions related to the stomach and intestines, including:

  • Ulcers
  • Intestinal diseases
  • Colon cancer
  • Gallstones

When Should I See a GI Doctor?

There are several reasons why you may need to see a GI doctor. You may have symptoms that indicate an issue with your digestive system, or you may be experiencing an acute medical issue.

To determine when you should see a GI doctor, consider the following:

Symptoms of digestive disorders are not always obvious. If you have any of these symptoms and they don't improve after two weeks of treatment, it's time to see your doctor:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Bloating and/or abdominal pain
  • Feeling full after only small amounts of food

Diarrhea that doesn't stop even when you're resting (it's more than three times a day)

Frequent urination (more than three times per day)

General surgery is the branch of surgery that deals with diseases and injuries of the abdominal cavity, breast, blood vessels, bony structures, genitourinary system, gastrointestinal tract, head and neck.