Gastroenterology is the branch of internal medicine that focuses on the structure, functions and diseases of the digestive tract.
The subspecialty requires practitioners to have a wide array of skills, both procedural and cognitive. For example, good hand-eye coordination is required to perform endoscopic procedures, which are used to help diagnose and treat many diseases of the digestive system. Gastroenterologists also need good interpersonal skills to work as consultants and in multidisciplinary teams to care for both acutely and chronically ill patients.
Aayurdhaa Hospital’s gastroenterology resources include the latest in endoscopic equipment and minimally invasive techniques. During endoscopic procedures, doctors insert tubes through the mouth, nose or rectum to examine and treat problems of the digestive tract, with minimized impact on surrounding tissues.
Each year, our staff members perform a significantly amount of minimally invasive endoscopic procedures. These include upper endoscopy (also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), colonoscopy, small bowel enteroscopy, and endoscopic ultrasonography.
Gastroenterologists work in many different practice environments. The type of practice environment— group practice, academic practice or solo practice— helps to determine the physician’s work-life balance. In most practice situations, gastroenterologists can expect to be busy when they are on call. The amount and type of call is dependent on the practice type. There are emergencies in gastroenterology, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, that must be responded to quickly including overnight.
Patients with diseases of the digestive system are seen by the gastroenterologist. This includes patients with symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, heartburn, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, jaundice, diarrhea and constipation. Common diseases that are treated by gastroenterologists include gastrointestinal bleeding, esophageal reflux, celiac disease, bile duct stones, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, hepatitis, obesity and nutrition disorders. Many patients with complicated liver disease are treated by a hepatologist—a gastroenterologist with specialized training in treating diseases of the liver.