What Is Gastroenterology?
In today’s world, gastrointestinal diseases are diagnosed in 95% of the population. They are caused by hectic life and poor nutrition affecting a large number of people. People who consult a physician about problems with the esophagus, stomach, or intestines need to visit a gastroenterologist. This is a specialist who deals with gastrointestinal diseases, their diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
A gastroenterologist specializes in esophageal, stomach, and intestinal diseases and disorders of the pancreas, liver, and bile ducts. However, this specialist practices non-surgical treatment. This means that if the patient needs surgery for gastrointestinal diseases, the gastroenterologist will refer them to a surgeon. On examination, a gastroenterologist often detects serious diseases that require urgent surgery. This specialist engages surgeons, oncologists, and other specialized doctors in the treatment of such disorders.
If you have any complaints indicating gastrointestinal conditions, you should consult either a physician or a gastroenterologist. Symptoms and signs of gastrointestinal diseases:
- appetite problems: increased appetite, decreased appetite, or loss of appetite;
- sudden weight gain or loss;
- perverted appetite: a desire to eat inedible things (chalk, paint, etc.);
- difficulty swallowing food and liquids;
- abdominal pains related and not related to eating;
- nausea and vomiting;
- meteorism (flatulence);
- bowel problems (diarrhea or constipation, stool changes, blood or other abnormal components in the stool).
Most of the above symptoms may indicate both gastrointestinal problems and diseases of other organs and systems. For example, weight loss can occur in parasitic infections, and vomiting is a sign of poisoning or gastrointestinal infections. Difficulty swallowing and problems with food movement through the digestive tract can indicate nervous disorders. Therefore, a person will not be able to understand the causes of their condition and find a remedy without the help of competent specialists.
The Most Common Diseases
A gastroenterologist treats disorders of the organs that make up the gastrointestinal tract: the stomach, intestines, liver and bile ducts, pancreas, and others. The most common diseases diagnosed by a gastroenterologist are:
- gastric and duodenal ulcer;
- gastrointestinal tumors;
Conditions can be either infectious or non-infectious. Most of them are associated with the modern lifestyle. Risk factors are:
- poor nutrition and eating on the run;
- unhealthy habits (smoking and alcohol have a negative impact on the gastric and esophageal mucosa and destroy the liver and pancreatic cells);
- chronic stress or an acute stress reaction (when you experience stress, cortisol and adrenaline increase significantly, and these hormones make gastric ulcers likelier);
- Helicobacter pylori infection: it is a germ that can cause gastritis and gastric ulcers.
Gastroenterologists work closely with physicians, pediatricians, surgeons, and endocrinologists. Such collaboration makes it possible to achieve fast and lasting treatment results.
Gastrointestinal Diseases Treatment Methods
Some gastrointestinal diseases require surgery, either routine or emergency. Israeli, German, Austrian, and Turkish clinics possess operating rooms outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment. High-tech equipment enables surgeons to perform complex minimally invasive operations.
As a rule, surgery is used in severe patients who cannot be cured by other treatments. A surgeon’s examination is necessary for:
- esophageal diseases: herniation, tumors, cysts, complications of gastroesophageal reflux disease and portal hypertension;
- stomach and duodenal diseases: ulcer and cancer;
- pancreatic diseases: chronic inflammation, tumors, and benign cysts;
- disorders of the small and large intestines: diverticula, polyps, ulcerative colitis, and cancer;
- liver and gallbladder diseases: gallstones, tumors, hepatic cirrhosis, etc.
Modern foreign clinics have in-patient departments with everything necessary for a comfortable stay. Skillful paramedical personnel provide top-level care and perform all procedures prescribed by the doctor without undue delay.
Non-surgical treatment methods in gastroenterology are the first way of helping patients since a gastroenterologist is a physician’s specialty. Non-surgical treatment is aimed at eliminating the disease causes and symptoms and restoring the gastrointestinal tract functions. Foreign specialists provide a personalized treatment program: there are no universal schemes for all patients.
If possible, doctors try to avoid surgical treatment. If a person consults the doctor on time and follows all the recommendations, most often, they do not have to resort to surgical measures. The most popular methods of non-surgical treatment in gastroenterology are:
- This method can give immediate results in managing digestive problems even without drug therapy. In foreign clinics, nutritionists take part in selecting the diet and always consider the disease severity and other individual characteristics of the patient. Therapeutic fasting is useful in some cases: it unloads the digestive tract.
- Drug therapy. It helps relieve the disease symptoms, significantly improving the patient’s state. Doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, antisecretory drugs, prokinetics, antibiotics, antacids, enzymes, probiotics, and many others.
- Drug-free therapy. This includes herbal therapy, physiotherapy, and extracorporeal blood purification therapy.
Foreign medical centers possess advanced techniques of rehabilitation used after non-surgical and surgical treatment. They also have proprietary methodologies that have proven to be effective by experience. Rehabilitation hospitals abroad have hundreds of grateful patients who have successfully recovered from serious illnesses.
Rehabilitation physicians, nutritionists, gastroenterologists, and other specialists are necessary for a full recovery work with the patient during the rehabilitation period. A healthy and balanced diet is one of the most important elements of rehabilitation.
To consolidate the treatment results, a patient should avoid stressful situations, exercise, control their weight, and visit a specialist when their health worsens. It is equally essential to get enough sleep and give up unhealthy habits: this helps not only to avoid exacerbations of gastrointestinal disorders but also to improve general health.