According to the American Nutrition Association, over 74 percent of people every day suffer from some form of digestive upset or problem. These problems include heartburn, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, stomach pain, and diarrhea. If you suffer from any of these problems on a consistent basis, visiting a Gastroenterologist might be a solution for you.
What is a Gastroenterologist?
A Gastroenterologist or GI doctor is a medical professional who has extensive training in problems involving the stomach, small and large intestines, esophagus, liver, bladder, pancreas, and bile ducts. It is a scary thought that you have to go to a specialist for treatment, but in most cases, this specialist can help alleviate your symptoms faster and get you relief quickly.
How do You Get an Appointment with a Gastroenterologist?
If your symptoms are new, your family care doctor may run several tests to see if your problem can be solved by traditional means. Your doctor will do a physical exam first to see if they can pinpoint what is causing your discomfort. This will progress onto lab work or radiology tests, and the results will determine if your primary care doctor can help you or he may refer you to a specialist, like a doctor for gastro.
Routine Screenings & Chronic Conditions
Your primary care doctor may refer you to this specialist for routine screenings like a colonoscopy if your family history shows a record of colon cancer. If you have been diagnosed with a condition like celiac disease, IBS, pancreatitis, or Crohn’s disease, a Gastroenterologist may take over your care. They can help with flare-ups or ongoing issues and can collaborate with your primary care doctor to get the best treatment possible.
Symptoms of those disorders? Check the videos below:
When you go to a specialist, it can get very expensive, very fast. You should call your insurance company and ask if you need a referral to see a Gastroenterologist, as most will require them. If you skip this step, your insurance company many deny coverage for the visit or treatments. If you find out you don’t need a referral, double check that the specialist you’re going to be seeing is covered by your insurance plan. You can find all of this information by calling the customer service number on the back of your insurance card.
If your specialist is far away you have to plan how you’ll get to them for routine appointments, flare-ups, and updates. You will need to see this specialist for the most up-to-date digestive health information and treatment options. If you have a good relationship with your primary care doctor, they might be able to collaborate with the specialist and do some of the treatments or follow-ups in their offices to cut down on your travel time.
If you are diagnosed with a chronic digestive condition, working with a Gastroenterologist could be more work, but it will be worth it to get you back to your routine and improve your quality of life.