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Gastroenterology is a medical specialty that deals with diseases related to the digestive system. It encompasses the study of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum, as well as liver diseases, gallbladder, biliary tract diseases, pancreatic diseases, and abdominal wall diseases. Gastroenterologists are specialists who have received advanced training in these areas.

To become a gastroenterologist, one must undergo extensive education, typically taking 13 years after completing medical school. After the initial 6-year medical school education, individuals must pass a specialization exam and then undergo at least 4 years of internal medicine residency to become internal medicine specialists. Subsequently, they need to pass a subspecialty exam and complete an additional 3 years of training in gastroenterology to become gastroenterologists. During this second specialization, they receive training in advanced interventional procedures such as upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy, Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), Endoscopic Ultrasonography (EUS), Capsule Endoscopy, pH Monitoring, and Impedance.

Conditions and symptoms that may prompt a visit to a gastroenterologist include:

  • Reflux
  • Painful swallowing, difficulty swallowing
  • Unexplained chest pain
  • Bloating
  • Dyspepsia (indigestion)
  • Persistent hiccups
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Diarrhea
  • Diseases of the biliary and pancreatic systems
  • Gastrointestinal tumors
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal mass
  • Rectal bleeding, black stools
  • Polyps
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis)
  • Celiac disease
  • Food intolerance
  • Diverticula
  • Jaundice
  • Hepatitis (Hepatitis A, B, C, D)

Gastroenterological diagnostic and treatment methods include:

  • Gastroscopy (Upper endoscopy)
  • Colonoscopy
  • Capsule Endoscopy
  • Endoscopic Ultrasonography (EUS)
  • pH Monitoring
  • Esophageal Manometry
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

These procedures allow for the evaluation and diagnosis of various gastrointestinal conditions and enable appropriate medical or surgical interventions.

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