A gastroenterologist is a doctor who is trained to help people with their digestive health. Gastroenterology focuses on preventing, diagnosing and treating digestive conditions that affect the appendix, esophagus, stomach, intestine, gall bladder, colon, rectum, bile ducts, pancreas and liver.
The digestive system handles food and nutrients from mouth to anus and is largely made up of a 25-foot-long tube which includes the throat, esophagus, stomach, intestines, rectum and anus. When these are working the way they should, along with the liver, pancreas and gallbladder, they break down and absorb the food we eat so nutrients can move into the bloodstream and be carried to cells throughout the body. When these organs are not working properly, people may need to see a gastroenterologist.
In addition to rare disorders of the digestive system, gastroenterologists diagnose or treat the following common conditions:
If you have any of these conditions, your primary care provider may refer you to a gastroenterologist.
Tests performed by our GI doctors:
Gastroenterologists use a number of techniques to view the organs of the digestive tract. The most common tests they perform are colonoscopy and upper-GI endoscopy.
Digestion is how the body breaks down food and drink into smaller parts to build and feed cells and give the body energy.
Learn more about how the digestive system works.
Each year, millions of Americans are diagnosed with digestive illnesses, ranging from an occasional upset stomach to the more life-threatening colorectal cancer, as well as illnesses affecting the gastrointestinal tract, liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
Most digestive diseases are very complex, with subtle symptoms, and the causes of many remain unknown. They may be inherited or develop from things like stress, fatigue, diet, or smoking. Drinking too much alcohol creates the greatest risk for digestive diseases.
To find out the cause of a digestive problem, a detailed and accurate medical history and physical exam are needed. Some people may also need more testing, including imaging, lab tests, and endoscopic procedures.
Colon cancer affects more than 140,000 Americans each year, yet is easily treatable when found early through screening. Learn more about when you should get screened for colon cancer.
Other types of cancer that affect the digestive organs include esophageal cancer, bile duct cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer.
Valley's Endoscopy program is recognized by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy's Quality Endoscopy Unit Recognition Program (ASGE EURP). The only national program of its kind, the ASGE EURP honors endoscopy units that show a commitment to patient safety and quality as reflected in their unit policies, credentialing, staff training and competency assessment, and quality improvement activities.
Learn more about how colorectal cancer screening saves lives
from Valley colorectal surgeon, Dr. Bernier.
Click here to learn how colorectal cancer screening
is important for preventive health.