What can a Gastroenterologist do for me?
Gastroenterologists diagnose and treat diseases in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and liver. These are generally digestive issues. This practice involves a detailed understanding of the normal functions of the digestive organs including the movement of material through the stomach and intestine, removal of waste from the system, and the function of the liver as a digestive organ.
1.394M Ages 45-64 females with IBD – CDC; MMWR
What can I do to maintain my GI health?
Colon cancer is the number 3 cancer for women in the United States, behind breast cancer and cervical cancer. These statistics are concerning, yet we rarely see or hear this publicized.
The reality is that women seem to pass food through the stomach at a slower rate than men. This is an important factor in explaining why women tend to experience nausea and bloating more frequently than our male counterparts. Asking the right questions can keep you informed as to when these issues are normal or a cause for concern.
Our digestive systems are central to our bodily functions and require the same care as other organs to maintain our health.
What should I ask my doctor?
- What are my risks of colon and other gastrointestinal cancers?
- What is a colonoscopy / endoscopy? Will I need one?
- How much are tests and how can I be sure my insurance covers the cost?
- What will I be tested for with a blood screening vs. a colonoscopy/endoscopy?
- Can allergies be playing a part in my digestive issues?
Are there any guidelines? Can I avoid the problem?
Colon Cancer Screening:
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that people at average risk of colorectal (colon) cancer start regular screening at age 45. This can be done either with a sensitive test that looks for signs of cancer in a persons stool:
- Highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year starting at age 45
- Highly sensitive guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year starting at age 45
- Multi-targeted stool DNA test (mt-sDNA) every 3 years starting at age 45
- Another form of screening is a colonoscopy exam that looks at the colon and rectum.
Supporting Sources: gi.org, cancer.org