Gastroenterology is a branch of medicine that deals with how the digestive system functions and the various issues that could affect it. Gastroenterologists can diagnose and treat conditions affecting the oesophagus, stomach, liver, bile ducts, pancreas, gallbladder, colon, intestines and rectum. A gastroenterologist is not usually a surgeon. Some of the common conditions they can treat include heartburn, stomach ulcers, pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, irritable bowel syndrome and nutritional issues.
People over the age of 50 years should visit a gastroenterologist once in 5 years to undergo a colonoscopy. For people under the age of 50 years, a visit to a gastroenterologist may be necessary only if you are facing digestive issues such as chronic heartburn, diarrhoea, chronic constipation, pain in the abdomen, abdominal bloating, unexplained changes in weight, change in appetite and rectal bleeding. You may also consult a gastroenterologist if you need to be screened for cancer of the digestive system such as stomach cancer, intestinal cancer and colorectal cancer.
Hepatology is a subspecialty of gastroenterology that deals with how the liver functions and the conditions that might affect it.
Gastroenterologists charge between Rs 500 and Rs 1500 for a consultation.
Endoscopy - Rs 2500- Rs 6000
Colonoscopy - Rs 6000- Rs 18000
Biliary Stone Removal - Rs 75000 – Rs 3,40,000
Capsule Endoscopy - Rs 45,000- Rs 75,000
This is a procedure wherein a flexible tube is inserted into the mouth that goes through the oesophagus to allow the doctor to look into the digestive organs.
This is a diagnostic procedure. It involves inserting a flexible tube through the rectum into the colon and intestines to allow the doctor to search for abnormal growths, ulcers and signs of inflammation. Polyps may also be removed during this procedure.
Stones in the gallbladder or the bile duct may be removed through a minimally invasive procedure or endoscopically. In the case of large stones, the stone may need to be broken down and taken out in pieces.
A polypectomy is a procedure that can help prevent colon cancer. It involves the removal of polyps from the colon and large intestine during a colonoscopy.
Haemorrhoids may be treated with medication and topical ointments. If that does not work, a gastroenterologist may suggest a minimally invasive surgery to treat the condition.