When you have an upset stomach from an acute illness, you might see your regular doctor for care. However, what should you do if you have stomach pain that occurs frequently or lasts for long periods of time? When you might have an underlying condition that affects your gastrointestinal system, your doctor will recommend seeing a gastroenterologist. Learn more about when to see this type of specialist and what kinds of conditions they treat.
Common Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Gastrointestinal problems can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as any of the following:
- Stomach pain or discomfort that ranges from mild to severe
- Diarrhea or loose stool
- Gas and bloating
When acute illnesses, such as a stomach virus, cause stomach pain or other symptoms, they usually subside in a short amount of time. When you have an underlying gastrointestinal problem, you’re more likely to have stomach pain and other symptoms that occur on a regular basis. These symptoms might flare up due to certain triggers, such as food or stress, or they might occur on a more constant basis.
Conditions That Gastroenterologists Treat
Gastroenterologists treat a number of conditions that affect the gastrointestinal system or digestive tract, including:
- Inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Celiac disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn
- Gallbladder disease
When you see a gastroenterologist, you can undergo diagnostic testing to determine the cause of your symptoms. The kind of treatment you end up needing will depend on your diagnosis and the severity of your condition. Keep in mind that you might need to see a gastroenterologist on a regular basis if you have a chronic condition that affects your gastrointestinal system.
Benefits of Visiting a Gastroenterologist
Your regular doctor can provide you with care for minor, temporary stomach pain. However, you’ll need to see a gastroenterologist for an effective treatment plan if you have chronic or severe stomach pain. Gastroenterologists can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and the right treatments to ease your symptoms and manage your condition. In some cases, this involves making changes to your lifestyle, while in other cases, medications and other medical treatments might work better. Your gastroenterologist can also work closely with you to manage a chronic gastrointestinal problem in order to ease flare-ups and prevent complications.
If you need to see a gastroenterologist for stomach pain, please contact Anthony S. Borcich, MD to schedule an appointment. Dr. Borcich can provide you with diagnostic testing to find the cause of your stomach pain and discuss treatment options with you.