Branch of medicine dealing with the study of gastrointestinal diseases, which include all diseases of the digestive tract, liver, biliary tract and pancreas.
As a science, gastroenterology took shape only in the first half of the XIX century, but it is – one of the fastest growing areas of medicine.
Achievement of Swiss medicine in this direction is not only caused by the leading scientific developments, but also by the natural environment. Healthy air, pure mountain water, wonderful climate and soothing decor – additionnaly to medical factors.
Gastroenterological diseases have become extremely widespread nowadays, because of bad hygien, stress, environment etc.
Very often, a disease can become chronic because of self-medication, which only exacerbates the disease, bringing only a temporary releaf.
Another very important factor is the genetic predisposition to develop a gastrointestinal diseases.
When it is necessary to refer to a gastroenterologist?
- Stomach pain, heartburn, nausea, belching, vomiting, hiccups, bitter taste in the mouth
- Disorder stool (diarrhea, constipation)
- Vague chest pain
- Blood in the stools
- Abdominal pain
- Tumor, colon polyps identified in close relatives
- Anemia and accompanying complaints (weakness, drowsiness, pallor).
It should be kept in mind that the disease of one organ of the digestive system, etc. could trigger the spread of the pathological process in the other. Often there is a combination of gastritis and pancreatitis, cholecystitis and pancreatitis and others.
A gastroenterology check-up is regularly necessary after 45 years. From this age, risks of cancer of the gastrointestinal tract increase.
Check-ups can be of various kinds, from simple to different types of ultrasound fiberscope: gastroscopy, colonoscopy or video endoscopy, designed to examine the inside of the digestive tract and detection of possible anomalies.
In the investigation of diseases of the digestive tract, endoscopy has become predominant due to the video-endoscope transmiting an image of the internal organs of optimum quality.
The most common tests are gastroscopy and colonoscopy. Endoscopy can be carried out in some cases, under general anesthesia in the operating room, but are more often performed under a light sedative in the endoscopy room of the gastroenterologist, which meets the most strict hygiene standards.
- Gastroscopy is assigned to diagnose diseases of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, such as reflux esophagitis, hernia, gastritis, peptic ulcer and cancer.
- Colonoscopy is appointed specially for the examination of polyps and malignant tumors of the colon, as well as for chronic inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Endoscopy allows biopsy tissue to be analyzed in pathological laboratories, as well as the removal of polyps (polypectomy) by electrocoagulation.
There are also other methods of diagnosis in gastroenterology, which are used less frequently: liver biopsy, retrograde cholangiography and enteroscopy. All these analyzes are more precise, which is important for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases.