Digestion has become a problem for most people. Having a gastrointestinal problem is common, even though most people don’t prefer to address it. Numerous conditions can lead to difficulties during digestion. Persistent discomfort in the abdomen is a flag that something is wrong. Other nagging signs are gas, blood in stools, bloating, diarrhea, heartburn, prolonged inflammation in the digestive tract, etc. These are the reasons to go consult a gastroenterologist. Gastroenterology deals with the digestive system and its dysfunctions. The digestive tract or gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) is an organ system that begins from the mouth and continues up to the anus.
GI tract comprises of several organs such as digestive canal, throat or esophagus, liver, duodenum, bile ducts, pancreas, gallbladder, small intestine, and large intestine, colon, rectum. Gastroenterology is the study of every organ’s functionality in the digestive system while concentrating on multiple conditions that may strike them. The study aids an absolute understanding of the digestion method, consumption of nutrient, and excreta.
It also addresses the complications that may harm these organs including polyps, ulcers, cancer, and gastroesophageal reflux. Physicians practicing in this domain are addressed as gastroenterologists.
GI tract can be seen as a long tube running through the body. It is an organ system in the body that allows the intake of food, ingest it to extract, consumes nutrients, and dislodges the residual waste as excreta.
Some of the abnormalities in the GI tract are:
Cancer (e.g., liver cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer)
Diverticular disorder and other conditions of the colon (e.g., colitis, polyps, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome [IBS])
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Heartburn
Inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., gastritis)
Liver illness (e.g., hepatitis, jaundice)
Malabsorption ailments (e.g., celiac disease, lactose intolerance)
Gastroenterology incorporates several diagnostic and remedial procedures including endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), advanced endoscopy and liver biopsy, inflammatory bowel disease, colonoscopy, transplant hepatology, sigmoidoscopy, motility.
Endoscopy: Endoscopy is the study of the analysis of the upper and lower section of the GI tract.
Endoscopic ultrasound: EU is the same as endoscopy. EU is done to explore the upper and lower GI tract, along with other internal organs.
ERCP: ERCP is performed to recognize tumors, scar tissue in the bile duct region, and gallstones.
Advanced endoscopy: Advanced or Capsule endoscopy (CE) is performed to check the small intestine using a capsule camera.
Liver biopsy: Liver biopsy is carried out to estimate fibrosis and inflammation.
Colonoscopy: Colonoscopy is done to discover colon cancer or polyps.
Hepatology: Hepatology deals with the study of the liver, biliary tree, and pancreas.
Sigmoidoscopy: Sigmoidoscopy is done to assess blood loss or discomfort in the bowel.
Proctology: Proctology incorporates the areas of anus and rectum complications.
Heartburn is pain or flaming in the chest or esophagus. It is the pipe that connects the mouth to the abdomen. Heartburn happens when stomach acid backs up into the throat. Many people experience heartburn once in a while. It usually happens after meals or at night time. Symptoms that happen more than double a week could be a warning of a more pressing problem: gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also called acid reflux.
GERD transpires when acid from the belly burns the wall of the esophagus. GERD is more usual amidst people who are overweight or do smoking. Pregnant women also are prone to get the disease. Medication is available to operate GERD. Critical cases may require surgery. Untreated GERD can induce more severe problems, including recurrent inflammation in the esophagus and breathing difficulties.
Seldom, the immune system of our body confuses food and different substances in the GI tract for threatening germs. It fights against muscular and healthy tissue by delusion. This results in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD encompasses various dysfunctions that trigger persistent inflammation in the gut. Due to this, the small and large intestines grow irritated and swell, provoking severe stomachache, diarrhea, and bleeding in the rectum, besides, symptoms that appear irrelevant, such as lethargy, joint agony, and fever.
The most general IBDs are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis attacks the large intestine.
Crohn’s disease strikes wherever along the GI tract.
Endoscopy, blood tests, X-rays, stool specimens, and CT scans assist physicians to diagnose IBD. That entails inspecting the lining of the intestines using a scope with a functional camera.
Treatment may involve medicine, lifestyle alterations, measures to avoid stress, and surgery.
Colon cancer customarily forms of unnatural growths, polyps, tumors on the rectum or colon. Detecting polyp growths at the beginning allows doctors to help remove them before they hold a chance to grow cancerous. Immediate discovery and diagnosis of colon cancer are helpful.
Blood spots in stool, excrete waste or vomit is a manifestation of dysfunction in the digestive tract. It can be life-threatening depending upon the level of bleeding. The bleeding level can vary from moderate to critical. Advanced imaging technology, if necessitated, can usually determine the origin of the bleeding. Remedy depends on the root of the bleeding.
An endoscopy in plain terms means looking inside. It is practiced to examine inside the body. The endoscopy process utilizes an endoscope to inspect the depths of an organ of the body. Unlike several other medical imaging methods, endoscopes are interpolated straight into the organ.
There are various kinds of endoscopes. Depending on the section in the body and nature of the procedure, an endoscopy may be done by a surgeon or a doctor. Most often the endoscopy is used to indicate to an inspection of the upper part of the GI tract, known as an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).
Endoscopy may be practiced to examine symptoms in the digestive tract including queasiness, vomiting, abdominal distress, trouble swallowing, and gastrointestinal bleeding. It is further utilized in diagnosis, generally by conducting a biopsy to probe for conditions such as bleeding, anemia, irritation, and tumors of the digestive tract. The process may also be used for stretching a narrow esophagus, cutting off a polyp, eliminating a foreign article.
Wireless capsule endoscopy (WCE) is a non-invasive diagnostic endoscopy to envision irregularities in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is also helpful in small bowel examination. This technology has eliminated the patients distress which was a problem in conventional endoscopy. The personal swallows a plastic capsule of cylindrical shape which carries a digital video camera, signal transmitter, LED light source, and battery. The capsule progresses into the GI tract by peristaltic contractions, takes the images. The captured images are broadcasted in real-time to an external console that is worn by the person. The images are copied and saved in the console memory and then are uploaded to a computer machine for visual examination or automated analysis shortly after the monitoring has been finished. Currently available capsules take two frames per second on average, which create thousands of pictures (approximately up to 50,000) and more than 8 hours of video per case. This significant amount of data demands a substantial amount of time to examine these images or video for anomalies by pharmaceutical experts in category Gastroenterology.