What is Gastroenterology?

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, Gastroenterology is the study of the normal function and diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, and liver.

A gastroenterologist needs to have a detailed understanding of the normal physiology of all the above mentioned organs as well as motility through the intestines and gastrointestinal tract in order to maintain a healthy digestion, absorption of nutrients,  removal of waste and metabolic processes.

A gastroenterologist also needs to have a clear understanding of ailments affecting the organs of the gastrointestinal system like:

  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Gastric cancers
  • Esophageal cancers
  • Achalasia
  • Barret’s esophagus
  • Colon polyps
  • Colon and bowel cancers
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic cancers
  • Cholecystitis
  • Biliary tract disease
  • Gallbladder stones and cancer
  • Hepatitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Colitis
  • Nutritional problems and malabsorption,
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • A host of other disease conditions


A Gastroenterologist must first complete a three-year Internal Medicine residency. He or she is then eligible for additional specialized training (fellowship) in Gastroenterology for two to three years. This means a total of 5-6 years of additional specialized education after medical school.

The fellowship is a hands-on intense and rigorous programme that gives the opportunity to the trainee to learn directly from nationally recognized experts and work to get a detailed understanding of gastrointestinal diseases Beginning from assessment of patients to thinking about them in the workplace just as in the medical clinic is important for the preparation. Preparing includes learning endoscopy (upper endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy), endoscopic biliary assessment (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or ERCP), endoscopic mucosal resection or EMR, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and so on 

Alongside endoscopy they are likewise prepared in performing progressed endoscopic systems, for example, polypectomy, esophageal and intestinal expansion and hemostasis. They are instructed how to decipher imaging and pathology brings about request to make fitting suggestions to treat conditions. 

The cooperation is administered by public social orders like the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American College of Gastroenterology, the American Gastroenterological Association, and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. 

After fulfillment of the association the gastroenterologists are able to take the Gastroenterology board affirmation test directed by the American Board of Internal Medicine. When they have effectively finished this assessment they are “Board Certified.” 

Reestablishment of accreditation 

Gastroenterologists reestablish their board affirmation through the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) by means of the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. 

For this gastroenterologists need to timetable, take and pass the protected ABIM Gastroenterology Maintenance of Certification Examination just as acquire 100 focuses in Self-Evaluation of Medical Knowledge and Self-Evaluation of Practice Performance. 

In the last test they are expected to procure at least 20 purposes of clinical information and 20 purposes of training execution. The excess 60 focuses might be from either clinical information, practice execution or both. 

The ABIM Gastroenterology Maintenance of Certification Examination assesses the information and clinical judgment in significant regions of training. Test questions are created by a group of gastroenterologists practically speaking and in scholarly medication. The PC based assessment is offered two times every year – in spring and fall.

What procedures do gastroenterologists perform?

These specialists perform a range of nonsurgical procedures. This can include:

  • endoscopic ultrasounds to examine the upper and lower GI tract, as well as other internal organs
  • colonoscopies to detect colon cancer or colon polyps
  • endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography to identify gallstones, tumors, or scar tissue in the bile duct area
  • sigmoidoscopies to evaluate blood loss or pain in the bowel
  • liver biopsies to assess inflammation and fibrosis
  • capsule endoscopies to examine the small intestine
  • double balloon enteroscopies to examine the small intestine

When should you see a gastroenterologist?

Your primary care doctor may refer you to this specialist if you:

  • have unexplained blood in your stool
  • have unexplained difficulty swallowing
  • are experiencing abdominal pain

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