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What does a GI specialist do?

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Quick Answer

A gastroenterology specialist, or gastroenterologist, deals with the management of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver, as explained by the American College of Gastroenterology. This type of physician is skilled in evaluating patients with gastrointestinal complaints, treats a wide range of conditions, and provides recommendations to prevent disease and maintain health.

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Full Answer

A gastroenterologist must complete a three-year Internal Medicine residency, as the American College of Gastroenterology details. The physician is then eligible for more specialized training in gastroenterology, which generally takes two to three years. This means that the specialist has to undergo five to six years of additional specialized education after medical school. The training is an intense and rigorous program in which gastroenterologists learn from recognized experts in the field.

Gastroenterology is the study of the normal functioning of the stomach as well as the diseases of the stomach, esophagus, small intestines, colon and rectum, as defined by the American College of Gastroenterology. It also involves the study of the liver, bile ducts, gallbladder and pancreas. A gastroenterologist understands the physiology of gastrointestinal organs, which includes the movement of materials through the stomach and intestines, nutrients’ digestion and absorption, removal of waste from the system, and the function of the liver as one of the digestive organs. Some of the diseases that this type of physician manages include colon polyps and cancer, gastroesophangeal reflux, hepatitis, peptic ulcer disease and colitis.

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