RSS Follow me on: When you first start developing digestive problems, you might see your internist or a general practitioner. If you first experience pain, you might end up in the emergency department of your local hospital. Now, if your symptoms continue, or you are not getting a definitive diagnosis and effective treatment — do you need to see a gastroenterologist ? Internists and general practitioners tend to be a little like gatekeepers (although I’m sure that analogy doesn’t sit well with them). In many cases, they can treat a problem and everyone goes on about their lives. You have some diarrhea or some constipation, they offer some treatment suggestions, and then you see if the problem clears up. In most cases, it will. But there are some situations where it will not, and at that point your doctor may consider referring you to a gastroenterologist. A gastroenterologist is a digestive disease specialist. In the same way that it’s probably better to take your Ford to the Ford dealership than it is to take it to the Toyota dealership, a gastroenterologist might be the best choice when you’ve got persistent, or emergency, digestive problems. Now, nothing against your regular doc, but they aren’t trained in a specialty. You wouldn’t go to your gastroenterologist to fix a broken bone, but you will certainly need one if you have a change in bowel habits or some bleeding . If you’re on the fence, I have some rules of thumb that can help you determine if you should ask for a referral or if you should make an appointment with the gastroenterologist you’ve already been seeing. More about digestive disease specialists:
Do You Need A Gastroenterologist?