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A gastroenterologist has a particular interest in diseases of the digestive tract. To become proficient in the treatment and management of these conditions, a gastroenterologist must undergo training in both internal medicine and advanced training in problems of the digestive tract.

Training:

A gastroenterologist must first complete a 4-year college degree followed by 4 years of medical school at which time they receive a medical degree. The next step is a 3-year residency in internal medicine. At that time a physician may elect to continue on to a specialty in gastroenterology.

A gastroenterology fellowship is 2 to 3 years during which a physician learns to evaluate and manage digestive diseases. This training encompasses conditions that may be seen in an office or in a hospital setting and instruction in how to perform diagnostic endoscopy procedures, such as colonoscopy. In all, a gastroenterologist has undergone a minimum of 13 years of formal classroom education and practical training before becoming a certified gastroenterologist.

Expertise:

A gastroenterologist that is certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery must have proficiency in diagnosing and treating the following conditions:

Anorectal conditions

Hemorrhoids

Colonic neoplasms

Cancer

Polyps

Diverticulosis

Esophageal reflux

Gastritis

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Hepatitis

Hiatal Hernia

Inflammatory bowel disease

Ulcerative colitis

Crohn's disease

Irritable bowel syndrome

Ulcers

A gastroenterologist must also be proficient in treating and managing the following signs and symptoms:

Abdominal pain

Abnormal x-ray findings

Constipation

Diarrhea

Difficulty swallowing

Heartburn

Indigestion

Jaundice

Liver Disease

Malabsorption

Nausea

Post-operative colon tests

Rectal bleeding

Unexplained weight loss

Vomiting

And in performing the following tests:

Diagnostic testing

Colon screening exams

Esophageal and intestinal dilation

Hemostasis

Polypectomy