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.
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.
A gastroenterologist that is certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery must have proficiency in diagnosing and treating the following conditions:
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Inflammatory bowel disease
Irritable bowel syndrome
A gastroenterologist must also be proficient in treating and managing the following signs and symptoms:
Abnormal x-ray findings
Post-operative colon tests
Unexplained weight loss
And in performing the following tests:
Colon screening exams
Esophageal and intestinal dilation