Things you need to know before visiting a gastroenterologist

Gastroenterology is the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the digestive system. The digestive system includes the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and includes body parts and organs such as the mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, rectum, and anus. Gastrointestinal health is important because the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is responsible for digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste from the body.


Gastroenterologists are most qualified to diagnose and treat disorders of the digestive system. They also play a role in preventive medicine by providing screenings for colon cancer and other diseases.


If you are thinking of seeing a gastroenterologist, here are a few things you need to know in advance of your first appointment.


Take Some Time to Prepare For Your Visit


If you are going to see a gastroenterologist for the first time, there are some things you can do to prepare. Writing down important medical information, such as your birthday, height, weight, medical diagnoses, past treatments and surgeries, any medications or supplements you are taking, allergies, and life events that impacted your health is very helpful. You should also bring with you a list of all your GI symptoms, as well as details on when they began and what causes them to worsen. Finally, gather any medical records or diagnostic test results that may be relevant and bring them to your appointment.


What to Expect During Your Appointment with a Gastroenterologist


During a gastroenterologist appointment, the doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical examination. A lot of the first appointment will involve collecting health information from you. They may also order tests to diagnose or rule out conditions. Gastroenterologists use a variety of laboratory tests and medical imaging techniques to diagnose and treat disorders of the digestive system. Commonly used tests include blood tests, stool tests, endoscopy, colonoscopy, X-ray imaging, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound. Some of these may be performed at the first appointment, while some may need to be performed at another time or testing facility.


Some Questions You Can Ask Your Gastroenterologist


During an appointment with a doctor, you may forget to ask some questions that can help you understand your GI issue and get the right treatment prescribed. Below are some questions you should write down and bring with you to ask your GI doctor:


  • What is the cause of my symptoms?
  • What are the potential treatments for my GI condition?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to improve my GI condition?
  • Are there any risks and side effects to each recommended/prescribed treatment option?
  • How long will it take for me to see results from treatment?
  • Will I need to take medication long-term, or can I expect a cure?

Experienced Gastroenterologists in Austin, TX


The gastroenterologists at Austin Gastroenterology can help you with any type of gastrointestinal issue you may have. We not only treat patients with gastrointestinal issues but also provide preventive care and educate our patients on how to improve their GI health and reduce their risk of disease.


We have 18 well-equipped GI clinics across the greater Austin area, and you can choose the location that is most convenient for you. Our staff is helpful and friendly and is more than happy to help you prepare for your visit. For any questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our GI doctors, call our GI clinic nearest you or use our convenient online appointment request form.

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