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Symptoms and complaints related to the digestive tract are some of the most common reasons people take over-the-counter medications, prescription medication or seek the advice of a physician.

Gastroenterologists are medical specialists with extensive training in diseases of the digestive tract. They can answer your questions, perform tests in making a diagnosis and prescribe the best course of treatment to help you feel better.

Illnesses Treated by Gastroenterologists

In addition to rare disorders of the digestive system, gastroenterologists diagnose or treat the following common conditions:

  • Colorectal cancer, including determining whether you have a genetic risk
  • Liver disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Diverticulitis, diverticulosis and ischemic bowel disease
  • Heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Acute and chronic pancreatitis
  • Gallbladder disease
  • GI infections caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa

Tests Performed by a Gastroenterologist

Gastroenterologists use a number of techniques to view the organs of the digestive tract. The most common tests they perform are colonoscopy and upper-GI endoscopy.


Colonoscopy examines the large intestine for disease, most commonly to detect colorectal cancer. Everyone age 50 and older should be screened for colorectal cancer.


Endoscopy can be helpful in the evaluation or diagnosis of various problems, including:

  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Pain in the stomach or abdomen
  • Bleeding
  • Ulcers
  • Tumors
  • Problems with the gallbladder, pancreas and bile ducts

For More Information

Consult an EvergreenHealth-affiliated gastroenterologist.

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