Oftentimes our bodies suffer from discomforts around our digestive system. If the queasiness in your tummy is not appeased by your offerings of food and is accompanied by other symptoms that make you uneasy, then you may need to see a gastroenterologist in Singapore to check your condition.
Gastroenterologists, or GI doctors, are specialists trained to diagnose, manage, and treat diverse disorders and diseases that affect the body, specifically:
- The GI Tract – esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, rectum and anus
- Other internal organs – bile ducts, gallbladder, liver, and pancreas
What are the health conditions that gastroenterologists manage and treat?
A gastroenterologist is an expert in treating a broad array of conditions and diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract. These include:
- Cancer — GI doctors help in the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancers like:
- Anal cancer — A rare type of cancer that is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is an infection that can be acquired through sexual contact.
- Bile duct cancer — A type of cancer that develops with a still unknown cause. People who are over the age of 65 and those with primary sclerosis cholangitis (PSC), a chronic and rare liver disease have an increased risk of developing this type of cancer.
- Colorectal cancer — A type of cancer that develops in the colon or large intestine. There are numerous factors that influence the growth of this disease, including age, race, gender, genes, obesity, and a diet that is high in fat, but low in fiber.
- Esophageal cancer — A type of cancer that develops in the lining of the esophagus. Commonly caused by tobacco and alcohol use.
- Gallbladder cancer — A type of cancer that grows in the gallbladder often caused by gallstones that impedes the bile duct’s flow through the bile ducts resulting in pain and inflammation.
- Liver cancer — A type of cancer that develops in the liver due to infections behind other liver diseases like fatty liver disease, hepatitis B or C, and genetic disorders.
- Pancreatic cancer — A type of cancer that develops in the pancreatic gland which is responsible for food digestion and regulating the body’s level of blood sugar. The cause of this disease is also unknown, but health experts believe that genetic mutations that happen after birth contribute greatly to the development of this cancer.
- Small intestine cancer — A type of cancer that begins with the healthy cells in the small intestine. These cells undergo specific gene changes, which then progresses into cancer. There is no clear reason as to why these genes are changing or what causes them to change.
- Celiac disease — This disease happens when the body ingests gluten and the immune system has adverse reactions, which cause damage to the small intestine.
- Cholelithiasis — Commonly known as gallbladder stones, this disease occurs when the bile blends with the solid matter in the gallbladder and becomes harder resulting in gallbladder stones.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD — Chronic acid reflux and constant heartburn are the usual symptoms of this disease, which is linked to the dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). It is believed that when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close properly after swallowing, it permits the digestive juices and other substances in the stomach to enter the esophagus, causing GERD.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — This condition is identified by chronic inflammation in the intestines caused by other diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
What symptoms should alarm you to consult with a gastroenterologist in Singapore?
Consultation with a gastroenterologist in Singapore should be done when these alarming symptoms are present in your body:
- Bleeding in the rectum
- Blood in the stool
- Challenges with swallowing
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Constant and painful acid reflux
- Discomfort or pain in the gut
- Extreme flatulence
- Stools that are washed out
However, these are not the only reasons that should encourage you to get an appointment with a gastroenterologist. You should also consider the following instances:
- You are 50 years of age or older
- You have a member of the family that has been diagnosed with diseases that can be hereditary, such as colorectal cancer
The risks of developing certain diseases that affect the GI tract increase when we get older. Particularly for colorectal cancer, people who have this in their family lineage should consult with a GI doctor at a younger age, so their digestive system can get monitored for early signs of cancer. The rate of surviving colorectal cancer becomes high when it is discovered during its initial stages.
What do you need to prepare for your appointment with a gastroenterologist in Singapore?
The initial consultation with a GI doctor usually covers:
- A general check-up
- Learning about your health history, including conditions and diseases that within the family
- Knowing your symptoms, how often they happen, and any procedure or medication you have done to relieve them
- Prescribing diagnostic tests, procedures, or other screenings that may be needed for your diagnosis or treatment
- Recommending lifestyle changes that could help ease the signs and symptoms you have
What are the qualities to look for in a gastroenterologist?
Your health and condition’s treatment depend heavily on the expertise of the gastroenterologist that you choose. It is important that you just don’t pick and GI doctor based on convenience or recommendations without doing proper research. Here are some qualities that you should look for when choosing a gastroenterologist in Singapore:
1 Exceptional credentials
The educational background, professional experience, skills and training of a doctor specializing in gastroenterology should be among the top criteria when choosing your doctor. These qualifications serve as proof that the GI doctor has the right and necessary knowledge, skills, and training required to manage conditions and diseases relating to the digestive system. Another important quality to note is the doctor’s clean record when it comes to practicing medicine. Be sure that the doctor has no malpractice report or case filed against them.
2 Well-informed about the latest updates in their field of specialization
The developments in the medical field develop quickly even just for a short period of time. Your chosen doctor should be knowledgeable about the latest updates in gastroenterology. Outdated methods and medical theories should no longer be used, otherwise you will not be able to receive the best care that the most recent developments can give.
3 Good communicator
Communication can be a hindrance to getting a successful treatment. It is important that your doctor is able to speak with you clearly, compassionately, professionally, and respectfully despite any circumstance. Take note of how your doctor communicates using their voice, tone, and body language. If this causes you to be uncomfortable at any point, you may want to consider finding another doctor.
Gastrohealth Clinic – Dr Bhavesh Doshi | Gastroenterologist | Colonoscopy Singapore
6A Napier Rd, #03-370 Gleneagles Hospital Annexe Block, Singapore 258500
+65 6355 5773