Gastroenterology is an area of medicine devoted to the study of the normal function and diseases of the digestive system, or the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This branch focuses on the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder and pancreas, among others. At Vanguard Medical Group, Dr. Heit provides gastroenterology services out of our Denville, New Jersey office. Request an appointment today to consult with a gastroenterologist.
What Is a Gastroenterologist?
The GI system comprises a number of organs, from the mouth to the anus. In general, the GI system has three main jobs:
- To move food through the stomach and intestine
- To digest and absorb nutrients
- To remove waste from the body
When the GI tract doesn’t perform these jobs as expected, a gastroenterologist can help get to the root of your symptoms. A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of GI diseases. In most cases, gastroenterologists can treat any part of the GI system, including the:
- Small intestine
- Large intestine
Functional vs. Structural GI Disorders
GI disorders comprise everything from heartburn to hepatitis C. There are two primary types of GI disorders, the first of which is called a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGD). FGDs are disorders that cannot be explained by the presence of a structural or tissue abnormality. In other words, the GI tract looks normal but doesn’t function like it should. Two common examples of functional FGDs are constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
In structural gastrointestinal disorders, symptoms present with abnormalities in the structure or tissue of the GI tract. Structural GI disorders include hemorrhoids, anal fissures, colon polyps, colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
Common GI Symptoms
The symptoms of a GI disorder are as diverse as the number of organs that make up the system. Still, there are many common symptoms that may necessitate the need to pay your gastroenterologist a visit. Some general GI symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain, bloating and/or swelling
- GI bleeding
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
While having GI symptoms on occasion is normal, experiencing one or more of the above symptoms on a regular basis may indicate a more serious condition. If you’re worried about your digestive health, discuss your concerns with your primary care physician. He or she can refer you to a gastroenterologist if the need arises.
Gastroenterology Services at Vanguard Medical Group
Vanguard Medical Group offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment options for both functional and structural GI disorders. From digestive health consultations to performing colonoscopy screenings to creating a management plan, our gastroenterologists are dedicated to providing the best care possible. Common conditions we help treat include:
- Abdominal pain
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Lactose intolerance
- Acid reflux
- And more…
Schedule an Appointment
Whether you have a referral or would like to discuss your digestive health with a gastroenterologist, Vanguard Medical Group can help you get the care you need. Call our Denville office directly at 973-627-7570 to learn more about our gastroenterology and hepatology services. Or, if you’re an existing patient, simply request an appointment via our online portal. The Denville office is located at 16 Pocono Rd, Suite 310.