What is Gastroenterology?
Gastroenterologist manage diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver.
We study the normal function and diseases of the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver.
This specialty involves a detailed understanding of the normal action of the gastrointestinal organs including the movement of material through the stomach and intestine, the digestion and absorption of nutrients into the body, removal of waste from the system, and the function of the liver as a digestive organ.
Gastroenterology includes the diagnosis and management of:
Colon polyps and cancer
Gastroesophageal reflux (heartburn)
Peptic ulcer disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Gallbladder and biliary tract disease
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program encourages men and woman aged over 50 to screen for bowel cancer using a free, simple test at home.
Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world and 1 in 23 Australians will develop bowel cancer during their lifetime.
This program aims to continue to reduce deaths from bowel cancer through early detection of the disease.
The screening test result shows whether blood was found in your samples.
If blood is detected, your result is positive. About 1 in 13 people will have a positive result. This may be due to conditions other than cancer, such as polyps, haemorrhoids or inflammation of the bowel but the cause of bleeding needs to be investigated.
To find out more go to the National Bowel Cancer Screen Program web site
Preparing for a Colonoscopy
Things to know
A colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination of the large bowel (colon) and the distal part of the small bowel with a camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus.
In order for the proceduralist to get the best possible view and perform the colonoscopy properly, your large bowel needs to be free of all solid matter. You will need a preparation kit to facilitate this, which contains full instructions. It involves a special diet for a day or two, consisting of no solid food, lots of clear fluids and laxatives the day before the procedure.
You should be able to take most of your regular medications on the day of the colonscopy. However iron tablets, aspirin and some other drugs may need be stopped prior to the procedure. Check with your doctor.
If you have diabetes, heart valve disease, a pacemaker implanted or are taking blood thinning tablets such as warfarin it is important to discuss this with your doctor before having the colonoscopy.
Avoid eating food for six hours before the procedure however clear fluids such as water can be consumed up until two hours prior. Your medications can be taken with a sip of water.
Find out more here
Bowel polyps are small growths on the lining of the bowel wall. They are common, especially as we age. While most bowel polyps do not become cancerous, approximately 5% do. Most polyps can be safely and completely removed during a colonoscopy. Find out more
Coeliac disease affects approximately 1 in 100 Australians. In coeliac disease the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten. Find out more
Diverticular disease is very common. The main cause is not eating enough fibre. Diverticulosis is the formation of abnormal pouches in the bowel wall and Diverticulitis is the inflammation or infection of these pouches. Find out more
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) covers a group of disorders in which the intestines become inflamed (red and swollen). The major types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms include pain, diarrhoea and tiredness. Find out more
Colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination of the large bowel (colon) and the distal part of the small bowel and is usually done in a day facility or hospital. Find out more
Gastroscopy (upper endoscopy) is a procedure that uses a flexible endoscope to see inside the upper digestive tract - including the oesophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine. Find out more