Understanding Gastroenterology: Here Are The Basics

By: JohnBarnes

Patients who are diagnosed by a gastroenterology doctor with functional gastrointestinal disorders or FGIDs usually have a GI tract that looks normal. However, despite looking like it should be working properly, the GI tract is actually problematic. What makes it harder for a patient who has FGIDs is how much harder it is to get a proper diagnosis because there are no obvious signs when the images of the gastrointestinal tract are examined.

Here are the different symptoms that may indicate you are potentially suffering from FGID:

Nausea and vomiting with no cause or obvious reason

Excessive belching that results in pain

Constant bloating and constipation

Frequent bouts of diarrhea

Rumination syndrome or the ability to effortlessly regurgitate food that has been recently swallowed

There are other symptoms that may indicate that you have functional GI disorders, which makes it highly important to visit a gastroenterologist if you feel like you have any issues with your GI tract, even if the results of imaging tests say that you have a normal GI tract.

How FGIDs Is Diagnosed

When you are convinced that you do have FGID, bring this up with the gastroenterology expert during the consultation. Be as detailed as possible when presenting the different symptoms you have so they can accurately diagnose the specific type of gastrointestinal disease you may have. After describing your symptoms your GI doctor will do the some of the following test to confirm their suspicions:

A full physical examination

Required urine and blood test

A stool sample will be required and examined

Colonoscopy to see inside the colon

Upper endoscopy to check the stomach, small intestine, and esophagus

Typical imaging testing of the abdominal region such as an ultrasound or an x-ray

A breath test to detect any signs of bacterial overgrowth or malabsorption

Motility tests on the different parts of the GI tract

A person with FGID will go through more tests and examinations than usual because it will be harder to detect and diagnose, but it is all worth it to finally find the best treatment for your GI problems.

Types Of FGID Treatment

Once the testing and examination of your GI tract are complete, your doctor will be able to create a personalized treatment plan that will help either treat your functional GI disorder or give you some type of comfort from the painful symptoms. The options for treatment will vary depending on your diagnosis and your doctor, but here are some examples they might present to you:

Nutrition Counseling – Patients are referred to a licensed and capable professional dietician and together they will create a diet plan that contains food that will not irritate the GI tract and prevent the symptoms from coming back. Following the diet is a must because the symptoms will never go away if they are constantly triggered.

Prescription Of Medication – There are some cases where the FGID can be treated with medication, such as antacid and other medication that ease stomach spasms or regulate the motility of the GI tract. These are all personalized to fit your needs and address your symptoms.

FGID is a real and problem that deserves to be diagnosed and treated properly. If you have been struggling with this disorder, do not delay and seek proper treatment today.
The Rome Foundation champions the education of people about gastroenterology in the hope of further understanding functions and dysfunctions that will lead to diagnosis and treatment of FGIDs.