What is a gastroenterological examination?

A gastroenterological examination is a medical examination focused on the study and treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. In addition to patients with previously diagnosed pathologies, a patient can visit a gastroenterologist to determine the nature of different symptoms including pain and abdominal cramps, burning sensation in the stomach, presence of diarrhea with mucus or blood loss, and constipation.


What is the purpose of a gastroenterological examination?

The goal of the visit is to identify or rule out the presence of diseases affecting the organs that make up the gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus, stomach, intestine, colon, rectum, pancreas, and liver and determine, if possible a suitable course of treatment. These visits are also used for patients with previously diagnosed diseases in order to monitor their development.


What happens during the gastroenterological examination?

In the first part of the visit the doctor will collect information involving the medical history and lifestyle of the patient, such as nutrition, smoking, alcohol consumption, the level of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle, presence of previously known diseases, other cases in the family of gastroenterological diseases, and any medication the patient might be taking. The specialist will then examine any medical records already held by the patient.
In the second part of the visit the doctor will proceed with feeling and listening to the abdomen in order to assess the health of individual organs. In some cases the doctor will subject the patient to specialized tests such as blood tests, urine tests, x-rays, ultrasound, CT scan, and endoscopy (colonoscopy, gastroscopy, proctoscopy). These types of visits usually last between 40 and 60 minutes.


Are there any guidelines for preparation?

There are no standards of preparation. The patient is asked to bring all previous medical records held about the gastroenterological problem, if any exist.