Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

Gastroenterology is study of the normal function and diseases of the esophagus, colon, rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver. The science of gastroenterology involves a detailed understanding of the normal actions of the gastrointestinal organs, including movement of material through organs, digestion, waste removal and organ function.

In Our Own Words

Gastroenterology is the study of the normal function and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and organs. Doctors who are trained in gastroenterology are gastroenterologists.

They diagnose and treat diseases of the digestive system, which includes the liver, stomach, intestines, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts.

The field includes training to understand conditions such as colon polyps, cancer, liver problems, gastroesophageal reflux, peptic ulcers, colitis, gallbladder problems, pancreatitis and irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterologists are trained in the use of endoscopes, which are narrow, flexible lighted tubes with built-in video cameras in order to perform procedures, such as colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy.

Relevant Conditions
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Acid reflux
  • Celiac disease
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  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Gastroenterology" 2013. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Gastrointestinal disorders” 2013. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • American College of Gastroenterology. "What is a Gastroenterologist?" 2013. Accessed Aug. 2013.
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