Gastroenterology Tests
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Common Tests A Gastroenterologist Recommends And Why?

A gastroenterologist is a doctor who is specialized in gastroenterology tests and procedures and treating various organs of the gastrointestinal tract such as the esophagus, stomach, intestine, and colon. A gastroenterologist also specializes in managing the conditions of other digestive organs such as the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. To diagnose the condition and to provide optimum treatment, various gastroenterology tests and gastroenterology blood tests are recommended.

Various Tests Recommended By A Gastroenterologist And Why?

Following are some of the common tests advised by a gastroenterologist and reason behind the tests;

Barium Swallow Test

Procedure

The patient is asked to remain on the low-fiber diet a few days before the test. The patient is advised not to eat or drink anything from the night before the surgery. A thick paste of barium and water is given to the patient to drink and the X-ray of the upper digestive tract is taken.

Reason

The barium swallow test allows the gastroenterologist to see the anatomical characteristic of the gastrointestinal system and to measure the speed of food transit from the tract.

Endoscopic Ultrasound

Procedure

A small device known as an endoscope is inserted in the mouth. This will allow the doctor to examine the stomach, small intestine, and esophagus. The doctor may also inspect the health of bile ducts, pancreas, and liver. Simultaneous ultrasound is also done along with endoscopy examination.

Reason

The doctor recommends the endoscopic ultrasound to view the anatomical characteristics of various organs in the gastrointestinal tract. This test also allows the doctor to examine the gastrointestinal tract for any possible blockage.

pH Monitor

Procedure

This test is done to monitor the pH of the gastrointestinal tract. The doctor inserts a catheter-like device into the gastric system and the device can remain in the tract for 24-hours. The sensor at the end of the device collects information about pH levels.

Reason

pH monitoring helps the gastroenterologist to determine the level of acid in the system. It is usually done in cases of pH imbalance such as Gastroesophageal reflux disease and is also a gastroenterology test for abdominal pain.

Gastric/Esophageal Manometry

Procedure

A tube is placed into the esophagus or the stomach through the nasal route. The tube collects information about the muscle movements and transmits the information to the external receiver. A graph is then plotted from this information.

Reason

Esophageal manometry is done when the patient experiences pain and difficulty swallowing and heartburn. Gastric manometry is recommended in dumping syndrome or gastroparesis.

Colonoscopy

Procedure

Colonoscopy is usually done after administering sedative drugs or intravenous pain medications to ease discomfort. A tube with a camera is inserted through the rectum. The tube is long enough to cover the whole of the colon. The camera transmits the images to the external monitor.

Reason

The doctor recommends colonoscopy to determine the reason for abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic diarrhea and is a gastroenterology test for constipation. It is done to diagnose colon cancer and polyp analysis.

Sigmoidoscopy

Procedure

The procedure of sigmoidoscopy is similar to colonoscopy. While colonoscopy covers the whole of the colon, sigmoidoscopy is limited to the analysis of rectum and sigmoid colon.

Reason

Sigmoidoscopy is performed to determine the reason for bleeding, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. The procedure is also recommended to diagnose ulcers, tumors and abnormal growth in the rectum and sigmoid colon.

Colorectal Transit Study

Procedure

The colon transit study normally takes 4-7 days to complete. The patient is advised to take a capsule containing radiopaque markers. The capsule is taken for 3 days and an X-ray is done on the fourth day.

Reason

Colon transit study is done to examine colon functioning. The test evaluates how well the food is moving through the colon.

Liver Function Tests

Procedure

Liver function test is done by taking the blood sample. The blood sample is then analyzed to determine the level of various substances such as Alanine transaminase, Aspartate transaminase (AST), Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), albumin and total protein, Bilirubin, Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) and L-lactate dehydrogenase.

Reason

Liver function tests are one of the gastroenterology lab tests. Liver function tests are both diagnostic and monitoring tests. It provides information about the presence and extent of liver damage. It also helps to identify the effectiveness of the treatment.

Pancreas Scan

Procedure

During the procedure, the radioactive material is injected into the body through a vein. The scanning is done through a scanner that detects the gamma rays emitted by the radioactive substance. The pancreas is examined through different angles so the patient position may be adjusted.

Reason

A Pancreas scan is done to determine any abnormality in the pancreas. It is usually performed to diagnose cancer, the progression of a cancerous tumor and the efficacy of therapy on pancreatic cancer.

Conclusion

Various gastroenterology tests are recommended to diagnose gastrointestinal disorders. A gastroenterologist is an expert in advising and performing various gastroenterology tests and procedures.

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