Gastroenterology is a branch of medicine dedicated to the diagnostics and treatment of the diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Physicians who deal with the diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are called gastroenterologists. The organs most often examined in this context include the oesophagus and stomach, liver, pancreas and bile duct, small intestine and large intestine. Gastroenterologists can help with problems and symptoms such as heartburn, stomach-ache, constipation or diarrhoea, and discomfort caused by flatulence. Also, gastroenterologist is the specialist to consult, if a deviation related the gastrointestinal system is detected from the blood sample.
To diagnose diseases related to the gastrointestinal tract, different laboratory analyses (e.g. from blood and tool sample), imaging methods (e.g. X-ray with contrast medium of the upper gastrointestinal tract), and endoscopic procedures are used.
Endoscopy in a wider sense means observation of the internal organs by means of a probe. Endoscopic examination of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum (the beginning of the small intestine) is called gastroscopy. During this procedure, a thin probe is inserted in the oesophagus and then slided into the stomach. Gastroscopy enables to diagnose reflux disease, gastritis and other diseases, and take biopsies (tissue samples).
Colonoscopy is the endoscopic examination of the large intestine and the end of the small intestine. When an inflammatory bowel disease or tumor is suspected, this procedure helps to confirm or negate the diagnosis. Colonoscopy is also necessary in case of a rectal hemorrhage and/or abdominal pain of unknown reason. Similarly to gastroscopy, colonoscopy enables to take biopsies and perform various treatment procedures, such as stopping intestinal bleeding, removing intestinal polyps, and expanding the lumen of the intestine.
Colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination of the lower gastrointestinal tract. During this procedure, a flexible tube with a camera (endoscope) is passed through the anus to the large intestine to visually examine the mucosa. If necessary, a tissue sample (biopsy) will be taken. Colonoscopy is the only sure way to diagnose intestinal diseases.
Colonoscopy under general anesthesia14 clinics
Patient tolerance for colonoscopy varies, therefore it can sometimes be performed under general anesthesia. If anesthesia is used, anesthesiologist will inject an anesthetic drug (that will put you to sleep) before and during the procedure into your blood vessel. In that case you will remain sleepy after colonoscopy for a while and must lie down for 30 to 60 minutes.
Gastroscopy is an endoscopic examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract. During this procedure, a thin, elastic tube with a camera (endoscope) is passed through the mouth to the esophagus, then to the stomach, and then to the duodenum. During the procedure, the physician assesses the condition of the internal organs and, if necessary, takes a tissue sample (biopsy). Gastroscopic examination is painless but may be unpleasant due to gag reflex (pharyngeal reflex).
Gastroscopy under general anaesthesia16 clinics
Usually gastroscopy is performed under general anesthesia only in children. The physician performing the procedure will determine the necessity of anesthesia. If anesthesia is used, anesthesiologist will inject an anesthetic drug (that will put you to sleep) before and during the procedure into your blood vessel. In that case you will remain sleepy after gastroscopy for a while and must lie down for 30 to 60 minutes.