There are many reasons you may seek out a consultative gastroenterology visit. Gastroenterologists specialize in all kinds of conditions that affect the digestive system and have extensive training when it comes to internal medicine. Our team at Bay Area Gastroenterology Associates in Trinity, FL, strives to create a welcoming and relaxing environment, but we know thinking about that first appointment can be stressful. Today we’re going over some of what you can expect from your first visit.
What Does a Gastroenterologist Do on the First Visit?
What To Expect During Your First Assessment
You may be referred for consultative gastroenterology if your health needs specialized assessment. Most of the time, that first appointment will take between 30 to 60 minutes.
To help us better understand your condition, we may ask you about your family health history, as well as your personal health history. We can go over the symptoms you’re dealing with and discuss your current or previous medications and treatments.
It’s a good idea to make a list of your necessary documents so you remember to bring everything along with you. That’ll help us make the most out of your visit. You’re also welcome to bring along any questions or concerns you have.
During these appointments, there can be a lot of information to take in. To reduce stress around trying to remember everything, you might want to bring a notebook and jot things down as we discuss.
Questions We May Ask You
As you may be starting to realize, the first appointment includes a lot of questions from us, as well as the opportunity for you to ask your questions. For us to have the best chance of helping you find the right treatment, it’s important to try to answer our questions as accurately as possible.
Some of these questions may include:
- What kind of symptoms are you dealing with?
- What seems to trigger your symptoms?
- When do you notice your symptoms most vividly?
- Where on your body do you feel these symptoms?
- How intense is the pain?
- How long do the symptoms persist?
- How often do you notice them?
- Does your pain ever move throughout the body?
- Does your personal history include gastrointestinal surgery or illness?
- Does your family struggle with digestive health issues?
A Physical Exam
Once all the questions are out of the way, we may move on to a physical exam. This exam usually includes checking your abdomen for any visual or palpable signs of trouble, like bulges around surgical scars or unexplained masses. We may listen for bowel sounds and note the pitch, duration, and intensity of these sounds.
After knowing what kind of symptoms you’re coming in for, we’ll be able to give you a more detailed idea of what you can expect during a physical exam. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask us to walk you through the process.
What Services Do We Offer?
Any issues affecting the stomach, small intestine, esophagus, colon, rectum, gallbladder, or pancreas can fall under the umbrella of gastroenterology. We also treat the gallbladder, liver, and bile ducts. We can help patients with food digestion, absorption, and elimination.
If your condition involves the stomach, liver, or the intestinal tract as a whole, we offer consultative gastroenterology to help find and address the root of the problem.
As we evaluate your gastrointestinal symptoms, a colonoscopy can be a helpful part of the diagnostic process. This exam helps us detect any abnormalities in your colon or rectum, and can also help us keep track of changes.
What To Expect
A colonoscopy involves a thin, flexible tube being inserted into the rectum. There’s a tiny camera at the tip of the colonoscope, which will let us visually assess the colon. Sometimes there are bits of abnormal tissue or polyps that can get removed during your colonoscopy. If we have any concerns, we may collect a tissue sample for testing.
An Upper GI Endoscopy
This process helps us diagnose or treat problems affecting your upper gastrointestinal tract, which includes your esophagus and stomach. It also includes the duodenum, that first section of your small intestine.
What To Expect
An endoscope will be used for this process. It’s a tube that we use to gently guide our camera down the throat so we can take a look at the condition of your upper GI tract. We’ll see these images on a monitor.
Tiny tools can actually fit into the endoscope, so if we need to remove lodged items like food or take a biopsy, we can do so. This process is especially helpful in diagnosing inflammation, tumors, or ulcers.
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography
An ERCP combines the use of an endoscope with X-ray technology and is used for the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and bile ducts. It can be a diagnostic or treatment tool.
If you’re suffering with diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramping that can accompany recurrent C. Diff Colitis, a fecal transplant may be a good treatment option for you. The donor sample can be delivered into the colon through a colonoscopy.
Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy
If a patient is having trouble swallowing, we can insert a PEG. This allows crucial nutrition to be delivered directly into the stomach. It can also be used for fluids and medication. This way the patient knows they’re getting everything they need to remain as healthy as possible, even when their ability to swallow is compromised.
We use the CRH O’Regan System as a hemorrhoid treatment. It is a quick, easy, and effective way to cut off a hemorrhoid’s blood supply. For patients who struggle from either anal fissures or hemorrhoids, this gentle treatment option can offer lasting, proven results.
What To Expect
A tiny band will be placed at the base of hemorrhoid. This location doesn’t have any pain-causing nerve endings, making it a comfortable process for the patient. The CRH O’Regan System doesn’t use clamping like other traditional treatments; instead, it uses gentle suction as it cuts off hemorrhoid’s blood supply.
In a few short days, the treated hemorrhoid should shrink and fall off. Many patients try to treat the symptoms of their hemorrhoids at home, but this treatment can provide true, lasting relief.
If we need to study the small bowel and colon, we may recommend capsule endoscopy. It’s an excellent non-invasive option since it involves the patient swallowing a capsule about the size of a vitamin pill. The little wireless camera in the capsule will be taking pictures as it journeys through the small intestine. The images are recorded for us so we can take a look at them.
When you have trouble emptying the large bowel, that can lead to constipation. Constipation is considered chronic when the patient has difficulty passing stools or suffers infrequent bowel movements for several weeks.
Usually less than three bowel movements a week is enough to suspect constipation. Occasional constipation isn’t always a cause for concern, but chronic constipation can interfere with a patient’s health, comfort levels, and ability to complete their daily tasks. Any time you’re concerned about a change in bowel movements, it’s a good idea to get checked up.
Why Treat Constipation?
Constipation can lead to a patient straining themselves as they’re trying to have a bowel movement. It can cause stools that are difficult or painful to pass, and can make a patient feel as though something’s stuck in their rectum.
The feeling of never being able to completely relieve themselves can be very distressing for patients. Our team can help relieve those symptoms so you can be more comfortable.
Various Treatment Plans
Flexibility is important when it comes to finding a treatment that works for a patient’s unique needs. This is especially true for patients with recurring issues, which is why we offer a range of treatment plans to find you the best solution possible.
Additional Treatments We Provide
Our experienced staff is able to offer a comprehensive range of services. In addition to what we’ve discussed above, we also offer the following:
- Esophageal dilation
- Therapy for GI bleeding
- A wide range of endoscopic treatments
- Acid reflux monitoring
- Esophageal manometry
- Colorectal cancer screening
- IBS treatments
- GERD treatments
- Hepatitis C evaluations
If you don’t see the treatment you’re looking for listed here, feel free to contact us and double-check! Likewise, if there’s something you’re interested in but you want a better understanding of it, our team would be happy to help you better understand our consultative gastroenterology treatments.
Reach Out for More Details
If you have more questions about how to get ready for your first appointment, our helpful team is ready to get you the answers. Contact us today at Bay Area Gastroenterology Associates in Trinity, FL, to get your first appointment scheduled.