Healthcare Providers in Digestive Health
To help you manage your digestive health, you may need more than one healthcare provider. A healthcare team that specializes in different areas can help you manage long-term (chronic) digestive problems. These problems can include:
The right healthcare team can help you stay as emotionally and physically healthy as possible. This team can include:
Primary care provider. Family doctors, internists, and pediatricians are all examples of primary care providers. They can help you manage your overall health and specific diseases in the context of your overall health.
Gastroenterologist. These doctors specialize in digestive problems. These are problems that affect your digestive system, which includes your esophagus, stomach, intestines, pancreas, gallbladder, and liver. The digestive system helps you break down the food you eat. It also helps absorb or deliver nutrients to cells all over your body.
Hepatologist. These doctors specialize in liver diseases. They may work closely with gastroenterologists to manage digestive issues that affect your liver.
Nurse practitioner. These healthcare providers work closely with people to help diagnose, treat, and manage their health conditions. They can also help people adapt to digestive problems, answer questions, and prescribe medicines. They often work with gastroenterologists. And they may specialize in digestive problems with a special focus on disease prevention and health maintenance.
Physician assistant (PA). These healthcare providers do many of the same things as doctors, but under doctor supervision. Some PAs oversee the treatment and management of digestive problems. They also prescribe medicines and answer questions. They can help you deal with any problems you might have.
Registered dietitian. These are experts in food and nutrition. They can recommend and manage an eating plan for your digestive problem. This can help you control your symptoms and make sure that you get enough key nutrients. The eating plan can also help you improve your overall health and maintain a healthy weight.
Radiologist. Radiologists review imaging tests, such as X-ray, CT scan, and MRI scans. These tests can help to diagnose diseases. They are also used to show damage to any part of your digestive tract. Doctors may order these tests to figure out if your treatment has been effective.
A therapist or mental health professional. If you have a digestive disease, you may need help managing your emotions. You may become stressed, anxious, or even depressed. These experts can help you relieve the stress that comes from your illness.
Remember, you are in charge of your own health. You can look to a variety of healthcare providers to help you manage your condition and keep your digestive health in good shape.