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:

  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Crohn’s disease

  • Liver disease or cirrhosis

  • Celiac disease

  • Colitis

  • Certain types of cancers

The right healthcare team can help you stay as emotionally and physically healthy as possible. This team may include:

  • Primary care provider. Family healthcare providers, internists, and pediatricians are all examples of primary care providers. They can help you manage your overall health and specific diseases in terms of your overall health.

  • Gastroenterologist. These healthcare providers specialize in digestive problems. These are problems that affect your digestive system. That 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 healthcare providers specialize in liver diseases. They may work closely with gastroenterologists to manage digestive issues that affect your liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

  • Oncologist. Medical oncologists are doctors that specialize in diagnosing and treating cancer with medicines, such as chemotherapy. Surgical oncologists treat cancer with procedures or surgery.

  • 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. 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 nutritionist (RDN). 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 are healthcare providers that specialize in reviewing imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT, MRI, PET, and ultrasound scans. These tests can help to diagnose diseases and show damage to any part of your digestive tract. Healthcare providers may order these tests to diagnose and determine 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 develop a treatment plan to help you manage 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.

Online Medical Reviewer: Jen Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2023
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