Q. I’m having digestive problems. When should I call the doctor?
A. If you have any of the following digestive symptoms, you should call the doctor:
- Persistent heartburn that is not relieved by medication
- The feeling of food caught in the throat or chest
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Any discomfort that interferes with your daily activities
- Difficult or painful swallowing
- Vomiting caused by heartburn
- Vomiting of blood
- Black or bloody stools
- Sudden and dramatic weight loss
- Persistent sore throat or hoarseness
- Choking episodes
- Persistent diarrhea
- Persistent constipation
Q. What are some warning signs of colon problems?
A. Warning signs may include abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation or diarrhea.
Q. What is a gastroenterologist?
A. A gastroenterologist is a physician who specializes in the function and treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal system. A gastroenterologist completes extensive training in internal medicine and problems of the digestive tract, which include the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. He/She learns all aspects of these organs and is trained to diagnose, treat and manage a wide variety of diseases, including cirrhosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, GERD, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and pancreatitis.
Q. Do I need a referral to see a specialist in your practice?
A. Depending on your insurance provider and insurance contract, you may need a referral to see a specialist. Some contracts require primary care physician referrals or prior authorization, so make sure these are obtained before your scheduled appointment. Please contact your insurance carrier for more information.
Q. How can I best prepare for my first office visit?
A. Please arrive early for your first visit in order to give yourself time to fill out the necessary paperwork. We also recommend arriving early if you have not been seen in over a year so we may update our records. It is important to bring all of your current medications with you (in a bag) or a list of those medications. Also, please make a list, with dates if possible, of all previous illnesses, operations, hospitalizations and medical allergies. Note any illnesses that run in your family. Also, please don’t forget to bring your driver’s license and insurance cards with you.
Q. What procedures does your practice perform?
A. We offer many procedures, some performed at our office and others in the hospital: endoscopic ultrasound, ERCP, flexible sigmoidoscopy, upper endoscopy, wireless capsule endoscopy, hemorrhoid banding, colonoscopies and others.
Q. Will I still need to see my family doctor?
A. Yes. Following consultation, testing and possible treatment, you will be referred back to your family doctor for follow-up care unless you need the continued treatment by the gastroenterologist. If you are under continued treatment by our office, your family doctor will still advise and/or treat you for all other medical problems. Your family doctor and gastroenterologist will often consult each other about your problems and care.