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What is Gastroenterology?

In the US, gastrointestinal disorders are common. General practitioners will often refer patients with symptoms to gastroenterologists. But what is gastroenterology? And what are the benefits of going to a gastroenterologist for help?

Gastroenterology Definition

Gastroenterology is the study of the function and diseases of tissues that comprise the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These include the rectum, colon, small intestines, stomach, esophagus, bile ducts, gallbladder and liver. 

Gastroenterologists – physicians who specialize in gastroenterology – may have several focuses. Some, for instance, may have expertise in the study and treatment of the liver (hepatology). These doctors check the health of the liver itself, plus related tissues, such as the biliary tree, pancreas and gallbladder. Other gastroenterologists may specialize in cancers that affect the digestive tract, such as bowel cancer or stomach cancer. 

Gastrointestinal Heath Tucson

Application of Gastroenterology

Gastroenterologists help patients in a range of areas. For instance, they may study absorption of nutrients into the body, the functioning of secretory organs, or the movement of food through the intestines. Frequently, they look for signs of disease, including polyps, cancers, gastrointestinal disease, peptic ulcer, colitis, gallbladder tract diseases, pancreatitis and irritable bowel. Gastroenterologists can help identify the source of blood in stools –  a common GI complaint. They examine patients for signs of anal fissue (a tear in the skin around the anus which can bleed), hemorrhoids (which can lead to bloody stools), and colon cancer. In some cases, they may also identify polyps – or growths – that have perforated and are leading to blood in the stool. 

Gastroenterologists carry out a range of diagnostic techniques to determine whether a patient has a disease. These include: 

  • Endoscopic ultrasounds that involve passing an ultrasound-emitting device through the gastrointestinal tract to look for problems
  • Sigmoidoscopies which check stools for blood
  • Liver biopsies which comprise removing a small amount of tissue from the liver to check for signs of disease, such as inflammation or fibrosis
  • Capsule endoscopies and double balloon enteroscopy for examining the small intestines
  • Colonoscopies for examining the large intestines, usually for polyps


Simply fill out the form on this page to request an appointment and one of our knowledgable team members will reach out to you. Or call our Sierra Vista oncology center to schedule directly at (520) 803-6644.

Benefits of Seeking a Gastroenterologist’s Help

When you have gastrointestinal symptoms, seeking a gastroenterologist can give you peace of mind. At Cochise Oncology, our doctors can assist you in identifying any underlying condition and can advise on a program of treatment. Going to the gastroenterologist can help you:

  • Identify cancer in the early stages
  • Reduce or eliminate gastrointestinal reflux
  • Identify celiac disease, gallbladder disease and irritable bowel syndrome
  • Diagnose and treat hemorrhoids, ulcers and polyps
  • Identify pancreatitis 

Am I a Candidate for Gastrointestinal Diagnosis?

You may be a candidate for gastrointestinal diagnosis if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the abdomen or bloating
  • Esophageal pain and difficulty swallowing
  • Frequent heartburn
  • You are over the age of 50 and require colorectal cancer screening
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abnormal bowel movements (such as passing three bowel movements per week or less or runny stool that lasts for more than a few days)


*Individual Results May Vary


At Cochise Oncology, we know optimal cancer treatment places the patient first – and our patients experience this every day. Read what our satisfied patients are saying about their experiences at Cochise Oncology.

Take the Next Step

Are you ready to learn more about gastroenterology? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page. We look forward to meeting you!

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