What Is a Gastroenterologist?
A gastroenterologist is a specialty doctor who treats conditions of the digestive system. Gastroenterologists possess a minimum of 15 years of medical education, residency, internship, and fellowship experience. Gastroenterologists are trained to understand the movement of food through the digestive tract, which is the passage way of food spanning from the mouth to the anus. The digestive tract’s order includes the mouth, esophagus (food pipe), stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. Gastroenterologists understand the movement and breakdown of food through the digestive tract, prevent disease through health promotion, diagnosis digestive system disorders, and treat present digestive disease.
When Should I See a Gastroenterologist?
You should see a NYC gastroenterologist for preventive care and symptomatic treatment. First, the most important preventative care treatment is a colonoscopy—which is a colon cancer screen exam. A colonoscopy is a recommended treatment beginning at age 50 for all Americans, regardless of whether cancer signs and symptoms are present. A colonoscopy is a disease preventative screen examination performed under the care of a gastroenterologist. A colonoscopy is recommended at age 45 (suggested for African-Americans) and 50 for the general population, then every 10 years thereafter until age 75-80 depending upon the patient’s general medical condition. However, you should talk with your doctor to determine the best schedule for you, as family history and ethnicity are two risk factors for developing colon cancer.
A colonoscopy is a safe way to visualize the colon and rectum and effectively screen for cancer. A colonoscope, which is a flexible tube mounted with a fiber optic camera, is extended through the entire length of the colon through the rectum. During this procedure, gastroenterologists assesses the appearance of the colon, take biopsies, removes polyps, and diagnoses colon diseases.
Second, if you discover new and unpleasant symptoms, you should see a NYC gastroenterologist. Gastroenterologists not only perform preventative screening, but also treat current abnormal symptoms. A primary care provider will refer you to a gastroenterologist if you show signs (something the doctor sees) or symptoms (something you feel) that are abnormal. Some signs and symptoms include abdominal pain or bloating, bowel leakage or underwear stains, diarrhea, dark urine, or esophageal pain. Heartburn, lethargy, and loss of appetite are also reasons to see a gastroenterologist, especially if they accompany any of the other signs and symptoms.
Gastroenterologists treat a variety of digestive system problems. One of the first signs of a digestive problem is chronic (ongoing and persistent) pain in the stomach area. You might also experience bloating, more gas than usual, and diarrhea.
Here are five common digestive system conditions that warrant a trip to your NYC gastroenterologist:
- Heartburn. Heartburn is a common condition that occurs when acidic contents in the stomach travels back into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation in the throat or chest. If you have heartburn more than twice a week, schedule an appointment with your gastroenterologist; you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).When acid from the stomach causes irritation of the esophagus lining, GERD develops. If left untreated, GERD can lead to breathing problems.
- Gallstone. A sharp pain and recurring pain, lasting hours, on the right upper side of your abdomen or right shoulder could indicate a gallstone. A gallstone can range from the size of a grain of salt to the width of a quarter dollar. If you have an imbalance in the substances that produce bile, which is a fluid made in the liver that helps in the absorption of dietary fats, a gallstone could result. Pregnancy, advancing age, family history of the condition and a personal past history of gallstones increase your risk of developing a blockage of the ducts leading from the gallbladder. A gastroenterologist’s treatment for a gallstone could range from a medication prescription to referring for gallbladder removal.
- Lactose intolerance. If you experience an unpleasant feeling after eating milk products like milk, cheese, or yogurt, you may be lactose intolerant. Normally, the small intestine makes an enzyme (lactase) to break down milk sugar (lactose) and allow its absorption. In a lactose intolerant person, an insufficient amount of lactase is produced, leading to undigested dairy products. Your symptoms would include bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea, and a general upset stomach. A gastroenterologist can assess your condition and prescribe proper diet changes.
- Celiac disease. Unexplained symptoms of gas, bloating, diarrhea, weight loss and unexplained nutrient deficiencies may be symptoms of Celiac disease. This is a genetic immune system condition that damages your small intestine whenever a gluten-containing food product derived from wheat, is consumed. A gastroenterologist can evaluate for the condition and provide recommendations to promote intestinal healing.
- Inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) consists of two main subcategory diseases: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. If you experience intermittent stomach pain, bleeding from the rectum, diarrhea, fatigue, joint pain, skin rash, weight loss, and/or fever, a gastroenterologist can effectively and quickly assess for IBD. This condition can appear when the body’s immune system is mistakenly triggered by intestinal bacterial proteins as and attacks small and large intestine tissue. Your gastroenterologist can provide treatment including medication, and surgery.
What Do Gastroenterologists Treat?
A gastroenterologist can diagnose, treat, and prevent conditions related to your bile ducts, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, esophagus, small intestine, colon, small intestine, and colon.
Gastroenterologists diagnose and treat a variety of patient conditions. These include the following:
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Biliary Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
Diagnosis and Treatment
- Celiac Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach
- Barrett’s esophagus
- Hepatitis A, B & C
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- Liver cirrhosis
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Lactose Intolerance
- Gluten Sensitivity
A gastroenterologist can perform the following tests:
- Colonoscopy (colon screening exam)
- Esophageal and intestinal dilation for narrowing or strictures
- Hemostasis/stopping bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract
Why Choose Dr. Murray Orbuch as Your Gastroenterologist
Dr. Murray Orbuch is board certified in Gastroenterology and Hepatology and has been in a gastroenterology private practice for over 20 years. His educational credentials include a medical degree from State University of New York–Downstate College of Medicine, an internship and residency at the New York University Medical Center, and a fellowship in gastroenterology at Georgetown University Medical Center and The National Institutes of Health.
For the past 20 years, Dr. Orbuch has remained on the cutting edge of the latest evidence-based medical practice and specialty care by serving as Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Instructor in Medicine at The New York University School of Medicine. Furthermore, Dr. Orbuch has written 16 scholarly pieces, served as Co-Director of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Colon Cancer Screening Program, and was voted by his peers as one of New York City-Metro’s Super Doctors from 2010 to 2018. Dr. Orbuch was also selected to be in the highly-respected Castle-Connolly Directory of Best Doctors in America for 2015-2018.
Dr. Orbuch is a member of the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
As a private practitioner, Dr. Orbuch is committed to providing his patients compassionate, individualized cared in an unhurried setting.