A gastrologist is a physician who studies and treats disorders related to the gastric tract. More simply put, a gastrologist is a stomach doctor. Gastrologists work in both the office and the hospital to treat a number of stomach diseases. Skill sets like multi-tasking, personality traits like resilience, and a commitment to receiving the necessary education are essential.
A large part of a gastrologists’s role in treating stomach diseases is exploratory. A typical appointment might include activities like gathering medical background and symptomatic information. Gastrologists also schedule and perform gastrological tests like endoscopies. Once a probable cause for the patient’s problem has been uncovered, a wide range of treatments can begin. A gastrologist may prescribe medications, recommend surgical procedures, or advise about diet and other lifestyle changes.
While gastrology is focused on stomach ailments, this profession may also branch into gastroenterology, which covers the intestinal tract as well as the esophagus. Some gastroenterologists also expand their practice to include disorders relating to the liver. Conditions that gastrologists may treat include acid reflux, ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Gastrology holds a long history in medical studies. Stomach-related ailments were an area of interest for medical practitioners dating back to ancient Egypt. Not until the 18th century, however, were significant advances made in the scientific understanding of gastric illnesses. This era witnessed important advancement concerning gastric liquids, cancers, and one of the earliest gastric killers: dysentery. The following centuries were even more crucial for gastrologists, as new methods for detection were invented, new conditions were discovered and outlined, and the field itself gained widespread recognition in the medical community.
Pursuit of a career in gastrology requires a strong educational commitment and work ethic. In addition to the traditional bachelor's degree in pre-medical studies, a prospective gastrologist must also successfully complete medical school followed by a hospital internship. In many regions, this basic medical preparation is followed by a roughly three-year residency in internal medicine and a gastrology fellowship of equivalent length.
Success as a gastrologist will be more likely with certain personality traits and skill sets. A gastrologist should be able to multi-task, as the profession often requires work in the office, the laboratory, and in the hospital itself. Individuals should also have a resilience and ability to handle stress, as any employment in the medical field can be challenging and emotionally straining. An affinity for science — particularly biology and anatomy — is also useful. Perhaps most importantly, a gastrologist should have an innate sense of compassion and sociability in dealing with colleagues and patients alike.