Yes, they deal with people’s poop on a daily basis and want to help you with diarrhea.
Gastroenterologists are physicians dedicated to treating and managing diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and liver. Basically, they're who you go to when you're experiencing major stomach, bowel, or intestinal issues. BuzzFeed Health reached out to some gastroenterologists to tell us more about this huge and intriguing area of expertise. Special thanks to the gastroenterologists who provided intel and anecdotes for this post: Dr. Sahil Khanna, gastroenterologist with Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Rebekah Gross, gastroenterologist with NYU Langone.
Yes, we want to know EXACTLY what your poop looks like — and the more details the better.
As gastroenterologists, we are interested in patients' bowel habits, what their stools look like (if there's blood in it, for example), if there's pain in their bellies or pain in their bowel movements, etc.
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Your emotions can play a huge part in why your stomach and bathroom routine are all messed up.
Stress, anxiety, and depression cause a lot of the symptoms patients come in to see us about. Sometimes your emotions lead you to eat differently, sometimes they mess with your sleeping schedule, and sometimes they create physiological changes in your body (higher blood pressure, for example) that can mess with your digestive system.
That's why GI and psychiatry overlap a lot, and most times we end up forming close, life-long relationships with our patients.
Gastroenterologists have a real opportunity to make a relationship with the patient. Digestive issues can be a sensitive subject and sometimes you really have to get a patient to warm up to you and trust you before they'll tell you what's really going on.