gastroenterologist perth

When to see a gastroenterologist, not just your GP?


Gastroenterologist Perth

When to see a gastroenterologist, not just your GP?

First published: 22 March 2024

Gastroenterologist Perth

When to see a gastroenterologist?

Exploring the role of a gastroenterologist

A gastroenterologist is a medical doctor with expert knowledge in everything related to your gut health. To become a gastroenterologist in Australia you must complete a medical degree, followed by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Basic Training which takes 3 years of study. After successfully completing the Basic Training you can apply for Advanced Training in Gastroenterology which also lasts 3 years.
“The advanced training focuses on diagnosing and managing complex gastrointestinal diseases. It also teaches how to perform advanced procedures and interpret a range of diagnostic tests.”
Dr Callum Pearce, Gastroenterologist Perth
If your GP's interventions are not providing the relief or answers you need, they may refer you to see a gastroenterologist.

What is the role of my GP?

The role of your GP is essential. They know your medical history, and they may have seen you several times for specific symptoms. Your GP is often well-placed to see the bigger picture of your health.

Your GP may refer you to see a gastroenterologist in or around Perth if they want to get clarity on your symptoms. For example, if you have had persistent stomach pain or heartburn and there is no clear explanation or diagnosis. Tests such as a gastroscopy or a colonoscopy are often crucial in diagnosing your condition and these tests are performed by a gastroenterologist.

Reasons to see a gastroenterologist

When to see a gastroenterologist for digestive issues?

Complex case analysis

Gastroenterologists are crucial when dealing with complex conditions.
“Take dysplasia in Barrett's Oesophagus, for example. Dysplasia means there are some unusual cells that might turn into cancer later on. This situation is crucial because it needs careful watching and expert care to catch any serious changes early.”
Dr Callum Pearce, Gastroenterologist Perth

Your gastroenterologist has the expertise to spot and understand small changes in your cells, especially when there's a risk they could lead to cancer. They provide targeted care, focusing on early detection and prevention strategies to manage your risk effectively.

Acting early and carefully is a big part of how gastroenterologists help you manage your health, making sure you get the care you need when you need it.

Managing chronic gastrointestinal diseases

Looking after long-term gut conditions like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis needs a specialist's care. These aren't just ongoing illnesses; they can change suddenly and unpredictably, flaring up or settling down without much warning. That's why having a gastroenterologist involved is crucial. They tailor the treatment to suit you personally, helping to manage the ups and downs of these conditions effectively.

Unresolved symptoms post-endoscopy

When you still have symptoms after an endoscopy, it's understandably worrying. This is when a gastroenterologist's deep knowledge really helps. Even though endoscopies give a good look inside, they can't always see everything, particularly in harder-to-reach spots like the small bowel. So, if problems persist, these specialists can dig deeper to find out what's going on, using their experience and additional tools.
“For something like small bowel Crohn's disease, a regular endoscopy might not show everything that's going on.”
Dr Callum Pearce, Gastroenterologist Perth
Gastroenterologists have advanced training that lets them make very detailed diagnoses and a tailored treatment approach. This means they can really get to the bottom of what's causing your ongoing symptoms and find the best way to take care of them.

GP for digestive issues

When to see a GP for digestive issues?

There are certainly times when it's more appropriate and efficient to follow up with your general practitioner after specific gastrointestinal treatments or procedures.
“Let's say you've just had polyps taken out during a colonoscopy. Your GP is well-placed to look after you following this. They'll give you advice on what to do after the procedure and keep an eye on how you're healing.”
Dr Callum Pearce, Gastroenterologist Perth

Your GP will watch out for any trouble signs that something might not be right, like new or worsening symptoms, and they'll make sure you're recovering as expected. It's all about making sure everything is going smoothly after your treatment.

For conditions like oesophagitis, which means your oesophagus is inflamed and irritated, your GP can be really important for keeping things under control. If you've got your symptoms managed and your treatment isn't changing much, your GP will still want to keep an eye on things regularly. They can make sure your medication is still doing its job, give you tips on what to eat or avoid eating, and suggest changes to your lifestyle to keep your symptoms in check.

Regular visits allow your GP to catch any changes early and tweak your treatment plan if needed, making sure you're getting ongoing, well-rounded care.

Choosing a gastroenterologist Perth


Knowing when to see your GP or when it's time to call a gastroenterologist can make all the difference to your gut health. Whether it's a standard check-up after a procedure or you need specialised care for something more serious, getting timely help is essential.

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