Chai With

Chai with... Dr. Ruchi Patel

28 Aug 20

This is Dr. Ruchi Patel. I have completed Internal Medicine and Transplant Hepatology training and currently pursuing my fellowship training in Gastroenterology at Mountain Vista Medical Center with Dr. Reddy. I am here to talk a little bit about my field Gastroenterology and my role in treating conditions related to this field.
The branch of medical science that deals with the treatment for disorders of the digestive or the gastrointestinal tract is called medical gastroenterology. Doctors trained in this field are called Gastroenterologists. A gastroenterologist prevents, diagnosis and provides treatment for conditions affecting the digestive tract, which includes mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, small and large intestines, gallbladder, rectum and anus.
Some of the common conditions that a gastroenterologist deals with are GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease/heartburn), hepatitis, liver failure, jaundice, intestinal polyps, hemorrhoids, pancreatitis, and stomach or colon cancer.
Some gastric problems can only be treated effectively by a gastroenterologist. So consult a gastroenterologist if you experience blood in stools, frequent urge to empty your bowel, diarrhea, dark urine, pale stools, heartburn, vomiting, loss of appetite or stomach pain. 
The common signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders are abdominal bloating, diarrhea, acid reflux, belching, weight gain or loss, blood in stools, pale-colored stools, dark urine, swallowing problems, vomiting, and constipation. Some tests that a gastroenterologist may need to perform to diagnose are: stool test, endoscopy, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, liver biopsies.
During the first visit, the gastroenterologist will ask you a lot of questions about your symptoms, a history of similar problems in your family, and he or she will also conduct a complete physical examination. If needed, the doctor will write down a few tests that you would have to take, or he will diagnose your condition, prescribe medicines and tell you the complete treatment plan. Procedures that a Gastroenterologist perform such as upper endoscopy is a camera test that is a diagnostic or a therapeutic procedure used to diagnose or treat disorders of the organs in the upper digestive tract like esophagus, stomach and the first portion of the small intestine. Colonoscopy is a similar camera test that is inserted up the rectum to visualize colon and the rectum. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. This is preventable if colonoscopy is performed and polyps are detected. Polyps are small growth that form on the lining of the colon or rectum and can develop in cancer. If these are detected and removed then colon cancer is preventable. Guidelines recommend patients to undergo colonoscopy for screening at the age of 50 for average risk and sooner if family risk of GI cancers is present or if patient has alarm symptoms such as weight loss, anemia, blood in the stools.
I thoroughly enjoy my role as a Gastroenterologist and a Hepatologist. This field gives me the best bits of both worlds. I love the acute side of things - managing GI bleeds and acute liver failure which can be incredible rewarding. It also allows me to work within medicine seeing a huge variety of patients. However the medium to long-term management of so many different diseases is also fascinating. It is also incredibly hands on with diagnosing and treating multiple conditions via procedures endoscopically. We work with patients from teenagers to those over one hundred years old, deal with so many different parts of the body and get to work closely with dietitians, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists. Looking back, if I could start over, I’d do the same again. I’d recommend my job to anyone.

The team of Asia today wish all the best to Dr Ruchi Patel