If you’re experiencing stomach pain or gastrointestinal discomfort, you want to figure out what’s causing the issue and the best way to treat it. But unlike a sprained ankle or a fractured finger, it’s not always easy to figure out exactly what’s causing your stomach discomfort, at least for the average individual.
Gastrointestinal specialists have a number of tools and diagnostic techniques for figuring out the root cause of your stomach pain so that they can set you up with the perfect treatment plan. Below, we take a look at some of the most common diagnostic tests for gastrointestinal pain.
Ways To Diagnose A GI Issue
If you come into Dr. Bhatti’s office with abdominal pain or GI discomfort, odds are he’ll work to figure out what’s going on with one or more of these diagnostic tests.
- Physical Exam – The first step in the diagnostic process will involve a physical exam conducted by Dr. Bhatti. He’ll review your medical information, ask you about your symptoms and then conduct a physical exam. You may not think that a doctor will be able to see much without using technology to look inside your body, but palpation techniques, where a doctor puts some pressure on certain parts of the body, can help to pinpoint sensitive tissues and organs.
- Saliva/Blood/Stool Tests – Another rather non-invasive diagnostic technique involves sample collection and testing. Your provider may ask to collect a sample of your saliva, blood or stool which will then be sent to a lab for further testing. These tests can detect the presence of an infection or examine blood cell or liver enzyme counts to determine what’s going on in your digestive tract.
- Endoscopy – An endoscopy involves the insertion of a long, thin flexible tube that has a microcamera attached to it. This camera then relays a live feed of what it’s seeing to a monitor in the operating room, allowing the doctor to visualize the inside of your digestive tract. They can look for signs of acid reflux, stomach ulcers or even the presence of a tumor.
- MRI/CT Scan – An MRI or CT scan can provide an inside look at your organs without having to put anything inside the body. These scans are more detailed than a standard x-ray and can allow the doctor to get a detailed picture of certain organs. Sometimes special dyes will be used to highlight certain areas so that the images become even more detailed. Kidney health is oftentimes analyzed with these types of tools.
- Colonoscopy – If the discomfort is further down your digestive tract, your GI specialist may recommend a colonoscopy. Oftentimes these are regularly scheduled and preventative in nature, but they can also be used to diagnose polyps or tumors in the colon, or to identify the source of a bleed.
- Ultrasound – Most people associate an ultrasound with a pregnancy, but sound waves can also be harnessed to look for certain issues in the abdominal area. Oftentimes ultrasound can help detect problems in the gallbladder or kidneys, and it doesn’t involve any of the risks associated with radiation imaging.
So if you’re dealing with stomach pain or another GI issue, know that Dr. Bhatti and the team at Bhatti GI Consultants have the tools to diagnose the issue and get you set up with the right kind of treatment. For more information, or for help with your GI problem, give Dr. Bhatti and his team a call at (651) 368-3800.