Knowing the difference between two types of doctors can be confusing for some patients—especially if it appears the doctors do the same procedures.
If a patient is unsure about the type of doctor they need for their hemorrhoids, you should be able to give them referrals based on their unique situation. For example, do they need a gastroenterologist or a colorectal specialist?
Gastroenterologist: Providing Non-Surgical Options
As a gastroenterologist, patients should understand that you trained in general internal medicine with an emphasis in gastroenterology, or the study of the normal functions, diseases, and conditions of the:
- Small intestine
- Colon and rectum
- Bile ducts
Gastroenterologists can provides non-surgical treatments like hemorrhoid banding as well as procedures such as an endoscopy and interpret the results. If a patient suspects they suffer from hemorrhoids, a gastroenterologist can diagnose them and recommend treatment options based on their severity.
While they can perform some invasive procedures like an endoscopy, gastroenterologists focus on the management and comprehensive care of a patient’s condition.
Colorectal Specialist: Provides Surgical Hemorrhoid Removal
On the other hand, a colorectal specialist is trained in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions of the colon, rectum, and anus. Like a gastroenterologist, colorectal specialists can diagnose and treat hemorrhoids.
Unlike a gastroenterologist, a colorectal specialist is able to provide surgical options for hemorrhoids in the form of a hemorrhoidectomy if the hemorrhoid is severe enough. A colorectal specialist can also treat other conditions such as:
- Rectal or colon cancer
- Anal fissures
- Anal fistuals
- Crohn’s Disease
By educating your patients on the differences between a colorectal specialist and a gastroenterologist, they will understand why they were referred to one or the other for their hemorrhoids.