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Dr. Schneider has specialized medical training and significant experience with diseases affecting the stomach, intestines, oesophagus, liver, pancreas, colon and rectum.

Patients are usually referred to a gastroenterologist by a primary care doctor after examination or health discussions.

Gastroenterologists have the tools and expertise to diagnose and treat your conditions correctly.

Often, seeing a gastroenterologist leads to more accurate detection of polyps and cancer, fewer complications from procedures and less time spent in the hospital.

If you’ve never seen a gastroenterologist before but are struggling with digestive issues, you might wonder when it’s time to see a GI doctor.

We’ve created a list of the top 5 reasons to see a gastroenterologist in Johannesburg to help educate patients on the most common symptoms and help lessen any fear towards seeing a GI doctor.


heartburn - 5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist


1. Heartburn


While heartburn is fairly common amongst adults, consistent heartburn more than twice a week could be a sign of a more serious issue like acid reflux, or GERD.

Reflux is a burning sensation felt behind the chest that occurs when stomach contents irritate the normal lining of the oesophagus.

Sometimes it’s difficult to know when your heartburn symptoms are severe enough that you need to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist, and we understand that.

Here are some indications that it’s time to see a gastroenterologist:

  • Symptoms that continue for more than twice a week
  • Heartburn that persists after taking over-the-counter medications
  • Heartburn episodes that change in frequency or intensity
  • Acid reflux that interferes with your daily activities or affects your quality of life
  • Heartburn accompanied by nausea or vomiting


gallstones - 5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist


2. Gallstones


Gallstones are small, hard nuggets or pellets that form in the gallbladder.

A gallstone can be as tiny as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball.

Pain from gallstones almost always passes once they move.

Gallstones also may form if the gallbladder does not empty completely or often enough.

People who are obese, have a family history of gallstones, and over the age of 40 (especially women), have increased risk of developing gallstones.

Obesity increases the amount of cholesterol in bile, which can cause stone formation.

Here are some indications that it’s time to see a gastroenterologist:

  • Upper-right quadrant pain that does not go away within 4-5 hours
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Low-grade fever
  • Yellowish colour of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Clay-coloured stools



IBD - 5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist


3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)


Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) describes a cluster of disorders in which the intestines become inflamed.

The small and large intestines become irritated and swollen, causing a bunch of complications like belly pain, rectal bleeding, and diarrhoea.

Symptoms may ease up but then returns during a flare.

IBD is often confused with a similar condition called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) but the two conditions are different.

IBD is a more serious condition, which may lead to a number of complications including damage to the bowel and malnutrition.

IBD tends to be hereditary, although not everyone with IBD has a family history of the disease.

Inflammatory bowel disease can happen at any age but is mostly diagnosed in teens and young adults.

Here are some indications that it’s time to see a gastroenterologist:

See your doctor if you experience a persistent change in your bowel habits or if you have any of the signs and symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.

Although inflammatory bowel disease usually isn’t dangerous, it’s a serious disease that, in some cases, may cause life-threatening complications.



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colon cancer screening - 5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist


4. Colon Cancer Screening


After a certain age, older adults should make a habit of screening for cancer that could affect your digestive tract.

This means screenings for colorectal cancer, intestinal cancer, and beyond.

The good news is that colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer.

Colorectal cancer can be prevented, not just detected, through colonoscopy.

Here are some indications that it’s time to see a gastroenterologist:

Gastroenterologists recommend that all people who are physically healthy start screening for colon cancer at age 50.

If you are pregnant, overweight or live an unhealthy lifestyle, we recommend screening before age 50.

You are recommended to get screened for colon cancer even if you do not have a family history of cancer and have not had any symptoms.

Colonoscopy is recommended at least once every 10 years.

More information on Colon Cancer can be found here.


constipation - 5 Reasons to See a Gastroenterologist


5. Constipation


Constipation is infrequent bowel movements (less than three a week) or difficulty in passing stools.

Constipation symptoms include hard stools and feeling like your bowel hasn’t completely emptied.

If you are affected by constipation, it could mean a serious digestive issue is causing it.

The good news is that constipation is not a disease, but a condition.

Constipation can affect anyone, regardless of age.

However, its most common amongst older people, people who are dehydrated, or have diets that are low in fibre.

Here are some indications that it’s time to see a gastroenterologist:

When you have constipation that won’t go away for 3 weeks or more, it’s time to see a doctor or gastroenterologist for help.

This is by no means a definitive list – there are numerous conditions that can cause abdominal or abnormalities with the gut and stomach.


Preparing for Your Appointment


Because appointments can be brief, and because there’s often a lot of information to cover, it’s a good idea to be well-prepared.

Here’s some information to help you get ready.

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance, such as following a certain diet, etc.
  • Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins, supplements or herbal medications you’re taking.
  • If you think you might be scared of your check-up results and think you might need support, we recommend taking a close relative of yours with you to see your doctors such as a family member or close friend.


The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.