If you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, you may have symptoms and discomforts that need to be addressed by a medical professional right away. But, who do you turn to? Which doctors are able to confirm your diagnosis and offer a course of treatment for you, so that you can return to normal as soon as possible?
People who have Crohn’s disease often wonder if they should continue to see their regular doctors throughout treatment for Crohn’s or if they need to go to a specialist. Your needs as a person with Crohn’s will be highly individual, so your needs for a doctor may differ from those of another person with Crohn’s.
Often, consulting the doctor who made your diagnosis is the best course of action. He or she will be able to tell you if you need to see additional specialists.
The following are doctors who typically handle issues involving Crohn’s disease. You can start by asking questions of these physicians:
Family Medical Doctor
A family medical doctor, or a family practice physician, is a doctor who specializes in the complete health of an individual or a family. A family medical doctor usually has at least 4 years of medical school behind them and a 3-year residency. These doctors can treat a variety of health conditions for adults and children, such as Crohn’s. They might specialize in the care of older adults, people who play sports, or other groups of people with specialized needs.
An internist can also treat patients with Crohn’s. This type of doctor specializes in the treatment adults. He or she will often further specialize in fields like adolescent medicine, cardiology, gastroenterology, hematology, and oncology. You can see an internist as your primary care doctor or go to one specifically to talk about your Crohn’s issue.
Gastroenterologists also treat patients with Crohn’s. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the digestive system, like Crohn’s, colitis, IBS, and dysbiosis. Gastroenterologists often work with patients who have ulcerative colitis, hepatitis, and rectal or colon cancer. A gastroenterologist is able to perform special tests on patients, such as endoscopies, in order to diagnose or treat conditions of the gut like Crohn’s. When necessary, a gastroenterologist can consult with surgeons about bowel surgery.
When surgery is necessary, a Crohn’s patient may be referred to a general surgeon or a surgeon who operates on the colon and rectum.