Gastrointestinal and Gastroenterologist
The term gastrointestinal (GI) refers collectively to the organs of the body that play a part in food digestion. The gastrointestinal tract, also called the digestive tract or GI tract, includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine (colon), rectum and anus.
A gastroenterologist is an internal medicine physician who has undergone additional education and training to specialize in gastroenterology, or the treatment of diseases in the gastrointestinal tract and liver. Gastroenterologists must complete a three-year residency after medical school, followed by at least one fellowship focused on gastroenterology (fellowships usually last two or three years). After finishing their medical training, gastroenterologists are considered “board eligible” and are qualified to take the Gastroenterology Board Certification test administered by the American Board of Internal Medicine. After passing the exam, a gastroenterologist is “board certified.”
Some gastroenterologists have the letters “F.A.C.P.” or “F.A.C.G.” following their names. These letters mean the gastroenterologist has been recognized as a “fellow” of the American College of Physicians or the American College of Gastroenterologists for making extraordinary contributions to the field of gastroenterology.