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    30 Secrets Gastroenterologists Will Never Tell You

    Yes, they deal with people's poop on a daily basis and want to help you with diarrhea.

    Gastroenterologists are physicians dedicated to treating and managing diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and liver. Basically, they're who you go to when you're experiencing major stomach, bowel, or intestinal issues. BuzzFeed Health reached out to some gastroenterologists to tell us more about this huge and intriguing area of expertise. Special thanks to the gastroenterologists who provided intel and anecdotes for this post: Dr. Sahil Khanna, gastroenterologist with Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Rebekah Gross, gastroenterologist with NYU Langone.

    1. Yes, we want to know EXACTLY what your poop looks like — and the more details the better.

    2. Your emotions can play a huge part in why your stomach and bathroom routine are all messed up.

    3. That's why GI and psychiatry overlap a lot, and most times we end up forming close, life-long relationships with our patients.

    4. Most people come in to see us when they have issues with diarrhea and/or constipation.

    5. We want you to know that getting bloated, gassy, and having diarrhea is going to happen sometimes and that's totally normal.

    6. A regular workday for us usually includes vomit, constipation, bloody poop, bad breath, gas, and hemorrhoids. So there's really not much that phases us.

    7. We might need to do a rectal exam during checkups, and that means putting our finger up your butt.

    8. And actually, this test is incredibly important because it can answer things that a CT scan cannot.

    9. When people come in with symptoms that hint at bowel inflammation, we're usually looking for things like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

    10. We don't do surgeries, but we do perform procedures like colonoscopies and upper endoscopies so we can check out your digestive system.

    11. And those entail sticking a long flexible tube with a light and camera, called a scope, either down your throat or up your butt.

    12. We've also used scopes to remove lots of random objects from people's stomachs and butts, such as forks, batteries, and gloves.

    13. You'll have to ~prep~ for a colonoscopy, which means taking a laxative, or something similar, so that there's no poop backed up in your system. This lets the scope roam your colon freely.

    14. From mouth to anus, it's actually one long continuous tube with natural twists and turns.

    15. Wielding that scope through the anus and the rest of the digestive tract can be hard work; many GIs even end up with muscle pain and arthritis symptoms earlier in life because of it.

    16. Some people have ~tortuous colons~, which can be harder to navigate for GIs.

    17. Polyps can grow on the lining of the colon and need to be removed during colonoscopies in case they become cancerous.

    18. Rectal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, and bowel movements that disrupt your sleep are definitely signs that you should see a gastroenterologist.

    19. But just because you may not have "symptoms," that doesn't mean you're free of polyps, lumps, or abnormalities that could potentially become cancerous.

    20. That's why anyone over the age of 50, and anyone younger with a family history of colon problems, should get a colonoscopy.

    21. Yes, you can still get a colonoscopy done while on your period.

    22. One of the most emotional parts of the job is when people come in with colon cancer, because it's often preventable with regular screenings.

    23. Please don't self-diagnose yourself with celiac disease or gluten intolerance and go off of gluten before coming to see us. That will only make it harder for us to help you.

    24. Also, prescribing your own treatment (after self-diagnosing) can be dangerous and delay the help that could potentially save your life.

    25. To keep a healthy digestive tract, eat a high-fiber diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, make sure you drink a lot of water, and please, please stop smoking.

    26. And please, please stop smoking cigarettes.

    27. Yes, we sometimes get GI-related emergency calls in the middle of the night.

    28. Sometimes we have to complete 47-hour shifts and then drive home, sleep a little, and be ready to do it all again.

    29. Ever wonder why someone would go into gastroenterology? To put it simply, we want to help people with everything from poop troubles to cancer.

    30. Overall, if you're experiencing GI symptoms, it's ALWAYS better to be cautious and just make an appointment.