Gastroenterology is the field of medicine concerned with the function and disorders of the digestive system. The digestive system is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube leading from the mouth, through the stomach, intestines and finally to the anus. Any food and drink is converted into smaller molecules of nutrients by stomach acid in order to be absorbed into the blood and carried to all cells throughout the body in order to keep the body sound and healthy. Digestion involves the mixing of food, its movement through the digestive tract and the chemical breakdown of the large molecules of food into smaller molecules.
Gastroenterology is linked with the field of hepatology, which is the field of medicine concerned with the liver and pancreas, two organs also involved in the digestive process. For more information on the liver, please visit the hospital’s Comprehensive Liver Disease Center.
Gastroenterology and hepatology are both branches of internal medicine (usually practiced together) which are concerned with prevention, investigation, therapy of and research into digestive illnesses involving the intestine, liver and other associated organs.