What does a hepatologist treat

Some doctors are narrowly specialized and deal only with the treatment of one specific organ in the human body. These include a urologist, ophthalmologist, hepatologist and some others. The optometrist deals exclusively with vision problems, the urologist deals with diseases of the genitourinary system.

And who is hepatologist and what does he treat?

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Who is a hepatologist and what does he treat

The first question that arises in a patient referred by a therapist to this specialist is who is a hepatologist and what he treats. This specialist deals with the study and therapy of the liver. This doctor can be for both adults and children, he can treat the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts as interconnected organs.

The treatment of such diseases usually takes a long time, so observation over time is a prerequisite.

A hepatologist is someone who deals not only with the treatment of the liver, but the main problem is usually in this organ. There is no better specialist who can help heal a diseased organ, maintain the condition of the liver and normalize the movement of bile through the body. And good prevention and supportive care is almost never enough. The start of treatment is always preceded by a visit to a place such as a clinic.

What symptoms should be treated

There can be many reasons why it is worth contacting a specialist such as a hepatologist, and they can be of different origins:

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  • Stool changes to either side.
  • Bitter taste for no reason.
  • The appearance of an icteric shade or rash on the skin.
  • Change in color or abundance of urine.
  • Any signs of toxicity occurring.
  • Disorders of the state of self-perception – apathy, weakness, fatigue.
  • Pain in the right side, heaviness or tingling.
  • Irritability and loss of appetite.

These symptoms in adults may also manifest in part in children. Rarely all appear at once, but when one or two appear, it is worth contacting a specialist, regardless of which of the symptoms manifested itself. Especially if the therapist refers to the hepatologist.

In the office, you can ask any question to the doctor who worries. However, these symptoms are not always associated with abnormal liver function. These can be problems with the gallbladder, stomach, or other internal organs. Therefore, most often the hepatologist prescribes additional tests and ultrasound of the abdominal organs.

What diseases does it treat

The liver is constantly exposed to a wide variety of negative influences: improper or irregular nutrition, stressful situations, poor environmental conditions, the presence of bad habits in a person, lifelong use of various pills for a long time, and others. It is very important to prevent the transition of the disease to a chronic form, therefore, liver treatment should begin on time.

In large cities, you can contact an infectious disease hepatologist and a gastroenterologist hepatologist. It depends on what is causing the disease.

If the cause of the disease turns out to be in an infected infection or bacteria, then an infectious disease hepatologist will treat it. If the matter is in stagnation of bile, problems with the stomach, kidneys or gallbladder, then the hepatologist, the gastroenterologist, will deal with the problem.

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In small towns, all diseases of this organ are supervised by one broad specialist hepatologist, sometimes a surgeon makes appointments in the absence of a narrow-profile doctor on the staff. The competence of the attending physician hepatologist includes the treatment of the following diseases:

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  • Toxoplasmosis.
  • All types of hepatitis.
  • Alcoholic liver damage.
  • Cirrhosis and fibrosis.
  • Certain autoimmune diseases.
  • Cholangitis.
  • Yellow fever.
  • Acute toxic poisoning.
  • Mononucleosis of infectious origin.

How is the appointment

Reception of a hepatologist is not very different from consulting a therapist. Most major hospitals support free hepatologist consultation. First you need to make an appointment for a certain date and time, then come to the hospital on the appointed day.

If this specialist is in demand or does not take every day, then there may be a queue to him. Therefore, in order to receive the necessary advice, you will need to make an appointment several days in advance, and sometimes weeks.

This doctor never goes to the ambulance, only if it is a paid clinic with an additional service. It is not necessary to count on receiving the services of a hepatologist at home. In some cases, in large hospitals, a pediatric hepatologist can visit the child along with emergency care. This is done if there is a high risk of not taking a small child to the hospital.

If the site has reviews about the doctor you are going to, then you can study them. But don’t take a lot too seriously. Sometimes patients leave negative words about good doctors because the correct, but expensive drugs were prescribed, or simply did not like the specialist.

Sometimes even people who have been exposed to hepatitis complain that they were not immediately cured. Despite the fact that it is, in principle, not possible at such a speed.

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During the appointment with the doctor, he will examine and feel the stomach. Reveals possible pain or enlargement of the organ in size. He will ask questions about chronic or inherited diseases, new symptoms or changes in health.

The specialist will definitely pay special attention to genetic abnormalities, childhood diseases and the nature of his patient’s work. Ask all the questions that interest you to calm yourself and know the big picture. And also answer all the questions of the hepatologist very honestly and frankly, otherwise the picture will be blurry.

After examining and interviewing the patient, the hepatologist will write out a referral for the delivery of extended blood biochemistry, general analysis of blood and urine, as well as blood for antibodies. If necessary, other appointments will also follow:

  • MRI or CT scan of the liver,
  • blood test for hepatitis viruses,
  • sampling of material for biopsy,
  • electroencephalography,
  • examination of the liver using an ultrasound hapatobiliary system.

In some cases, the doctor prescribes consultations of other specialists – a surgeon, therapist, urologist, oncologist and others.

Sometimes feces tests for stercobelin, urine for hemoglobin and blood for reactive protein are prescribed. All appointments of a hepatologist depend on the presence of certain symptoms, the nature and severity of pain, as well as changes in the color of the skin and mucous membranes.

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Questioning and inspection

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Do not hesitate to ask the hepatologist a question during the appointment. Not every question that has arisen can be resolved using the “questions and answers” ​​sections on various sites.

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The doctor will listen to all the patient’s complaints and conduct a comprehensive examination, which will include both tactile contact and simple questions about what a person eats and what lifestyle he leads.

An important role is also played by the patient’s preferences, which are usually the provoking factors for the onset of certain diseases.

Liver damage can be of different stages. In the early stages, the patient is usually not worried about anything, except for occasional fatigue and loss of appetite. Common symptoms that bother a person may not only be related to liver disease.

Often, these signs occur with a common cold, with some viruses and even simple mild poisoning with poor-quality food. But if the symptoms recur from one day to the next and do not stop, constantly being present in the patient’s life, then you should not postpone the visit to the doctor.

Analyzes and diagnostics

The hepatologist prescribes only the most necessary blood and urine tests, if the patient is not worried about anything. In the event that the liver is enlarged or causes pain on palpation, then ultrasound and MRI or CT are additionally prescribed. In all cases, when the liver begins to hurt, the situation is not harmless and requires urgent treatment.

In some cases, a biopsy is done to clarify the diagnosis. If all other tests and studies do not show negative results, then a biopsy is not prescribed. Sometimes the doctor prescribes a liver test for fibrosis and cirrhosis, which will show all possible changes in the liver and the appearance of fatty tissues in them. But the above studies are of primary importance. If in their results everything is within normal limits, then it is not necessary to look for the problem in the liver.

Svetlana Borszavich

General practitioner, cardiologist, with active work in therapy, gastroenterology, cardiology, rheumatology, immunology with allergology.
Fluent in general clinical methods for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, as well as electrocardiography, echocardiography, monitoring of cholera on an ECG and daily monitoring of blood pressure.
The treatment complex developed by the author significantly helps with cerebrovascular injuries and metabolic disorders in the brain and vascular diseases: hypertension and complications caused by diabetes.
The author is a member of the European Society of Therapists, a regular participant in scientific conferences and congresses in the field of cardiology and general medicine. She has repeatedly participated in a research program at a private university in Japan in the field of reconstructive medicine.