Gastroenterology Melbourne

What is gastroenterology?

Gastroenterology is a branch of internal medicine focused on disorders and diseases of the human digestive system, mostly involving the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Doctors who specialise in this field are called ‘gastroenterologists’. They diagnose and treat patients with digestive conditions and diseases.

In adult males the GI tract is 5 metres long and includes the oesophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, small intestine and large intestine (colon).

Common conditions that gastroenterologists treat include bowel cancer, malabsorption diseases, constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, ulcers, liver disease, hepatitis, gastritis, diverticulosis and gastroenteritis.

Gastroenterologists perform specialised diagnostic and therapeutic procedures such as liver biopsies and endoscopic examinations of the oesophagus, stomach, small and large bowel, such as gastroscopies and colonoscopies.

Gastroenterologists do not perform abdominal surgery; however they work closely with surgeons to determine the best surgical operation for a patient. Gastroenterologists provide post-surgery care to help their patients recover from or cope with their digestive disorder.


What do specialist gastroenterologists in Melbourne do?

Gastroenterologists perform specialised diagnostic and therapeutic procedures such as liver biopsies and endoscopic examinations of the oesophagus, stomach, small and large bowel, such as gastroscopies and colonoscopies.

Gastroenterologists do not perform abdominal surgery; however, they work closely with surgeons to determine the best surgical operation for a patient. They will also provide post-surgery care to help their patients recover from or cope with their digestive disorder.



A specialist doctor performs a gastroscopy (upper endoscopy), using a thin flexible tube-like instrument with a camera and light on the end (a gastroscope) to carefully examine the lining of your oesophagus, stomach and small bowel. The camera collects images that are viewed by your specialist on a screen monitor during the procedure.

Diagnostic gastroscopy is a very safe and routine procedure. Under sedation, the gastroscope is gently passed through your mouth, down your throat and into your stomach. Because you’re sedated and not fully anaesthetised, a gastroscopy is a day procedure and has a quick recovery period.

A gastroscopy will help your doctor diagnose the cause of your abdominal pain, vomiting or any bleeding from your digestive tract. A gastroscopy can detect ulcers, small lesions, reflux and infections caused by bacteria and parasites. It also screens for stomach cancer.

This procedure allows the doctor to take tissue samples for pathology testing, and remove benign polyps that may be found during the gastroscopy, in most cases. Although stomach polyps are rarely pre-cancerous, they can lead to other digestive problems and are, therefore, removed for that reason.



A specialist doctor performs a colonoscopy using a thin flexible tube with a camera and light on the end, called a colonoscope, to examine your entire large bowel (colon), including your large intestine and rectum. Under sedation, the colonoscope is passed through your back passage and gently moved around so that your doctor can see the full length of your large bowel.

There’s no pain or discomfort during or after a colonoscopy. And because you’re not fully anaesthetised, it’s a day procedure with a short recovery period.

A colonoscopy is a relatively low-risk procedure that helps doctors diagnose serious illnesses such as bowel cancer, as well as inflamed tissues and ulcers.

Almost all cases of colon cancer start with small growths called polyps on the lining of your colon. These start as benign (non-cancerous) growths, but if they are not removed, they can become cancerous. If a polyp is found during your colonoscopy it will be removed as a preventative measure, in most cases. Polyps take 10-15 years on average to develop into cancer, hence why a routine colonoscopy is recommended every 5-10 years for people at average risk of bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer occurs most commonly in people in their 30s and 40s or older. Sometimes it occurs in people in their 20s. It’s very rare in teenagers. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell who will develop bowel cancer, therefore people who have a strong family history of bowel cancer are recommended to have regular check-ups. Bowel cancer affects one person in 20 at some stage during their life.

Book an appointment


Why Moonee Valley Specialist Centre?

Dr. Nathan Connelly (MBBS, FRACP) is one of the best gastroenterologists in Melbourne currently practising and is passionate about patient outcomes. With a calm and focused approach, Dr. Connelly keeps his patients fully informed and where necessary directs them towards the correct diagnostic procedure, whether that be a bowel cancer screening, colonoscopy, or anything else.

Apart from his work at the clinic, Dr. Connelly commonly treats patients at several local hospitals. His experience, expertise, and professional manner have helped establish Dr. Connelly as one of the leading gastroenterologists in Melbourne.


Common reasons to consult a specialist gastroenterologist in Melbourne

There are many reasons that bring people to Moonee Valley Specialist Centre. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you will likely benefit greatly from a referral to a gastroenterologist from your GP.

Rectal bleeding

This is normally identified by finding blood in your stool, and the reasons for this can range in severity. It can indicate bleeding somewhere in the digestive tract, haemorrhoids, an anal fissure, or even cancer.

You are of age (50+) for regular bowel cancer screenings

One of the primary reasons that Dr. Connelly is engaged is to facilitate bowel cancer screenings. These become more necessary for every Australian as they get older and are particularly important for those with a family history of bowel cancer.

Difficulty swallowing and oesophageal pain

Some medical complications could be causing you to experience pain and difficulty with swallowing, or a total inability to swallow. If you are experiencing frequent and severe pain or difficulty swallowing, you may require an upper endoscopy.

Abdominal pain and bloating

If abdominal pain and bloating begin to occur frequently (such as after or during meals), then you need to speak to your GP who may refer you to a specialist gastroenterologist in Melbourne. Symptoms can also include painful bowel movements and nausea.

Bowel movement abnormality

This covers issues like intense constipation and diarrhea. Both of these issues can range in severity and be caused by several different factors – our top gastroenterologist in Melbourne will be able to help you determine what the problem is and recommended a course of action.


How to prepare

You will need to have your referral from your GP. You should also make sure you have your Medicare, health fund, pensions, veterans, or any other relevant card with you.

Recent medical records can also be beneficial in quickly forming a diagnosis. Having a journal of symptoms can also be useful depending on what issue you are dealing with.

If you are coming to the clinic to undergo a specific procedure like a colonoscopy, then you will be given instructions on how to prepare. Some of these instructions include being picked up and dropped off by a friend or relative, as the sedative medication we give you will make it unsafe for you to drive yourself home.


Our team is here to support you and answer any questions you may have before booking a consultation to see Dr. Connelly. We are contactable via our websiteFAQ page or by calling us on (03) 9372 0372.

Book an appointment


1003 Mt Alexander Road Essendon, VIC, 3040

Call us now

Call us now

03 9372 0372

Email Us at

Email Us at