Think about how you feel after eating a big meal. If you’ve overindulged, your stomach might quickly turn upset. Now imagine suffering from serious digestive problems. That discomfort can quickly become intolerable pain.
Several organs make up the digestive system, also known as the gastrointestinal tract; they include the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gall bladder, small intestine, and large intestine. There are a variety of disorders of this system that can cause pain or other problems, and both doctors and nurses can specialize in gastroenterology, which focuses on treating the gastrointestinal tract.
Your Partner for GI Care
Whether you suffer from simple heartburn or more chronic disorders, we can help. Diagnosis and treatment are the focus of the gastrointestinal staff at Mary Greeley Medical Center. That includes both board-certified gastroenterologists and nurses certified in gastrointestinal nursing. Technology, too, has touched how the GI staff works: New tools enable physicians to see in previously unknowable parts of the body.
Conditions We Treat
We diagnose and treat a number of gastrointestinal disorders including difficulty swallowing, heart burn, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, passing blood in the stool, yellow jaundice and liver conditions.
Our staff members carefully assess each patient's symptoms and condition, and assist the physician in pinpointing and treating the problem.
Other conditions we treat:
Barrett’s Esophagus - Barrett's esophagus is a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach) is damaged by stomach acid and changed to a lining similar to that of the stomach. It is a precursor to cancer of the esophagus.
Chronic Liver Disorder – Liver function tests (LFT) are usually first done to help your doctor evaluate how well your liver is working. If those results are persistently abnormal, a biopsy may be ordered.
Colon Cancer – Colorectal cancer happens when cells that are not normal grow in your colon or rectum. These cells grow together and form polyps. Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer.
Crohn's Disease – Crohn's disease is a lifelong inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Parts of the digestive system get swollen and have deep sores called ulcers. Crohn's disease usually is found in the last part of the small intestine and the first part of the large intestine. But it can develop anywhere in the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. The main symptoms of Crohn's disease are belly pain and diarrhea.
Gallstones –Most gallstones do not cause problems. But if they block a duct, they usually need treatment.
Gastritis – Inflammation of the lining of the stomach.
GERD – Frequent or chronic heartburn (more than twice a week) may be part of a more serious condition known as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Advanced GERD can cause complications such as ulcers, narrowing of the esophagus (strictures) or Barrett's Esophagus.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the intestines. It causes belly pain, cramping or bloating, and diarrhea or constipation. IBS is a long-term problem, but there are things you can do to reduce your symptoms.
Pancreatitis – Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, causing pain and swelling.
Ulcers – Ulcers can develop in the esophagus, stomach or duodenum. Peptic ulcers that form in the stomach are called gastric ulcers. Those that form in the upper small intestine are called duodenal ulcers.
Ulcerative Colitis – Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the most common types of inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis, however, affects only the colon and rectum. Symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain and bleeding from the rectum.
Procedures We Offer
Mary Greeley's Gastrointestinal (G.I.) Services offer inpatient and outpatient procedures. Our gastroenterologists are trained in endoscopy, using very thin, flexible tubes with tiny built-in lights and video cameras to view inside the digestive tract and perform minimally invasive procedures.
The most common procedures we offer are the colonoscopy and upper GI endoscopy.
- A colonoscopy is used in routine screenings of the colon for cancer or polyps; to check for the cause of blood in the stool or rectal bleeding; to check for the cause of chronic diarrhea or iron deficiency anemia; to check for the cause of sudden, unexplained weight loss or long-term, unexplained belly pain.
- A colonoscopy can both identify and correct a problem in the colon. It involves visual examination of the large intestine (colon), using a lighted, flexible video endoscope.
- The American Cancer Society recommends routine testing for people age 50 and older who have a normal risk for colorectal cancer. Your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent testing if you have a higher risk of colorectal cancer. Talk to your doctor about when you should be tested.
Upper GI Endoscopy:
- An upper gastrointestinal (EGD) endoscopy (sometimes called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy) is a procedure that allows your doctor to look at the interior lining of your esophagus, your stomach, and the first part of your small intestine.
- Your doctor can look for ulcers, inflammation, tumors, infection, or bleeding. Tissue samples can be collected (biopsy), polyps can be removed, and bleeding can be treated through the endoscope.
Other procedures we offer:
Anorectal Manometry - Anorectal manometry is a test used to evaluate the function and coordination of the anal sphincters and pelvic floor muscles. It may be used to evaluate the causes of and help diagnose conditions such as chronic constipation, fecal incontinence (inability to control bowel movements), rectal prolapse (condition where the rectum protrudes from the anus), Hirschprung’s Disease (congenital condition where the nerves in the wall of the colon are missing)
Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) - In EUS, a small ultrasound transducer is installed on the tip of a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope. By inserting the endoscope into the upper or the lower digestive tract, one can obtain high quality ultrasound images of the organs inside the body.
ERCP – An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) is a test that combines the use of a flexible, lighted scope (endoscope) with X-ray pictures to examine the tubes that drain the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. ERCP can treat certain problems found during the test.
Esophageal Manometry – Esophageal manometry is a diagnostic procedure which pinpoints any swallowing problems within the esophagus by measuring the strength and pattern of muscle contractions in the esophagus.
Fecal Transplant – Fecal transplant is an innovative approach to providing fast, effective relief to patients with C. diff, a nasty bacteria causing severe, frequent diarrhea. Fecal material from a healthy donor is transplanted into the sick patient’s colon, most often through an enema. The beneficial bacteria will multiply and push out the bad C. diff bacteria.
Video Capsule Endoscopy – Video capsule endoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to examine your small intestine for sources of bleeding. For this procedure, you swallow a capsule that is less than an inch long containing a tiny video camera. As the capsule travels through your gastrointestinal tract, the camera takes pictures and sends them to a data recorder worn by the patient for about eight hours.
Bravo pH Monitoring – Bravo pH monitoring is a minimally invasive test for the evaluation of chronic heartburn or indigestion. To detect causes, the pH levels in the patient's esophagus must be measured. A pH-sensitive capsule is attached to the esophagus during an endoscopy procedure, measuring pH levels for 24 to 48 hours. The information is transmitted to a small receiver worn on a belt and the data is then analyzed by the physician.
Liver Biopsy – A liver biopsy is an outpatient procedure in which a small sample of tissue is taken from the patient's liver, and then sent to a laboratory and looked at under a microscope to see if there are any liver problems. This can help diagnose viral infections; reactions to drugs or alcohol; tumors; hereditary conditions; and problems of the immune system.
Small Bowel Enteroscopy – A small bowel enteroscopy is a test performed to evaluate gastrointestinal bleeding, small bowel tumors, polyps, or other small bowel diseases. During the procedure, a doctor uses a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope that, when inflated with air, can expand sections of the small intestine to enable the camera to get a closer view.
If you have any other questions about your preparation, your procedure or any other concerns, please contact your doctor’s office. If you must cancel or reschedule your procedure, please call at least 24-36 hours in advance.