Other Digestive Diseases at AGMG
Learn about Other Digestive Disease treatments from the doctors of Associated Gastroenterology
The interesting thing about gastroenterology is that we get to treat multiple organs under one specialty. (the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder and pancreas). Every patient that is seen in the office could be there for an entirely different reason. The doctors at AGMG are highly knowledgeable in all aspects of GI and look forward to seeing you regardless of what your concern or question is.
Dysphagia is the medical term for the symptom of difficulty in swallowing. There are many reasons for this symptom. The esophagus is actually a series of muscles that contracts to push from the mouth to the stomach. One of the reasons for this symptom is the muscles of the esophagus not contracting in the right way. Another reason for dysphagia is that there is an actual blockage in the esophagus like a narrowing often from acid reflux or a tumor. Lastly another important reason for this symptom is an allergic condition of the esophagus. Because tumors of the esophagus can present with trouble swallowing this is considered a warning symptom that needs prompt medical attention.
Peptic Ulcer Disease
An ulcer is a break in the lining of the GI tract that can cause pain, nausea or bleeding. While there can be ulcers anywhere in the GI tract from the esophagus to the colon, the two most common sites are the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. The two most common reasons for ulcers are a class of medications called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). This class of medicines includes aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. The other major reason for ulcers is an infection of the stomach called helicobacter pylori. This bacterial infection is very common especially in Latin America and Asia. The bacteria produces ulcers by causing a local inflammation reaction in the stomach and secreting a waste product that is toxic to the lining of the stomach. Antibiotics and acid suppressing medicines can be used to treat H. pylori.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a disorder of overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. While the colon has a high volume of bacteria, the small intestine is relatively bacteria free. Certain conditions and medicines can cause the number of bacteria to increase. This increase in bacteria can result in symptoms of bloating, gas, diarrhea and abdominal pain. A breath test in the laboratory can used to diagnosis this condition. Antbiotics are an effective treatment to kill the excess bacteria.
Lactose intolerance is a very common condition in which patients are unable to digest a component of dairy called lactose. There is an enzyme in the lining of the small intestine called lactase that breaks down lactose into digestible components. Certain patients have a genetic disposition to have low levels of lactose. Another common reason is that lactase levels decrease with age. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, gas and diarrhea. Treatment involves avoid lactose or using a lactase replacement.
Gallstones are solid pebble like objects formed out of cholesterol that can form anywhere in the biliary tract (the ducts that drain bile from the liver through the pancreas into the small intestines). Gallstones are the most common disease of the biliary system. They most commonly form in the gallbladder. When the stones pass out of the gallbladder and get stuck in the much smaller ducts, they can cause syjmptoms of pain, nausea, inflammation of the gallbladder, jaundice and severe infection. Gallstones are more common in woman and the majority of patients with gallstones have no
symptoms. The treatment is often surgical removal of the gallbladder.
Diverticula are pouches of the lining of the GI tract. While they can occur anywhere, the most common location is in the colon. Diverticulosis is having diverticula of the colon without any symptoms. This is very common found in 60-80% of people. Unfortunately, these pouches can become inflamed called diverticulitis resulting in pain, a serious infection or even a hole in the colon. Another complication of diverticulosis is that the pouches can erode into blood vessels. This is one of the most common reasons for bleeding from the colon. Treatment for diverticulitis includes antibiotics, bowel rest and occasionally surgery. Treatment for diverticular bleeding is often endoscopic.
Anal fissures are tiny tears in the lining in the last part of the GI tract called the anus. Symptoms include bleeding, pain with sitting, pain with bowel movements. They are caused by tearing of the anus often from a hard bowel movement. The symptoms of a fissure are often confused for hemorrhoids but can only be differentiated on physical examination. Treatment includes stool softeners, ointments that increase the blood flow to the area. Occasionally surgery is required if the medicines are not effective.