If you have symptoms of a digestive disorder, your primary care physician may refer you to a gastroenterologist for further evaluation and treatment.
At United Medical, our gastroenterologists have experience in identifying many gastrointestinal (GI) problems, which can be very difficult to do given that symptoms are often intermittent and unpredictable. To aid in a diagnosis, our doctors may perform an abdominal ultrasound or endoscopic procedure.
Common GI Disorders
Some of the most common signs of a GI disorder include abdominal pain, bloating and gas, rectal bleeding, irregular or altered bowel habits, and hemorrhoids.
The most common conditions our gastroenterologists diagnose and treat include:
- Colon/rectal polyps
- Crohn’s disease
- Gallbladder disease/gallstones
- GERD (reflux)
- Inflammatory bowel disease – ulcerative colitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Stomach ulcers
Diagnosing and Treating GI Disorders
An endoscopy is an examination of the organs in the body using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a camera on the end. It can be used to examine and investigate the GI tract and associated organs for any problems or damage.
At United Medical, we offer two types of endoscopic exams: gastroscopy and colonoscopy.
A gastroscopy is an examination of the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. It is performed by using an endoscope, a thin, flexible fiber-optic instrument that is passed through the mouth and allows the doctor to see whether there is any damage to the lining of the esophagus or stomach, and whether there are any ulcers in the stomach or duodenum.
A gastroscopy is suggested in diagnosing and treating problems such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding from the digestive tract
- Cancers of the stomach or esophagus
- Esophageal strictures
- Gastritis, or stomach inflammation
- Hiatal hernia
- Removal of swallowed objects
- Treatment of the bacteria that can cause ulcers
- Ulcers of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum
Gastroscopy is painless and is usually done under a light sedative as an outpatient procedure. When sedation is used, you will still be conscious and aware throughout the procedure. A nurse will lay you on your left side and the endoscopist will gently place the endoscope into your mouth and ask you to swallow.
A colonoscopy is an examination of the colon and distal part of the small bowel. The procedure requires a colonoscope, a flexible tube with a camera that is inserted into the lower intestine through the anus. This allows the doctor to examine and look for any problems or damage to the lower GI tract.
A colonoscopy may be used to diagnose and treat problems such as:
- Colon cancer
- Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
- Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis)
- Unexplained changes in bowel movements
Once you schedule a colonoscopy, your doctor will instruct you on how to best prepare for the procedure. You will likely be given a laxative to cleanse and flush the colon of any solid matter. During the procedure itself, you will be sedated.
Managing GI Symptoms with Diet and Lifestyle
Many GI conditions can be prevented or managed successfully with the right diet. Common guidelines for a healthier digestive system include eliminating or reducing red meat, saturated fats, processed foods, and preservatives from your diet, and eating more plant-based foods that are high in fiber, as well as fish and lean meats.
If you have been diagnosed with an allergy to gluten (wheat), dairy, or something else, you should change your diet to eliminate or reduce those foods. By doing so, you may feel better and see an improvement in your symptoms.
Unhealthy lifestyle habits, like smoking, too much stress, excess alcohol consumption, and not exercising can have a major impact on your digestive health. By increasing your physical activity levels, quitting smoking, and eating a balanced diet, you will be well on your way to better overall health.
Gastroenterologists for GI Problems In New Jersey
If you’ve been referred to United Medical for gastroenterology care, we have a team of GI providers in New Jersey who can see you at a time that fits your schedule. For your convenience, most procedures and screenings can be done right here in our offices.
To get started, call the United Medical office nearest you in New Jersey: in Lyndhurst at (201) 460-0063, in Bayonne at (201) 339-6111, or in Clifton at (973) 546-6844. You can also request an appointment now.