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Digestive Health

St. Claire HealthCare's gastroenterologists specialize in the diagnoses and treatment of diseases and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and biliary system. Most digestive diseases are very complex, with subtle symptoms, and the causes of many remain unknown. They may be inherited or develop from multiple factors such as stress, fatigue, diet, or smoking. Abusing alcohol imposes the greatest risk for digestive diseases.

Common gastrointestinal tract disorders include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)

  • Inflammatory bowel/colitis

  • Celiac disease

  • Gallbladder and biliary tract disease

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Reaching a diagnosis requires a thorough and accurate medical history and physical examination. Some patients may need to undergo more extensive diagnostic evaluations, including lab tests, endoscopic procedures, and imaging techniques.

Endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows the physician or surgeon to accurately diagnose - and often treat - conditions affecting the esophagus, stomach and colon.

The “gold standard” of testing for colon cancer. It is recommended that everyone have this test when they turn 50, and repeat the test every 10 years unless otherwise recommended by a physician. During the test, a physician (usually a gastroenterologist or general surgeon) uses a long, thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. The physician can find and remove most polyps and some cancers during the exam. You may have a follow-up colonoscopy if anything unusual was found during a previous test.