Conditions Treated

Conditions Treated

At Gastroenterology of Southern Indiana, we're focused on the accurate diagnosis and treatment of conditions which affect your digestive system. The following is a list of those conditions, with links to additional information on each. The information about the following conditions is meant as a reference only and should not be used as diagnostic treatment.

 

The doctors of Gastroenterology of Southern Indiana must often perform routine procedures for the evaluation and treatment of many digestive tract problems. The information below is meant as a reference only and should not be used as diagnostic treatment.

 

Cirrhosis

Digestive System

Your liver is the true workhorse of your digestive system, performing an astonishing number of vital functions, and is critical to survival. It controls infections, removes bacteria and toxins from your blood, processes what you take in, including nutrients, hormones and drugs, produces proteins that regulate blood clotting, helps absorb fats (including cholesterol) and more. It can even regenerate its own damaged cells. Cirrhosis causes the liver to deteriorate and eventually malfunction, and is the twelfth leading cause of death among diseases. It can be caused by heavy alcohol consumption, hepatitis C and obesity. Learn more…

Colitis

Digestive System

When you hear someone talk about ulcers, they're often referring to ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease that produces ulcers (sores) and inflammation in the inner lining of the large intestine, which includes the colon and the rectum. Your large intestine absorbs water from stool and changes it from a liquid to a solid. For patients with colitis, inflammation deteriorates the lining of the colon, leading to bleeding, pus, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. The cause of ulcerative colitis is still unknown, although it can be hereditary. Learn more…

Crohn's Disease

Digestive System

Like colitis, Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, most commonly the ileum, the end part of the small intestine. The inflammation can cause pain and diarrhea, and over time, can slow the movement of food through the intestine, causing pain or cramps. It can be difficult to diagnose because it shares symptoms with other disorders such as ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. It seems to run in some families, and occurs in people of all ages, but most often appears between the ages of 13 and 30. Its cause is unknown, but it appears to result from an abnormal reaction by the immune system that causes it to attack bacteria, foods, and other substances that are harmless or even beneficial. Learn more…

Diverticulosis & Diverticulitis

Digestive System

Small pouches called diverticula can develop in the lining of the colon, or large intestine, and bulge outward through weak spots, and the resulting condition is diverticulosis. It's found in about 10% of Americans over age 40 and half of people age 60 and older. In 10 - 25% of cases, the pouches become inflamed, which is called diverticulitis. Patients with diverticulosis may have no symptoms or discomfort, while the most common symptom of diverticulitis is abdominal pain, the intensity of which may fluctuate. Diverticulitis can lead to bleeding, infections, small tears, called perforations; or blockages in the colon, all of which require treatment. Learn more…

Gallstones

Digestive System

Gallstones are small, pebble-like substances that develop in the gallbladder. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball, one large stone or hundreds of tiny stones — or a combination of the two. They can move from the gallbladder and lodge in any of the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine, blocking the normal flow of bile and causing inflammation in the gallbladder, the ducts or even the liver or pancreas. Over time, severe damage or infection can occur, and left untreated, the condition can be fatal. Women are twice as likely as men to develop gallstones. Other risk factors include family history, weight, diet, rapid weight loss, age, ethnicity, use of cholesterol-lowering drugs and diabetes. Gallbladder attacks can cause steady pain in the right upper abdomen that increases rapidly and lasts from 30 minutes to several hours, pain in the back between the shoulder blades or pain under the right shoulder. Learn more…


GERD/Heartburn and Reflux Esophagitis

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more serious form of the more common gastroesophageal reflux (GER), or acid reflux. Each occurs when the valve between the esophagus and stomach opens spontaneously or does not close properly and stomach contents rise up into the esophagus, along with digestive juices or acids. The refluxed stomach acid touching the lining of the esophagus may cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn or acid indigestion. Persistent reflux that occurs more than twice a week is considered GERD, and it can lead to more serious health problems. People of all ages can have GERD, and the main symptom in adults is frequent heartburn or acid indigestion. Children and some adults may experience a dry cough, asthma symptoms, or trouble swallowing instead of heartburn. Factors which can contribute to GERD include a hiatal hernia, obesity, pregnancy, smoking, and the consumption of common foods such as chocolate, caffeine or alcohol, fatty and fried foods, spicy foods and more. Learn more…

H. Pylori and Peptic Ulcers

Digestive System

H. Pylori is a common bacteria that can cause sores on the lining of the stomach or the esophagus called peptic ulcers. About half a million people in the U.S. develop a peptic ulcer every year. Stress, spicy food, smoking and alcohol can worsen ulcers and prevent healing. H. pylori may be spread from food that has not been washed well or cooked properly, or from drinking water that has come from an unclean source. Abdominal discomfort is the most common symptom, usually between meals or during the night. Other symptoms include weight loss, poor appetite, bloating, burping, nausea, and vomiting. Learn more…

Hemorrhoids

Digestive System

Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins around the anus (external hemorrhoids) or in the lower rectum (internal hemorrhoids). Internal hemorrhoids may "prolapse," or protrude through the anus, often causing pain, discomfort, and anal itching. The most common symptom of internal hemorrhoids is bright red blood on stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement. A blood clot (called a thrombosis) may form in external hemorrhoids, causing bleeding, painful swelling, or a hard lump around the anus. About 75% of people have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives, and they're most common among adults ages 45 to 65, and in pregnant women. Hemorrhoids can be caused by chronic constipation or diarrhea, straining during bowel movements, sitting on the toilet for long periods of time, a lack of dietary fiber, pregnancy, or the weakening of the connective tissue in the rectum and anus that occurs with age. Learn more…

Hepatitis

While there are several types, in general, hepatitis refers to a viral infection that causes swelling and inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by the body's own immune cells, infections from viruses, bacteria, or parasites, damage to the liver caused by alcohol, poisonous mushrooms, or other poisons, or medications, such as an overdose of acetaminophen. It can start and get better quickly (acute hepatitis), or cause long-term disease (chronic hepatitis), which can lead to liver damage, liver failure or even liver cancer. Symptoms can include abdominal pain or distention, dark urine and pale or clay-colored stool, fatigue, low-grade fever, itching, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss. Learn more…

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome causes discomfort and distress, it does not lead to a serious disease. Most people can control their symptoms with diet, stress management, and prescribed medications, but it can be disabling. As many as 20% of adult Americans have symptoms of IBS, occurring more often in women than in men. It begins before the age of 35 in about 50% of patients. Typical symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort, but may also include constipation or diarrhea, which is frequent, loose, watery stools. People with diarrhea frequently feel an urgent and uncontrollable need to have a bowel movement. Learn more…

Lactose Intolerance

The inability to sufficiently digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products, lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose so they can be absorbed into the bloodstream. It can be genetic, or the result of injury to the small intestine due to a variety of diseases. It is not the same thing as milk allergy. Lactose intolerance is more likely to occur in adulthood, especially in older adults. Ethnicity and premature birth can also play a role. Symptoms can be mild or severe, appear 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming milk or milk products, and can include abdominal pain or bloating, gas, diarrhea or nausea. Learn more…

Pancreatitis

Digestive System

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine which secretes digestive juices and releases insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. When the pancreas is inflamed, the enzymes it produces attack and damage the pancreas itself. Whether acute (sudden, short-lived) or chronic (long-term), pancreatitis is serious and can lead to complications including bleeding, infection, and permanent tissue damage. Acute pancreatitis can be a life-threatening illness with severe complications, and affects over 200,000 people in the U.S. every year. It can be caused by gallstones, chronic, heavy alcohol use, abdominal trauma, medications, infections, tumors, and genetic abnormalities of the pancreas. Patients typically feel a gradual or sudden pain in the upper abdomen that sometimes extends through the back, and usually look and feel very ill. They may also experience a swollen and tender abdomen, nausea and vomiting, fever and a rapid pulse. Immediate medical attention is required. Severe acute pancreatitis may cause dehydration and low blood pressure. The heart, lungs, or kidneys can fail. If bleeding occurs in the pancreas, shock and even death may follow. Learn more…

Barrett’s Esophagus

When you eat or drink, your esophagus carries what you swallow to your stomach. If the contents of your stomach come back up into your esophagus, it’s called acid reflux. If that happens regularly over an extended period of time, it’s known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. As uncomfortable and inconvenient as GERD is, there’s an underlying danger that’s far more ominous. It can lead to something called Barrett’s Esophagus — and that can lead to cancer. But if you treat Barrett’s Esophagus in time, you can prevent cancer. All the acid and enzymes that come with acid reflux can damage your esophagus, turning the tissue lining your esophagus into intestinal tissue. That’s Barrett’s esophagus — and when those abnormal cells grow in a rapid and uncontrolled manner, they invade the deeper layers of your esophagus, resulting in cancer of the esophagus, or esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC)m the most rapidly rising cancer in the U.S. This cancer can also spread beyond the esophagus. It’s often incurable because it’s frequently discovered at a late stage — even with aggressive therapy, the 5-year survival rate from EAC is only about 17%. If you have recurring acid reflux or GERD, you should absolutely be tested for the presence of Barrett’s Esophagus. (If you’re not sure whether you actually have recurring acid reflux or GERD, our team can help you find out as a first step). Learn more…