Treatments for the Stomach and Gastrointestinal System
Gastroenterology focuses on the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive system and various digestive disorders. The organs of the digestive system include the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts. The Valley Health System gastroenterologists evaluate the following signs and symptoms to find their root cause:
- Abdominal pain
- Acid reflux or heartburn
- Blood in vomit or stool
- Bloating or gas
- Difficulty swallowing
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If you need a referral to a physician at The Valley Health System, call our free physician referral service at 702-388-4888 or search for a doctor online.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, affects millions of Americans and occurs when stomach acid or intestinal bile leaks from the stomach into the esophagus.
This gastrointestinal disorder-caused process is known as acid reflux and can cause heartburn and irritate the esophagus. Prolonged acid reflux can cause chronic inflammation of the esophagus and can lead to serious health problems including a condition known as Barrett's esophagus. In this condition, the lining of the esophagus changes to resemble the lining of the stomach. While there are no symptoms of Barrett's esophagus, the condition has been linked to cancer of the esophagus.
The Valley Health System’s hospitals can examine your esophagus for precancerous cells and offer early treatment options if necessary.
GERD Treatment Options
The Valley Health System gastroenterologists use a variety of treatment options. Medication is the most common treatment, and diet and lifestyle changes may also be used for gastrointestinal, GI tract issues.
Oftentimes, people can improve their symptoms by avoiding alcohol and spicy, greasy or fatty foods. Other tips to avoid heartburn include eating smaller meals, avoiding meals near bedtime and losing weight if necessary. Over-the-counter medications can also be used for relief.
Procedures are also available that enable doctors to help diagnose and treat GERD and other gastrointestinal conditions. Treatments include:
- Manometry to measure muscle contractions in the esophagus and evaluate whether more invasive treatment is needed.
- Radio frequency ablation (RFA), which is an endoscopic procedure to treat Barrett's esophagus and reduce its progression.
- Reflux pH and impedance to detect acid reflux by measuring the amount of liquid or acid in the esophagus during normal activities.
- Endoscopic ultrasound helps assess digestive disease by using high-frequency sound waves that produce detailed images of the lining and walls of the digestive tract.
- Pillcam/capsule endoscopy, which is a minimally invasive procedure used to detect diseases of the small bowel including Crohn's disease.
- Spyglass provides direct visualization of bile-duct quadrants for diagnosis and treatment.
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), which is a procedure that combines upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and X-rays to treat conditions of the bile and pancreatic ducts.
- Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF), a non-surgical procedure that offers relief from acid reflux without surgical incisions.
Advanced Treatment Options for Common Digestive Disorders
- Argon plasma coagulation for intestinal lesions
- Botox treatment for esophageal and gastric dysmotility
- Complex colonic polyp endoscopic therapy
- Endoluminal stenting of malignant stricture
- Esophageal and gastric varices therapy
- Esophageal pH studies
- Fecal transplantation for refractory C. difficile infection
- Hemorrhoid banding
- Radiofrequency ablation for Barrett’s esophagus
- Small bowel capsule endoscopy
- Trans-oral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) for chronic acid-reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
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