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Gastrointestinal care

There is no need to suffer with a digestive problem in silence. The providers at Novant Health Gastroenterology Brunswick are here to listen to your concerns, analyze your symptoms, deliver an accurate diagnosis, and then develop a treatment or management plan that is right for you. 

We regularly diagnose and treat common and complex gastrointestinal disorders including:

Constipation

Marked by infrequent or uncomfortable bowel movements, constipation occurs when the large intestine absorbs too much water. This can be caused by certain medications, lack of exercise, not drinking enough liquids or not eating enough fiber. Physical exams, barium enemas, and colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy procedures can be used to diagnose constipation.

Chronic diarrhea

When stool is consistently watery instead of solid, the condition is called chronic diarrhea. This can be caused by a virus or bacterial infection, a food allergy, a medication, or an intestinal disease or disorder. Blood tests, imaging tests and sigmoidoscopy procedures can all be used to investigate the cause of diarrhea. Treatment can involve replacing lost fluids and sometimes taking medications to clear up an infection.

Diverticular disease

Some people have small pouches, called diverticula, that bulge out through weak spots in the large intestine. Diverticular disease occurs when those pouches become inflamed or infected. It can cause cramps, bloating, constipation and abdominal tenderness. A physical exam, abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, barium enema, or sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy procedures can all be used to diagnose diverticular disease. Treatment can include diet modifications or medication. In some cases, surgery is necessary.

Gastritis

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining. It can be caused by drinking alcohol, smoking or repeatedly eating spicy foods. The result can be stomach pain, abdominal bleeding, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. A blood test, barium swallow or EGD can help diagnose gastritis. Treatment can involve medications as well as lifestyle and diet modifications.

Acid reflux (heartburn)

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid travels into the esophagus. This happens when the muscle holding the stomach closed relaxes too much. The result is a burning pain, a dry cough or even asthma symptoms. A barium swallow or EGD can be used to diagnose acid reflux. Treatment includes diet and lifestyle modifications as well as medication.

Hiatal & inguinal hernias

When the top part of the stomach pushes into the chest through a small opening the diaphragm, the condition is called a hiatal hernia. This can cause heartburn if acid is trapped and backs up into the esophagus. A chest X-ray or barium swallow can confirm a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia often requires no treatment, but medicine can help reduce acid or relieve discomfort. An inguinal hernia happens when part of the intestine bulges out through a weakness in the abdominal wall. This can lead to a lump, pressure or pain in the groin, and in some cases can also cause nausea and vomiting. X-rays or CT scans can help diagnose the problem. Often, surgery is the best treatment option.

Ulcers

A sore in the lining of the stomach or duodenum is called a peptic ulcer. Most develop as a result of a bacterial infection. Ulcers can cause gnawing or burning pain, as well as bleeding or even perforation of the stomach in some cases. A barium swallow, EGD, and blood or tissue tests can diagnose the problem. Medications including antibiotics are often the best treatment. Surgery can help in some cases.

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