*Individual results may vary.
The Upper GI tract is commonly defined as that part of the tract that extends from your mouth to the ileum (last section of your small intestine). It includes your esophagus, stomach and duodenum.
The lower GI tract commonly refers to the section of your intestinal tract that goes from the cecum to the anus—or your cecum, colon, rectum and anus.
This is a diagnostic test we use to evaluate the lining of your GI tract. An upper endoscopy is used to detect problems in the esophagus and stomach. A colonoscopy uses an endoscope to screen the entire length of your colon.
An endoscope is a thin and flexible tube with a small camera at its end that sends visuals to a monitor. In gastroenterological procedures, it is used to detect any growths or abnormalities along the intestinal tract.
With capsule endoscopy, we have you swallow a capsule that encases a digital camera and transmits wireless data to a recording device you wear for several hours. When the images are downloaded, we can view the small intestine between the stomach and colon. This is an area that is difficult for us to examine by other means. It allows us to find obscure bleeding sites and tumors and to identify Crohn’s disease (inflammation of the small intestine).
Dysphagia means difficulty swallowing and can have many different causes. The causes fall into two main categories: mechanical or motor. People often describe the sensation of having something stuck in their throats. Depending on your diagnosis, we may treat dysphagia with dietary changes, medication or surgery. It’s important to diagnose your problem early, before it becomes more difficult to treat.
Barrett’s Esophagus occurs when a different cell type replaces the normal cells that line the inside of the esophagus. The cells that normally line the esophagus are called squamous cells. These cells turn into intestinal type cells in Barrett’s Esophagus. Over time these cells can develop into precancerous cells and eventually cause esophageal cancer. Barrett’s Esophagus is directly related to acid refluxing from the stomach repeatedly into the esophagus. This is also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD.
IBS is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal condition. 10 to 15% of all Americans have this disorder. It is characterized by altered bowel habits and chronic abdominal pain. IBS can affect all ages. Twice as many women as men have the condition.
People with IBS report having constipation, diarrhea or both. The constipation of IBS involves infrequent stools, hard stools, straining, feeling of incomplete evacuation, and difficult stool passage. The diarrhea of IBS involves frequent loose stools, stools preceded by extreme urgency to defecate, and the feeling of incomplete evacuation. Many people with IBS report passing mucous-covered stools.
It is important to identify factors that may trigger or worsen symptoms by keeping a food diary, recognizing behaviors, and recognizing life stressors. Treatments may include:
About 75 million cases of likely food poisoning are reported each year in the United States. The average American will have food poisoning once every 3 to 4 years. The symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. It can occasionally affect the nervous system, liver and other organs of the body.
Food poisoning can be due to a virus, bacteria or parasite. Outbreaks of viral infection usually occur in close living situations such as nursing homes, military bases, schools and cruise ships. It is associated with contaminated food and water and can be spread from person to person. Rotavirus is a common virus that affects primarily children. Because it is resistant to many cleaning agents, it’s essential to use bleach to wash every surface that may have been touched by someone with the virus.
Bacteria is a relatively uncommon cause of diarrhea. Symptoms usually last for only 3 to 4 days and resolve without medications. Salmonella causes 75% of bacterial infections and can be found in undercooked eggs, meat, dairy products, and contaminated fresh vegetables. Turtles, reptiles, cats and dogs have also been shown to spread this disease. E. Coli, found in contaminated food, is a bacterium that can cause diarrhea. Some of these infections can cause severe illness.
Giardia is the most common parasitic infection in the United States and is spread through contaminated food and water as well as person-to-person.
It is important to see a gastroenterologist if a diarrhea illness does not improve after a few days. When you visit your gastroenterologist, it is important to give a detailed history of your symptoms, when the symptoms began, and what was eaten before the onset of diarrhea. We may decide to order stool studies, blood work, or obtain an x-ray to help with the diagnosis. A careful physical exam is important to look for a skin rash, swollen joints, signs of dehydration and other problems that can be associated with different infections.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, grown either in a laboratory or in cultured milk products that have shown certain intestinal health benefits such as reducing unpleasant symptoms (gas, bloating, diarrhea and abdominal cramping) as well as boosting the immune system.
Probiotics have been advertised as promoting good health and improving the immune system. The information uncovered by scientists and healthcare providers to date appear to support the use of probiotics for a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. That said, the long-term benefits of probiotics at the present time are unknown as are the long-term risks. The consensus opinion among healthcare providers is that a healthy diet high in fiber and low in fat in combination with plenty of exercise is the best medicine for the majority of the population. The benefits of using probiotics are not long lasting and will generally disappear within 2 to 4 weeks after you stop using them. It is important to remember that if you have any serious medical problems or long-standing medical problems that you speak with your health care provider before taking probiotics.
1100 Wescott Drive
Suite 206 / 207
Flemington, NJ 08822
135 West End Avenue
Somerville, NJ 08876