Gastrointestinal (GI) conditions— conditions that affect the components of the gastrointestinal tract, such as the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and rectum—are some of the most common health conditions that affect millions of Americans year after year. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), GI conditions account for 48.3 million outpatient visits in 2010 alone.
If you think you are a statistic and you need effective treatment, turn to one of our board-certified and fellowship-trained gastroenterologists at Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates. We offer high-quality, comprehensive care for the full range of GI conditions. Adjacent to our facility is our freestanding outpatient endoscopy center, which enables our patients to get quick confirmation of their diagnosis and prompt care without having to run around town.
Check out a few of the most common GI disorders we treat at our office:
Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is the circular band of muscle surrounding the tip of your esophagus, abnormally relaxes or weakens, causing a backflow of stomach acid into your esophagus. The persistent backflow can irritate and inflame your esophageal lining and thus create chest pain, difficulty swallowing, nausea, and other discomforts.
When left untreated, GERD can cause precancerous changes in your esophagus, among other complications. We typically recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and medications, but if your symptoms do not respond to conservative interventions, we may suggest anti-reflux surgery.
If you are experiencing diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and cramping, reduced appetite/weight loss, fatigue, and mouth sores, you could have the condition referred to as Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that can affect the entire GI tract. The exact cause is unknown, but diet, stress, and heredity have been shown to play critical roles in its development.
If you have any of the following symptoms, see one of our GI doctors right away:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in your stool
- Ongoing diarrhea despite over-the-counter medications
- Sudden weight loss
- Unexplained fever
Crohn’s disease may lead to potentially life-threatening health problems, such as liver disease and colon cancer. We can help you take optimal control of your condition and prevent the onset of any of these problems.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic digestive condition that affects the large intestine. The exact cause of IBS is unknown. However, experts suggest that intestinal muscle contractions, severe diarrhea caused either by bacteria or virus, and changes in the gut microbiota diversity (the diversity of microorganisms that live in your gut) are some of the factors that play a significant role in its development,
Typical symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. In some people, IBS can present severe symptoms, such as:
- Weight loss
- Rectal bleeding
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent pain
Such symptoms can overlap those of colon cancer and other serious conditions. If you’re experiencing them, we will run a thorough evaluation to pinpoint the cause and offer effective treatment options to help you take full control of your condition.
Gallstones refer to the hardened deposits of bile that develop in your gallbladder. They vary in size and composition. The two main types are stones made of cholesterol and stones made of bilirubin (pigment stones), which form after red blood cells are destroyed.
Gallstones typically produce no symptoms and may go unnoticed until you get your routine exams. However, when large stones block tubes in your gallbladder, you may experience cramping and pain in your upper right abdomen.
Often, gallstones do not need treatment, but if you present any symptoms, we recommend treatment: either medication to dissolve the gallstones, or cholecystectomy (surgery to remove the gallbladder to prevent recurrence of gallstones).
Medications are typically given to people who are not qualified for surgery; however, sometimes, they are not highly effective and may take months to years to dissolve gallstones. We can determine the best treatment option for your particular case.
Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune condition that attacks the lining of your small intestine. It is a reaction to gluten, a protein found in grains, such as barley, wheat, and rye.
Over time, celiac disease can cause extensive damage to the small intestine. This results in malabsorption of this important nutrient, causing growth and developmental problems in children, and anemia and osteoporosis in adults.
If you notice that your stomach reacts differently when you eat something with gluten, do not immediately shift into a gluten-free diet. Seek immediate medical assistance instead. A sudden diet change can affect the results of your test. Also, take note that this condition runs in families, so have your other family members tested as well.
To schedule a consultation with one of our GI doctors at Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates, you may reach us at (717) 245-2228, or you may use our secure appointment request form. We look forward to helping you take better care of your digestive health!