Conditions & Procedures | Conditions

CONDITIONS

  • Colon Polyps and Cancer
  • Diverticulosis & Diverticulitis
  • Esophagitis, Gastritis & Stricture
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Heartburn & Reflux
  • Helicobacter Pylori (Stomach Infection)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Pancreas Disease
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD)
  • Ulcerative Colitis

NOTE----Below are the definitions that link to each of the conditions listed above when link is clicked

 

A colon polyp is a growth on the surface of the large intestine, or colon. While some colon polyps are benign, meaning they are not cancer, other types of polyps may already be cancer or can become cancer later.

While anyone get colon polyps, certain people are more like to get them than others. You have a greater chance of getting polyps if you are 50 years of age or older, have had polyps before, if someone in your family has had polyps, or if someone in your family has had colon cancer.

You may also be more likely to develop colon polyps if you eat a lot of fatty foods, smoke, drink alcohol, are overweight, or don't exercise.

A colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy are the tests used to check for colon polyps. If polyps are found, the doctor will remove them during the procedure in most cases. The polyps are then tested for cancer.

If you have had colon polyps, you should get tested regularly in the future.

 

Diverticulosis is a condition in which small pouches (called diverticula) bulge outward through weak spots in the lining of the colon.

When these pouches become inflamed, the condition is called diverticulitis. Together, diverticulosis and diverticulitis are called diverticular disease.

A high-fiber diet may reduce the symptoms of diverticulosis by keeping the stool soft, thereby lowering pressure on the inside of the colon so that bowel contents can move through easily.

If diverticulitis develops, treatment focuses on clearing up the inflammation and infection by resting the colon, and preventing complications.

 

Gastritis is a condition in which the stomach lining becomes inflamed. When the inflammation is sudden and severe, it is called acute gastritis. Inflammation lasting for a long period of time is called chronic gastritis. Esophagitis is a general term for any inflammation, irritation, or swelling of the esophagus, the tube that leads from the back of the mouth to the stomach. Gastritis may cause pain in the upper abdomen, but often people with gastritis do not have any symptoms. Because many conditions can cause similar symptoms, gastritis is sometimes difficult to diagnose.

 Esophagitis is frequently caused by the backflow of acid-containing fluid from the stomach to the esophagus, a condition called gastroesophageal reflux. An autoimmune disorder called eosinophilic esophagitis also causes this condition.  Persons with weakened immune systems due to HIV and certain medications (such as corticosteroids) may develop infections that lead to esophagitis.

 An esophageal stricture is a gradual narrowing of the esophagus, which can lead to swallowing difficulties. The strictures are caused by scar tissue that builds up in the esophagus.  When the lining of the esophagus is damaged, scarring develops. When scarring occurs, the lining of the esophagus becomes stiff. In time, as this scar tissue continues to build up, the esophagus begins to narrow in that area. The result then is swallowing difficulties. One of the conditions that can lead to esophageal strictures is gastroesophageal reflux disease. Excessive acid is refluxed from the stomach up into the esophagus. This causes an inflammation in the lower part of the esophagus. Scarring will result after repeated inflammatory injury and healing, re-injury and rehealing. This scarring will produce damaged tissue in the form of a ring that narrows the opening of the esophagus.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a serious form of acid reflux or acid regurgitation. The main symptom of GERD in adults is frequent heartburn, which may cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat. If reflux occurs more than twice a week, it is considered GERD, and can lead to more serious health problems.

If you have had symptoms of GERD and have been using antacids or other reflux medications for more than two weeks, see your doctor. Certain lifestyle changes can help treat GERD, and include: stopping smoking, avoiding foods and beverages that make symptoms worse, losing weight, and eating smaller and more frequent meals.

Heartburn is the symptom of acid reflux and GERD; however, not everyone with acid reflux has heartburn and not everyone with heartburn has acid reflux. The symptom of heartburn can also be caused by other unusual things such as intestinal motility problems. Cardiac problems can also mimic heartburn and you should not confuse the two. Unexplained chest pain should be evaluated by an exercise stress test or EKG prior to an evaluation for gastrointestinal problems.

 

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium and is a major cause of peptic ulcers by damaging the mucous coating that protects the stomach and duodenum. This damage allows powerful stomach acid to irritate the lining of the stomach, and together with the H. pylori can cause the ulcer. While H. pylori causes more than half of all peptic ulcers, some people infected never develop ulcers, and may never have any symptoms.

 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder commonly characterized by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. While IBS does not lead to serious diseases, it can cause discomfort and distress, and in some people can become disabling.

While no cure has been found for IBS, there are many options available to treat particular symptoms. Some of these include ways to manage stress, and to make changes to your diet.

Sometimes medications can play an important part in relieving symptoms of IBS. Because symptoms differ, and because medications affect people differently, you must work with your doctor to find the best combination of medicine, diet and support to control your IBS symptoms.

 

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach. Normally, enzymes released by the pancreas become active when they reach the small intestine, but when the pancreas is inflamed, the enzymes inside the pancreas attack and damage the tissues that produce them.  Pancreatitis is serious and can lead to complications.

Acute pancreatitis usually requires hospitalization, and will resolve in a few days with treatment. Patients will be advised not to smoke, drink alcohol, or eat fatty foods. Sometimes more tests are needed to determine the cause of pancreatitis.

A peptic ulcer is a defect in the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small intestine, an area called the duodenum.  A peptic ulcer in the stomach is called a gastric ulcer. An ulcer in the duodenum is called a duodenal ulcer.

Normally, the lining of the stomach and small intestines is protected against the irritating acids produced in your stomach. If this protective lining stops working correctly and the lining breaks down, it results in inflammation (gastritis) or an ulcer. Most ulcers occur in the first layer of the inner lining. A hole that goes all the way through the stomach or duodenum is called a perforation. A perforation is a medical emergency.

The most common cause of such damage is infection of the stomach by bacteria called Helicobacter pylori(H.pylori). Most people with peptic ulcers have these bacteria living in their gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Yet, many people who have these bacteria in their stomach do not develop an ulcer.

Small ulcers may not cause any symptoms. Some ulcers can cause serious bleeding.  Abdominal pain is a common symptom, but it doesn't always occur. The pain can differ from person to person.

Ulcerative colitis is a disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the rectum and colon.  Ulcerative colitis can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are similar to other intestinal disorders. Each person experiences ulcerative colitis different, so treatments may vary.

Drug therapy may be used to maintain remission and to improve the quality of life for those with ulcerative colitis. Even though some people have long periods of time when the symptoms go away (remission), most patients' symptoms eventually return.  Severe symptoms sometimes require hospitalization, and a certain percentage of ulcerative colitis patients eventually require surgery to have their colons removed.

 

Sources:
National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine 

 


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