Gastroenterology

Feel Better with Digestive Health Treatment

person holding their stomach in pain

Gastroenterology is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, and rectum. The liver, biliary system, and pancreas are connected to the gastrointestinal tract.

Conditions treated:

  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Fructose intolerance
  • Bleeding of the digestive tract
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Bloating, flatulence, gas
  • Heartburn
  • C. Difficile infection
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Celiac disease
  • Helicobacter pylori infection
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Colon polyps
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Liver diseases
  • Crohn's disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Diverticulitis/Diverticulosis

Symptoms of gastrointestinal problems

Symptoms vary depending on the affected area of the gastrointestinal tract. General symptoms that can indicate problems include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Pencil-shaped bowel movements
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Digestive problems
  • Swallowing problems
  • Jaundice

Appointments

A physician referral is not required, although many of our patients are referred by their primary-care providers.

Bring these to your first appointment:

  • Insurance cards, including primary, secondary and prescription insurance
  • List of medicines you are taking including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbal remedies and other supplements
  • List of your medicine allergies, if any
  • Medical history
  • Photo ID
  • Prescription cards

Please give us 24 hours' notice if you need to change your appointment.

Prescription refills

Please request prescription refills two weeks before your last dose because many prescriptions require approval from insurance companies.

After hours: Call our clinic and press 1 to reach our answering service. An operator will help you talk to a health care provider if needed. You may leave nonemergency messages, which will be answered on the next working day.

Colorectal cancer

Facts about colorectal cancer

  • More than 90 percent of colorectal cancer cases occur in people 50 and older.
  • Iowa and Illinois are among the top 25 percent of states and the District of Columbia with the highest incidence of colorectal cancer.
  • Black people have the highest rates of getting and dying of colorectal cancer, followed by white, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native people.
  • Screening tests are important because colorectal cancer usually has no symptoms in the earliest - and most treatable - stages.
  • About 62 to 70 percent of Iowans have colorectal screenings as recommended.

Lifestyle risk factors for colorectal cancer

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating a low-fiber, high-fat diet
  • Eating few fruits and vegetables
  • Not exercising or being physically active
  • Using tobacco

Colonoscopy and EGD

Gastroenterologists order and perform many types of diagnostic procedures. The most-common are colonoscopy and EGD.

Colonoscopy allows the gastroenterologist to look inside the entire large intestine, which includes the rectum and colon. It uses an instrument called a colonoscope, which has a camera attached to the end of a long, flexible tube that is the width of an index finger. The physician views images from the scope on a monitor. The walls of the large intestine are thoroughly inspected for abnormalities such as inflamed or bleeding tissue and polyps. Small samples of tissue are taken for examination. If a polyp is found, it will be removed and checked for cancer cells.

EGD is short for esophagogastroduodenoscopy. It is a test in which the gastroenterologist thoroughly inspects the inside of the upper digestive tract using a flexible instrument called an endoscope that is about the diameter of an index finger. A camera at the tip of the endoscope allows the physician to see the esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine to determine the cause of symptoms to explain the results of X-rays or other diagnostic tests.