CaroMont Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Common Conditions and Treatments

Acid Reflux, Heartburn and GERD | Heartburn is the burning sensation you feel in the upper abdomen behind the breastbone when stomach acid splashes up and out of your stomach. Although it may have several causes, it is often associated with acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, a condition where stomach acid gets into your esophagus.

Barrett’s Esophagus | Barrett's Esophagus is a condition where normal esophageal tissue changes to tissue that resembles the lining of the intestine. This condition is a complication that is caused by chronic acid reflux or GERD. Patients with Barrett’s esophagus have an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

Celiac Disease | Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease of the small intestine caused by gluten intolerance. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If you have celiac disease, ingesting gluten causes inflammation of the inner lining of the small intestine resulting in abdominal pain, gas/bloating, diarrhea and unexplained weight loss. This condition can be treated by following a strict gluten-free diet.

Cirrhosis | Cirrhosis is a condition in which the liver does not function properly due to irreversible scarring that blocks the flow of blood to the liver. Symptoms of cirrhosis include jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes and tongue), itching, loss of appetite and extreme tiredness. The disease progresses slowly over time and can lead to fluid build-up in the abdomen, bleeding from the intestinal tract, mental status changes and liver cancer. Cirrhosis can be caused by long-term excessive alcohol abuse, hepatitis B and C infections and fatty liver disease, as well as some autoimmune and genetic disorders.

Colorectal Polyps and Cancer | Colorectal cancer, or cancer of the large intestine, usually begins as a polyp, an abnormal growth on the inner lining of the colon. Colon polyps often don’t cause symptoms , but while they are usually harmless, some can develop into cancer. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the Unites States. However, if caught early through regular screenings and polyp removal, colorectal cancer can often be prevented completely.

Constipation | Constipation is a common condition defined by infrequent and difficult bowel movements. While occasional constipation is very common, chronic constipation is typically defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week for several weeks or longer.

Diarrhea | Diarrhea is a common condition defined by frequent, loose and watery bowel movements. Occasional diarrhea is very common and, in most cases, can be treated with over-the-counter medicines. However, some conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, can cause diarrhea to occur more often.

Diverticulosis | Diverticulosis occurs when pouches (diverticula) develop in the colon. Typically, diverticula do not cause symptoms. However, in some cases the pouches may become inflamed. This can cause abdominal pain, fever and diarrhea. In rare cases, the pouches may bleed, resulting in bloody bowel movements. If this occurs, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Esophagitis | Esophagitis is irritation or inflammation of the esophagus. Esophagitis can be painful and may make swallowing difficult. Common causes include acid reflux or medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen.

Anal Fissure | An anal fissure is a small tear in the lining of the anus that can cause pain, itching or bleeding during bowel movements. Initial treatments typically include increasing dietary fiber intake and using topical ointments. In most cases, a fissure will heal in 1–2 weeks.

Gastritis | Gastritis is an irritation, inflammation or erosion of the stomach lining that can be caused by excessive alcohol use, the use of certain medications (most commonly nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs) or by a bacterial infection called Helicobacter pylori.

Hiatal Hernia | Hiatal hernia is a condition in which a portion of the stomach slides up into the chest cavity. Hiatal hernias are relatively common and small in most cases. Symptoms include heartburn, chest discomfort and difficulty swallowing.

Hemorrhoids | Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum near the anal canal. This is a very common condition and symptoms may include itching, discomfort and/or bleeding. There are several different treatment options available, from a high-fiber diet and over-the-counter medications to medical procedures for more severe cases.

Hepatitis | Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. This condition has many different causes such as the the most common cause, the hepatitis viruses Other reasons include alcohol, fat accumulation in the liver, certain medications and autoimmune disorders or genetic disorders.

Crohn's Disease | Crohn's disease is a chronic bowel condition that causes inflammation of the lower part of the small intestine (ileum) and the large intestine (colon). Although Crohn’s disease can be painful or even debilitating, therapies and treatment have proven to greatly reduce symptoms or pain. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloody stools or perianal disease.

Ulcerative Colitis | Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and sores in the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum. Symptoms may include rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome | Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic GI disorder that can cause abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and changes in bowel habits such as diarrhea and constipation.

Pancreatitis | Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, a digestive organ that produces enzymes to digest food in the small intestine. Inflammation of the pancreas can be caused by many factors, but often is due to excessive alcohol consumption or to a blockage of the pancreatic duct from a gallstone.

Ulcers (Peptic Ulcer Disease) | Peptic ulcers are caused when the inner lining of the stomach or upper intestine is damaged, typically by a bacterial infection known as H. pylori or anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and bleeding. Medication to decrease stomach acid may be prescribed to aid healing, and if the ulcer is caused by a bacterial infection, you may need an antibiotic.