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Gastrointestinal Illnesses

Are you having stomach problems? The gastrointestinal specialists at Digestive Health Center PA, have diagnosed and treated a variety of gastrointestinal problems. We use our knowledge, skill , and state-of-the-art facilities to find out what is causing your gastrointestinal problems and then work to find solutions as quickly as possible. Below are some of the illnesses we diagnose and treat. Also if you are experiencing abdominal pain or acid reflux please visit the focus pages to learn more about your illness and options for relief.

Polyps - A colonoscopy done, or any other colon cancer-screening test, helps the gastroenterologist look for polyps. A polyp is a small abnormal growth that can appear on the inner colon lining, also known as the large intestine, and it sticks out into the colon passageway. Polyps can be raised or they can have a flat surface and can be classified three different ways: benign, meaning they are not cancerous; pre-cancerous, meaning they could become cancer, or they are already cancerous. Polyp removal is an important tool in preventing colon cancer.


​Celiac Sprue - Celiac sprue is a digestive problem that damages the small intestine, where the most crucial part of digestion takes place. It is considered an autoimmune disorder, which simply means that the body’s own immune system is turning on itself. During a normal digestive process, the small intestine’s job is to absorb the nutrients in food. Celiac sprue interferes with that process and the people who suffer from it cannot tolerate gluten.


Diverticular Disease - Diverticular disease is another one of the most common gastrointestinal problems, affecting around 30 million Americans. It is more common for those over the age of 40 and the risk increases as you age. Diverticulosis is a condition in which small balloon-like sacs develop in the colon and they balloon outward from the inside of the colon wall. Is there is just one it is called a diverticulum, and if there are several it is known as diverticula. They can occur anywhere in the colon, but the more common near the end or on the left side of the colon.

Gastroesophageal Reflux - Gastroesophogeal reflux is when the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus. If reflux is allowed to go on without treatment it can continue to damage and become gastroesophogeal reflux disease. Heartburn that causes you to wake up is particularly aggressive. Research has shown that snoring, obesity and drinking carbonated beverages may contribute to this nighttime heartburn. Weight gain can also cause the reflux to worsen and there is research that shows there may be a connection between reflux and heart problems. Reflux can be caused by a variety of things and your gastroenterologist can analyze the symptoms and help find a treatment that will work for you. The most common treatment is medication, however in serious cases surgery might be necessary.

H. Pylori - H. pylori is an infection that occurs when a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori infects the stomach or part of the small intestine and can be contracted through direct contact with saliva or fecal matter or through the spread of untreated water. Many researchers believe that it affects at least half of the people in the world. Like many gastrointestinal problems, it can have varying symptoms depending on the person and can include nausea, vomiting and weight loss.

Hepatitis - Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can cause harm or death of liver cells and is spread by fecal contamination, contaminated water and contact with infected blood or body fluids. There are many different kinds of hepatitis and some can be mild and can go unnoticed while others can be severe and life threatening. Sometimes a persons immune system can eliminate some of the hepatitis viruses, and some can be controlled using medication.

Inflammatory Bowel Disorder - Inflammatory Bowel Disorder has similar symptoms to IBS, but is more serious. IBD is actually a term for a variety of gastrointestinal diseases. An estimated 2 million Americans have IBD and it is usually categorized as either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis is the less serious of the two and generally affects the colon and/or rectum whereas Crohn’s disease can affect the esophagus, stomach, colon and small intestines.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems and affects about 20% of adults. IBS usually begins during early adulthood, very beginning after the age of 50. For those who have IBS it simply means that the intestinal system does not work like normal, causing symptoms like abdominal pain, heartburn or diarrhea and constipation.

Lactose Intolerance - Lactose intolerance the inability to digest lactose, the complex, natural sugar found in milk and milk products and can be caused by having an inadequate amount of lactase, a deficiency of lactose, or can be caused by taking certain medications. The symptoms worsen if the deficiency increases. Discomfort can begin as early as thirty minutes after eating something with lactose in it and as late as eight hours. There are diet changes and medications that can help make lactose intolerance easier to deal with.

Pancreatitis - Pancreatitis is when the pancreas is inflamed or infected and the damage occurs when the body’s own digestive enzymes attack the pancreas, a process called autodigestion. The cause of pancreatic cancer, is still being researched, but gastroenteroinstestinal specialists have found that that heavy smokers are twice as likely to develop pancreatic cancer. High fat diets combined with heavy alcohol use can also increase the risk of pancreatitis. Symptoms usually begin with pain in the upper abdomen and can escalate quickly and become more severe and can include fever, dehydration, clammy skin, nausea and vomiting.

Peptic Ulcers - Peptic ulcer disease is when ulcers occur in the lining of any part of the gastrointestinal tract. These ulcers are not normally dangerous, however they are very painful and can occasionally be cancerous. One in ten Americans will have an ulcer at some point in their life and most ulcers tend to occur between the ages of 20 and 50. The ulcers have a tendency to return so it is important to stay in contact with your gastroenterologist. Symptoms range from heartburn and indigestion, to a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.

Ulcerative Colitis Ulcerative colitis affects the inner lining of the large intestine (colon) causing the rectum to become inflamed. It can develop slowly or begin suddenly, and has a wide array of symptoms. The most common symptoms are cramping in the lower abdomen and bloody diarrhea.