Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology is the study and treatment of conditions associated with your digestive system ranging from the mouth to the anus and including the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver.

Consultant gastroenterologists specialise in the movement of material through your stomach and intestine, from the digestion and absorption of nutrients into your body to the removal of waste from your digestive system.

Within our hospitals our dedicated gastroenterology teams adopt a multidisciplinary approach, so that specialists in all areas, including gastroenterology, hepatology, radiology, endoscopy, histopathology, pathology, dietetics, oncology and cancer, work together to provide comprehensive care and support for every patient.

We offer high quality gastroenterological services for both inpatients and outpatients, in comfortable surroundings across our hospital sites. We provide a full range of endoscopy services to diagnose and treat problems of the digestive system including gastroscopy for the gullet and stomach, colonoscopy for the large bowel and ERCP for the pancreas and main bile ducts.

We are committed to the prevention, diagnosis, and management of all types of digestive disease including common conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, pancreatic disorders, colon polyps and cancer.

Common gastroenterology conditions we treat

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the long-term (chronic) inflammation of all or part of your gut (gastrointestinal tract). It is mainly used to describe two conditions: Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's disease. Ulcerative Colitis only affects the colon (large intestine), while Crohn’s disease can affect all of the digestive system.

There is no cure for these diseases. Treatments, in the form of medicines, aim to alleviate and control symptoms and prevent them from recurring. If you have a severe case of Ulcerative Colitis surgery may be necessary to remove an inflamed section of the digestive system. Around 60 to 75% of people with Crohn’s disease will require surgery to repair digestive system damage and treat complications of the condition.

Dyspepsia

Dyspesia (indigestion) is a common complaint that causes: pain or discomfort in your upper abdomen (stomach) or chest, heartburn, feeling sick and belching. It’s most common after eating but it can happen anytime. Once diagnosed, lifestyle changes such as losing excessive weight, smoking cessation and stress reduction together with over the counter or prescription medicines may be recommended to relieve the symptoms.

Pancreatic disorders

The pancreas is a gland behind your stomach and in front of your spine. It has dual roles: as a digestive system organ it produces juices that help break down your food in particular protein and, it makes the hormone insulin that helps to control your blood sugar levels.

Some problems that affect the pancreas include: acute and chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas that occurs when digestive enzymes start digesting the pancreas itself), pancreatic cancer, type 1 and type 2 diabetes (conditions in which your body can’t control the amount of glucose in your blood) and cystic fibrosis (a genetic disorder in which thick, sticky mucus can also block tubes in your pancreas).

Acute pancreatitis may be treated by giving intravenous fluids through a drip, painkillers, medications or gallstone removal. Chronic pancreatitis is treated with lifestyle changes, medicines and sometimes surgery. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery may be recommended for pancreatic cancer depending upon the stage of the cancer. There isn't a cure for type 1 diabetes but it is controlled by taking insulin and making simple lifestyle changes. Treatment for type 2 diabetes is aimed at controlling your blood glucose level including medicines, lifestyle changes and insulin.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a virus carried in your blood and body fluids that infects, inflames and damages your liver. Hepatitis B can be acute or chronic. Most people with acute hepatitis B will recover without treatment. For those with chronic Hepatitis B medicines may be prescribed.

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