Improving your digestive health

Gastroenterology is the medical specialty focused on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving the digestive system.

Our expert team addresses a wide range of problems involving the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver; and related symptoms including diarrhea, constipation, nausea, swallowing problems, heartburn, ulcers, colitis, hepatitis, jaundice and colon polyps.

Often, patients are referred to a gastroenterologist in cases of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding or a change in bowel habits if the diagnosis is unclear or when specialized diagnostic procedures are needed. These procedures may include:


In this 30-minute procedure, the gastroenterologist uses a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope to look inside the large intestine and rectum. A colonoscopy helps find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors and areas of inflammation or bleeding. Tissue samples may be collected for biopsy and abnormal growths may be removed. Patients receive a sedative and/or painkiller to help them relax and better tolerate any discomfort such as pressure, bloating or cramping.

Upper endoscopy

In this procedure, the gastroenterologist examines the lining of the upper gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine) using a thin, flexible tube equipped with a lens and light source.

Upper endoscopy helps evaluate symptoms of upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing. It is the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper digestive tract – and more accurate than X-ray for detecting inflammation, ulcers and tumors of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The gastroenterologist may use upper endoscopy to obtain a tissue sample for further evaluation.

ERCP or Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography

This technique combines endoscopy and fluoroscopy, or X-ray, to diagnose and treat certain problems of the bile and pancreatic ducts, which provide a drainage route from the liver or pancreas to the intestine. Through the endoscope, the gastroenterologist can see the inside of the stomach and duodenum and inject dyes into the ducts so they can be seen on X-rays.

ERCP is used primarily to diagnose and treat conditions of the bile ducts, including gallstones; inflammatory strictures (scars); leaks from trauma or surgery; and cancer.