Conditions of the GI Tract

Read, download or print this information about common conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.

Gastroenterologic Procedures & Tests

Colonoscopy - A colonoscopy allows a doctor to look inside the entire large intestine. The procedure enables the physician to see things such as inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, and ulcers. It is most often used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum, but can also be used to look for causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits and to evaluate symptoms like abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and weight loss. Read More

Upper Endoscopy - Upper endoscopy enables the physician to look inside the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). The procedure might be used to discover the reason for swallowing difficulties, prolonged nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, esophagul bleeding, indigestion, abdominal pain, or chest pain. Upper endoscopy is also called EGD, which stands for esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Read More

Gastroenterologic Conditions

Barrett's esophagus - Barrett's esophagus is a condition resulting from ongoing irritation of the esophagus where its normal lining is replaced by the type of lining that is normally found in the intestine. Read More

Colon polyps - A polyp in the colon can be defined as any extra tissue that protrudes into the inside (or lumen) of the large intestine (colon), but typically is due to excess of the lining (epithelium). They vary in size from microscopic to several inches in diameter. Read More

Constipation - Constipation means that a person has three bowel movements or fewer in a week. The stool is hard and dry. Sometimes it is painful to pass. You may feel 'draggy' and full. When you understand what causes constipation, you can take steps to prevent it. Read More

Crohn's disease - causes inflammation of parts of the digestive tract. The inflammation, mostly caused by sores called ulcers, can cause pain and diarrhea. Crohn's disease can sometimes be hard to diagnose because its symptoms are like the symptoms of other GI diseases. Crohn's disease can affect any area of the GI tract, but it most often affects a part of the small intestine called the ileum. Read More

Diverticular disease - This disease affects the colon. Diverticular disease is made up of two conditions: diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Read More

GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) - Many people refer to this disorder as heartburn or indigestion. GERD is caused when the muscular valve at the lower end of the esophagus relaxes, allowing the contents of the stomach to backwash, or reflux, into the esophagus. These gastric contents contain strong acids and bile that are very irritating to the lining of the esophagus. Read More

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) - This bacteria is common worldwide and especially impacts the elderly, the very young, and those in Third World countries where sanitation is problematic. However, just because you have been exposed to H. pylori doesn't necessarily mean you will be affected by its presence. Read More

Hemorrhoids - The term hemorrhoids refers to a condition in which the veins around the anus or lower rectum are swollen and inflamed. Hemorrhoids may result from straining to move stool. Read More

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) - IBS is a functional disorder of the digestive system; that is, it is an abnormality in the way the gut normally functions, but does not have a known specific structural or biochemical alteration. It is sometimes referred to as spastic colon, mucous colitis, spastic colitis, nervous stomach, or irritable colon. Approximately 10-15% of Americans suffer with this disorder, and it is the most common diagnosis made by gastroenterologists. Read More

Sprue/Celiac disease - Sprue/celiac disease is an intestinal disorder that results from an exaggerated immune response to gluten (also called Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy). When people with sprue eat foods containing gluten, an allergic-like reaction by their immune system results in damage to the normal, tiny, fingerlike protrusions (villi) of the lining of the small intestine. Read More

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Richard H. Lash, MD, FCAP, FACG
Richard H. Lash, MD, FCAP, FACG

Chief Medical Officer and Group Head, Medical Practice

Richard H. Lash, MD, FCAP, FACG
James M. Gulizia, MD, PhD

Vice President and Medical Director of GI Pathology