Chronic acid reflux, or GERD, can cause damage to your esophagus, the muscular tube that connects your mouth and your stomach.
The tissue in your esophagus is usually bright and pink. Acid damage can cause this tissue to thicken and turn red.
Although it is rare, Barrett’s Esophagus can increase your risk for esophageal cancer. It is important to monitor this condition, so that your doctor can provide treatment if you have any precancerous cells.
Symptoms + More About Barrett's Esophagus
C. Difficile Infection
Clostridioides difficile—commonly referred to as C. difficile or C. diff—is a bacteria that can infect the large intestine, or colon.
How do you get a C. difficile infection?
C. difficile infections often develop after antibiotic use. When you take an antibiotic for another type of infection, the medication doesn’t just target your illness—it can also harm the normal flora, or good bacteria, in your intestines. Without competition, C. difficile can take over and cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.
Is there treatment for C. difficile?
Most patients with C. difficile will get better with standard treatment, which includes changing medications, as well as staying hydrated and nourished during episodes of diarrhea.
In a small percentage of patients, antibiotic treatment doesn’t work to cure C. difficile infections. In these cases, your doctor might recommend a procedure called a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT). This involves taking a stool sample from a healthy person with good, diverse gut bacteria and implanting it into the colon of a person with C. difficile.
Learn More About C. diff
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is an illness that causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), which runs from your mouth to your anus. The most common symptoms of Crohn’s are diarrhea, abdominal pain and weight loss.
You and your provider will work together to develop a plan of care that may include medications, changes to your diet, stress reduction and other lifestyle changes, and integrative medicine. Some patients may need nutrition therapy or surgery.
Learn More About Crohn's
Fecal incontinence is a loss of control over your bowel movements. It can significantly impact your quality of life but is a medical issue that can be managed.
Patients with fecal incontinence are supported by both our Center for Digestive Health and our Center for Continence & Pelvic Health.
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Conditions of the Gallbladder
The gallbladder is a small abdominal organ that sits just below the liver. Its function is to store bile, a fluid produced by the liver to help your body digest fat. Conditions that affect the gallbladder include:
- Gallstones (Cholelithiasis)
Gallstones form when substances in bile, such as cholesterol, harden into “pebbles.” If a gallstone blocks bile from moving out of the gallbladder, you may experience nausea, vomiting, and pain. Some people may need to have their gallbladder removed. // LEARN MORE
- Inflammation (Cholecystitis)
Cholecystitis is the medical term for inflammation of the gallbladder. Inflammation can occur if gallstones block bile from moving out of the gallbladder, but it can also be the result of an infection or other issue. Many people with cholecystitis have their gallbladder removed. // LEARN MORE
- Infections & Obstruction
Gallstones are not the only reason that bile cannot be released from the gallbladder. It is possible for scarring, cysts, tumors and inflammation to block the bile duct.
Several types of physicians provide care for patients with gallbladder concerns:
- Gastroenterologists will evaluate your symptoms and provide a diagnosis. They may use tests such as ERCP. // Find a Gastroenterologist
- Surgeons: If you need to have your gallbladder removed, the procedure will be performed by one of our expert surgeons. // Find a Surgeon
Not sure where to start? Contact our Nurse Navigator
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD occurs when stomach acid moves upwards into your esophagus, the muscular tube that connects your mouth and stomach. Stomach acid is not meant to be in the esophagus. When this happens, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms, such as heartburn.
There are lifestyle, medical and surgical approaches to improving GERD, also known as acid reflux. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your symptoms.
At Middlesex Health, we have an entire program dedicated to helping patients effectively get relief GERD and related symptoms.
Middlesex Health Comprehensive GERD Program
Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)
FAP is a very rare genetic condition that is usually inherited from one of your parents. It is characterized by numerous polyps, or small clumps of extra cells, in the lower part of the digestive tract, such as your large intestine or rectum.
Polyps by themselves are not harmful. But in patients with FAP, it is very likely that these polyps will become cancerous during adulthood—often when people are in their 40s.
If you are at high risk for FAP because you have a close relative, such as a parent or sibling, with this condition, your doctor can perform tests and take steps to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.
More About FAP
Lynch syndrome is a genetic condition that increases the risk of certain types of cancer, including colorectal cancers. People with Lynch syndrome may also have a higher risk of stomach, small intestine, liver and other cancers.
Mutations in five different genes have been found in people with Lynch syndrome. A genetic counselor can help evaluate your risk of Lynch syndrome and test for changes in these genes.
Lynch syndrome is also referred to as hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
More About Lynch Syndrome
Cancers of the Gastrointestinal Tract
Any part of the digestive system can be affected by cancer, from the esophagus to the colon. At Middlesex Health, we have two comprehensive cancer center locations, and our oncology experts work closely with our digestive health team to ensure you get the care you need if you are facing a GI cancer diagnosis.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is characterized by cramping, bloating and a change in bowel habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, or both. It is not harmful to the intestines and the cause of IBS is unknown, but there are ways to control the symptoms and improve your quality of life.
You and your doctor will work together to come up with a treatment plan that may involve avoiding certain foods, meeting with a dietitian, taking certain medications and trying integrative medicine, such as acupuncture.
Learn More About IBS
Pancreatic cancer occurs when cancerous growths, or tumors, develop in the pancreas. At Middlesex Health, we are dedicated to early detection and the most effective treatments, to maximize your chance of recovery while meeting your unique needs.
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Pancreatic Cancer Screening Program
Because the pancreas sits deep in your abdomen, it is not easy to feel a mass. Additionally, pancreatic cancer typically causes symptoms after the disease has metastasized, or spread to other parts of the body.
Pancreatic cancer screening can lead to early detection—which is key to effective treatment. Our digestive health and cancer care teams work together to help patients understand their risk of pancreatic cancer. For patients with increased risk, there are a number of tests available.
Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include chronic inflammation of the pancreas, diabetes, a family history of genetic conditions, smoking, having obesity and older age.
The pancreas is an organ in your digestive system that plays two important roles: it produces fluid that contains enzymes to help with digestion of food and it produces hormones, such as insulin, that help control your blood sugar.
The pancreas can develop cysts, or pockets of fluid. Many cysts are not harmful, and many patients never have symptoms. However, in some cases, cysts can become cancerous.
Many pancreatic cysts are discovered when your doctor is doing an imaging test, such as an MRI, for other reasons. However, the most common symptoms include abdominal pain that does not go away, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, and feeling full after eating very little.
Most pancreatic cysts do not require treatment. However, there are procedures that can be done to drain or remove a cyst if necessary.
Learn More About Pancreatic Cysts
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn's. Patients with ulcerative colitis have swelling and sores, or ulcers, in the large intestine (colon) and the rectum. There are a number of tests that doctors can use to diagnose ulcerative colitis, and there treatments available for those with severe symptoms.
Learn More About Ulcerative Colitis