Center for Digestive Health

Personalized digestive health care means relief—and getting back to doing what you love.

At the Center for Digestive Health, we bring together experts from across Middlesex Health to screen for, diagnose, treat and manage conditions from irritable bowel syndrome to pancreatitis. We prioritize privacy, comfort and support, all while providing the most advanced care using state-of-the-art technology.

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Digestive health means better quality of life.

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Barrett's Ablation

Barrett’s ablation is a safe and effective outpatient treatment that helps prevent esophageal cancer in patients with Barrett’s esophagus.

Barrett’s ablation takes place using radiofrequency ablation (RFA). Your doctor uses advanced surgical tools to apply strong heat energy to the damaged tissue in your esophagus, destroying any pre-cancerous cells.

Barrett’s ablation can be helpful for many patients, but you and your doctor will work together to determine if it is the right treatment for you.

Watch a Video on Radiofrequency Ablation

Colonoscopy

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure used to look for issues or changes in the large intestine (colon) and the rectum. Colonoscopies are performed by gastroenterologists, who insert a special tool called a colonoscope into the rectum. They are used to look for causes of symptoms and to screen for colorectal cancer.

Learn More About Colonoscopy

How do I know if I need a colonoscopy? 

Screening colonoscopy is recommended for all adults age 50 and over to screen for colon cancer. If you need a colonoscopy for other reasons, your doctor will discuss this with you and may try other methods of relieving your symptoms first.

Contact Us & Schedule Your Colonoscopy

How can I schedule a colonoscopy? Who will I see at Middlesex Health?

At Middlesex Health, your colonoscopy will be performed by one of our expert gastroenterologists. To request an appointment, please call Middlesex Gastroenterology Associates at 860-247-4620.

You can also contact your primary care physician to ask about screening colonoscopy.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

There are several different tests that can be used to look for cancers of the colon or rectum.

  • Colonoscopy: Colonoscopy is considered the “gold-standard” for colorectal cancer screening. This is because your doctor can both look for signs of cancer and remove polyps that could become cancerous in the future. In addition to regular colonoscopy, your doctor may perform a virtual colonoscopy using CT scans.
  • Stool Tests: Stool tests are used to detect microscopic amounts of blood in your stool. This blood would be present because a cancer was causing small amounts of bleeding. The fecal occult blood test (FOBT), fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and stool DNA test (sDNA) are common stool tests. Patients collect a small amount of stool using a special kit provided. That kit is then sent to a lab for testing.

Your doctor will recommend the best test for you based on your age, history of colorectal polyps, family history, and other factors.

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How can I access colorectal cancer screening?

To request an appointment with one of our gastroenterologists, please call Middlesex Gastroenterology Associates at 860-247-4620. You can also contact our Nurse Navigator or talk to your primary care provider.

Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR)

Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR) is a procedure performed by gastroenterologists to prevent cancer or treat early stage cancer. The goal of EMR is to remove polyps, or small clumps of extra cells, that are either precancerous or have become cancerous.

EMR can be used for the upper GI tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestine) or the lower GI tract (colon, rectum).

Learn More About EMR

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Middlesex Health has two gastroenterologists with special training in EMR.

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Contact the Nurse Navigator

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ECRP)

ERCP is a special type of endoscopy that helps diagnose conditions of the gallbladder, pancreas, liver and bile ducts. Gastroenterologists use an endoscope, or long flexible tube with a light and camera, to locate where the bile and pancreatic ducts connect to your small intestine. The doctor then uses a catheter inside the endoscope to deliver a contrast agent, or dye, and takes x-rays of the area.

Some treatments, such as removing gallstones from the bile duct, can also be performed during ERCP.

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Middlesex Health has five gastroenterologists with special training in ECRP.

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Contact the Nurse Navigator

Endoscopic Ultrasound

Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a minimally invasive procedure used by gastroenterologists to look for and help diagnose digestive conditions.

In this procedure, your doctor will use a tool called an endoscope, a long, thin tube with a light and camera attached, to look inside your digestive tract. During EUS, your doctor can also take a biopsy, or tissue sample, for testing.

Learn More About EUS

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Middlesex Health has two gastroenterologists with special training in endoscopic ultrasound.

Find a Gastroenterologist
Contact Our Nurse Navigator

Endoscopy

Endoscopy is the general term for minimally invasive procedures that use a long, flexible tube with a light and camera to view the inside of the digestive tract. The tube can be inserted through the mouth, in order to view the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. It can also be inserted through the anus to view the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

Endoscopy is generally a very safe procedure and does not require any incisions. There are many different types of endoscopy, depending on what your doctor is looking for. If you are scheduled for an endoscopic procedure, your doctor will provide additional information about your specific test.

Common types of endoscopy include:

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All of the gastroenterologists at Middlesex Health have special training in performing endoscopy.

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Contact the Nurse Navigator

Fecal Transplant for C. difficile Infections

Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is a treatment for C. difficile infection that is not improving through use of antibiotics or recurs (returns) after symptoms resolve.

A Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) 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. When the good gut bacteria is reintroduced, the C. difficile has competition and can no longer overpopulate the intestines.

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At Middlesex Health, two of our gastroenterologists have special training in FMT for C. difficile.

Find a Doctor
Contact the Nurse Navigator

GERD - Medical & Surgical Management

Lifestyle changes, medications and surgical procedures can all be used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

Depending on the symptoms you have—and their severity—you may see a gastroenterologist or nutritionist. If steps like changing your diet, raising the head of your bed, limiting smoking and alcohol consumption, and adding a GERD medication do not help, you may be a candidate for surgery.

At Middlesex Health, our surgeons offer the most advanced procedures to treat GERD, including LINX and TIF®.

Middlesex Health Comprehensive GERD Program

Manometry (Muscle Function Testing)

Sphincters are groups of muscles that form a ring and open/close to control the movement of substances, such as food and digestive fluid, in the digestive tract. Sphincters are a very important part of the digestive tract. The lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow food to enter the stomach and then closes to prevent stomach acid from moving up into the esophagus, causing reflux. Sphincters in the rectum and anus control bowel movements.

Manometry is used to test the function of these muscles for patients who are experiencing symptoms such as reflux, fecal incontinence, and constipation.

Anorectal Manometry

Anorectal manometry tests the function of the rectum and anal sphincter.

Your doctor will discuss the details of your test, which does not involve sedation or anesthesia. They will also share details about how to prepare for the test.

Esophageal Manometry

Esophageal manometry tests the function of the lower esophageal sphincter.

It can also be used to test the function of the esophagus. The esophagus is made of muscle. If it cannot function properly, it may not be able to move food into your stomach.

 

Medication & Lifestyle Changes

Many digestive health conditions can be managed very effectively without surgery or other invasive procedures. Lifestyle changes—such as adjustments to diet, exercise, sleep hygiene and alcohol consumption—can help you find relief from your symptoms.

Certain gastrointestinal disorders can also be helped by medications. You, your gastroenterologist and your other health care providers will work together to develop a plan for screening, diagnosis and treatment that is right for you.

Contact Us & Meet Our Team

Our digestive health team includes gastroenterologists, surgeons, nurses, dietitians and many other types of supportive care providers.

Meet Our Digestive Health Team
Contact the Nurse Navigator

Pancreatic Cancer Screening

Early detection of pancreatic cancer is key to effective treatment. For patients with a high risk of pancreatic cancer, there are several tests available:

  • CA19-9 Blood Test: This blood test looks for the presence of certain proteins or tumor markers shed by pancreatic cancer cells. This test is not the gold standard but can provide useful information to your doctors.
  • Biopsy: A small amount of tissue is removed from the pancreas. The doctor will then examine the tissue to check for abnormal and cancerous cells.
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS): The use of high-frequency sound waves to create images of the lining and walls of your digestive tract, chest, pancreas, liver, and lymph nodes.
  • CT Scan: The combination of a series of x-rays to create detailed images of the inside of your abdomen and pelvis.
  • MRI: This test uses magnetic waves to create pictures of the inside of the abdomen.
  • PET Scan: A scan of the entire body to determine if cancer has spread elsewhere in your body. PET scans can sometimes detect disease before it shows up on other imaging tests.

For patients who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, we offer the most advanced treatments, as well as supportive care. Patients at the Middlesex Health Cancer Center have access to nurse navigators, dietitians, social workers, integrative medicine practitioners, survivorship care and more.

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If you have questions about pancreatic cancer screening or have questions about your cancer risk, you can:

Weight Loss - Medical & Surgical

At the Middlesex Health Center for Medical & Surgical Weight Loss, our priority is helping you achieve your weight loss goals. Our team of expert surgeons, nurse practitioners, dietitians and more work with each patient to provide education, medical weight loss, surgery—when appropriate—and long-term followup.

Visit our Center for Medical & Surgical Weight Loss website to access our virtual services, meet our expert providers and learn about the different treatment and support options available to you.

Learn More & Begin Your Weight Loss Journey Today

About the Center for Digestive Health

Managing digestive health conditions can be complex, and we take an innovative approach to providing advanced care and personalized support during screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Our Center brings together experts from across Middlesex Health—so you can be sure that even if your providers are in different offices, your care will be coordinated.

Digestive health issues can be complex. You may need to see more than one type of doctor, and it can be hard to know where to start. When you contact us, you will speak to our Nurse Navigator. This specially trained nurse can help you determine who you should see first, explain next steps, and provide education about your condition and related care after diagnosis.

Once you begin to see doctors, nurses and supportive care providers—such as physical therapists, mental health professionals, or integrative medicine practitioners—we will continue to guide you to ensure that your care is coordinated between all of your providers, even though they might not all be based in the same office. This means that you will get effective and timely support.

Depending on your concerns or diagnosis, you might see one or more providers. These could include:

  • Gastroenterologists: Doctors who care for the stomach and intestines
  • Surgeons: Specialists who perform complex procedures in the hospital or outpatient facility
  • Dietitians: Experts in nutrition who offer counseling, education and support
  • Mental Health Providers: Specialists who can help manage anxiety, obsessions and compulsions that can often affect the gastrointestinal system (GI tract)
  • Physical Therapists: Providers who use biofeedback and other techniques to help manage conditions, such as fecal incontinence, associated with muscles in the pelvis
  • Oncologists: Experts who care for patients with cancers of the GI tract, as well as patients with anemia
  • Pulmonologists: Specialists who can assist with conditions that impact your chest and upper GI tract, such as some types of hernias, some cancers, and sarcoidosis
  • Genetic Counselors: Health care professionals who have extensive training in identifying and managing genetic and inherited risk for cancer and other conditions
  • Naturopathic Doctors: Board-certified providers who use natural remedies to promote healing and focus on treating the whole person—body, mind and spirit
  • Integrative Medicine Practitioners: Specially trained care providers who offer acupuncture, massage and other modalities that have been shown to improve symptoms and reduce overall stress

  • Compassionate Care: We understand how difficult and even painful it can be to manage digestive health conditions. Your privacy and comfort are our top priority, and every patient can expect kindness, compassion, and discretion.
  • Connected Caregivers: Your providers are connected. Because your doctor, dietitian, and other Middlesex Health experts are part of our Center for Digestive Health, they can communicate often and easily to ensure that your experience is seamless. Plus, we have a nurse navigator dedicated to making sure you find the right providers and understand every aspect of your care plan.
  • Complete Care: We offer a full range of services—from screening and diagnosis to treatment and long-term management.
  • Mayo Clinic Care Network: Middlesex Health is Connecticut's first member of the prestigious Mayo Clinic Care Network. This means that your expert physician at Middlesex has direct access to Mayo Clinic specialists at no extra cost to you. // LEARN MORE