Evaluating, Treating Gastrointestinal Conditions
Digestive disease care Northwest Texas Healthcare System focuses on the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive system. The organs of the digestive system include the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts. Northwest Texas Healthcare System gastroenterologists evaluate the following signs and symptoms to find their root cause:
- Abdominal pain
- Acid reflux or heartburn
- Blood in vomit or stool
- Bloating or gas
- Difficulty swallowing
Testing for Gastrointestinal Problems
Diagnosing your symptoms is the first step to obtaining successful treatment. A Northwest Texas Healthcare System gastroenterologist may do a combination of the following: review your medical history, conduct a physical exam and order lab tests. Among the tests conducted may be:
- Colon cancer screening (colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy)
- Lab tests that look for blood in the stool
- Imaging tests that help your physician see how your digestive system processes food and waste
- Tests that help show the strength and function of muscles in the esophagus, rectum, or anus
Managing Gastrointestinal Disorders
Northwest Texas Healthcare System gastroenterologists manage common conditions, such as heartburn and stomach ulcers, as well as more complex diseases including:
- Esophageal conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and esophagitis
- Autoimmune conditions, such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease
- Liver diseases, such as hepatitis, fatty liver disease and cancer
The Endoscopy Center is a full endoscopy unit where disorders of the intestinal tract are diagnosed and treated utilizing advanced endoscopic equipment. In endoscopy, the physician uses a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope, which has its own lens and light source, and views the images on a video monitor. The physician can pass instruments through the endoscope to directly treat many abnormalities — this will cause you little or no discomfort.
A physician might use upper endoscopy to obtain a biopsy to distinguish between benign and malignant (cancerous) tissues. However, biopsies are taken for many reasons, and your physician might order one even if he or she does not suspect cancer. For example, your physician might use a biopsy to test for Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes ulcers.
The Center features the first photodynamic laser in the Amarillo area. Photodynamic therapy is a novel endoscopic technique that combines a photosensitizer and laser light to destroy target cells.
Find a Doctor
To find a doctor affiliated with Northwest Texas Healthcare System, contact our free physician referral service at 800-887-1114.