Digestive Health Care
Taking Care of Your Digestive Health
The gastrointestinal (GI) system includes the organs and processes that turns food into fuel and then uses it to power the body. Digestion begins in the mouth and continues through the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum, with many intricate processes occurring along the way. Other organs – including the pancreas, gall bladder and liver – contribute to the transformation of food into fuel.
When something along the GI tract doesn't work properly, the body doesn't get the power it needs to operate, and health suffers. GI disorders can cause discomfort, distress and pain. Blue Ridge Digestive Health has a team of highly trained providers that offers the highest level of care to restore and maintain your digestive health.
Digestive Health Conditions Treated
Problems can occur in all parts of the digestive system. Doctors can easily diagnose and treat some GI conditions, while others may require advanced diagnostic procedures, more complex treatment or gastro surgery. Here are some of the digestive health disorders treated by the gastroenterologists at Blue Ridge Digestive Health:
- Ulcers: These sores that occur in the stomach or upper small intestine can cause pain and bloating. Most ulcers result from a bacterial infection, although some pain relievers can thin the lining of the stomach and allow ulcers to develop.
- Irritable Bowl Syndrome: Commonly called IBS, this syndrome causes gas and cramping in the lower abdominal tract. It can trigger either diarrhea or constipation, or stools can be alternately hard and loose. Stress can trigger IBS, but so can certain foods and medicines.
- Diverticulitis: Many people have small pockets in their large intestine, resulting from a common, mostly harmless condition called diverticulosis. Diverticulitis occurs when the pockets become infected or swollen. Diverticulitis usually responds to antibiotics and changes in the diet, but occasionally other measures are necessary.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: Sometimes called GERD, this condition occurs when acid from the stomach passes upward into the esophagus, causing heartburn. Persistent acid reflux requires treatment so that the acid doesn't damage the tissue of the esophagus.
- Functional Bowel Disorders: This term includes several digestive health disorders, including lack of bowel control, recurrent diarrhea or constipation, and bloating. We can help those with functional bowel disorders find relief from these conditions.
- Liver Disease, Including Hepatitis: The liver is a large organ that aids digestion and rids the body of toxins. Some liver problems are genetic, but viruses, alcohol use, and other factors can impair liver function also. We offer various diagnostic procedures and treatments for liver disorders.
- Pancreatic Diseases: The pancreas, an organ that sits behind the stomach, makes digestive enzymes and insulin. Various factors, including injury, infection and metabolic disorders, can cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.
- Hemorrhoids: Both surgical and non-surgical treatments are available for hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the anus or rectum. Hemorrhoids are seldom serious, but they can produce pain and bleeding
- Gallstones: The gall bladder stores and releases bile, which helps to digest fat. Gallstones can develop in the gall bladder or in the bile ducts. Sometimes they result in no symptoms at all, but sometimes they create blockages, causing pain and other problems.
Blue Ridge Digestive Health Services and Treatments
Blue Ridge Digestive Health offers innovative diagnostic procedures and treatments to identify and manage your digestive health conditions, including:
- Colorectal Cancer Screening with Colonoscopy: Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in our country, yet it’s one of the most treatable cancers when doctors find it early. A colonoscopy is key to an early-stage diagnosis of colorectal cancer. We provide everything needed to make your procedure comfortable and low stress. If polyps are discovered during your procedure, they can usually be removed during the colonoscopy.
- Fecal Transplant: The intestinal tract needs healthy bacteria to function properly. A fecal transplant is a digestive health treatment that re-colonizes the intestinal tract with good bacteria. The aim is to create what gastroenterologists call a healthy gut microbiome which aids in digestion, the immune system and overall health. •
- ERCP: An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) can be a valuable diagnostic tool. It can tell doctors how well your gall bladder, liver, bile ducts and pancreas are functioning. During this procedure, an endoscope is fed through the mouth down to where the bile ducts enter the small intestine. Dye injected at that point allows doctors to take X-rays so they can better treat digestive health disorders.
Our Digestive Health Providers
Our doctors are board-certified specialists in gastroenterology and digestive health. They are part of a dynamic team that includes a nurse practitioner and a physician's assistant, as well as other doctors and technicians when needed. At Blue Ridge Digestive Health, our team of providers don’t just treat conditions – they care for people. They are here to listen to you, to answer your questions, to explain findings clearly and to involve you in decisions about your care.
Where to Find Us
Blue Ridge Digestive Health is a part of the UNC Health Blue Ridge, longtime health care providers for Burke County, North Carolina and surrounding areas. You can access our gastrointestinal services at five convenient locations. For more information, call our offices in Hickory, Lenoir, Marion, Morganton and Valdese.