Our digestive system is made up of multiple organs including our esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, gall bladder, liver and pancreas. All these organs need to work together properly to keep us healthy. At our gastroenterology office, we see anything related to gastrointestinal system. These are the top reasons why you may need to see Dr Kethu, a gastroenterologist in Richardson, TX.
Rectal bleeding is when blood passes from the rectum or anus. Bleeding may be noted on the stool or seen as blood on toilet paper or in the toilet. If the bleeding is bright red blood, most often it is caused by hemorrhoids or fissure. You may still need to see a gastroenterologist to make sure that it is not due to a more serious cause like colon cancer.
Indigestion, also called dyspepsia or upset stomach, is a general term that describes a group of digestive symptoms that may include pain or burning feeling or discomfort in your upper abdomen, feeling full too soon while eating a meal, feeling uncomfortably full after eating a meal. Indigestion is a common condition, affecting about 1 in 4 people in the United States each year. Chronic indigestion without a health problem or digestive tract disease that could explain symptoms is called functional dyspepsia. Although 3 out of 4 people who are evaluated for dyspepsia turn out to have functional dyspepsia, you may still need a gastroenterology evaluation to rule out peptic ulcer disease, gastritis, stomach cancer, etc.
Vomiting is generally a protective mechanism to remove harmful ingested substances from your body. Vomiting can also occur from many unrelated infectious and inflammatory conditions in the body. Although vomiting can be caused by many causes from medications to psychiatric conditions, if you have nausea and vomiting that lasts more than 2-3 days, you need to be evaluated by a physician. Gastroenterologists often see patients who have chronic, persistent nausea and vomiting.
Non-cardiac chest pain (NCCP) is a term used to describe chest pain that resembles heart pain in patients who do not have heart disease. Several studies have shown that approximately 60% or more of patients with NCCP suffer from acid reflux. Other common causes of non-cardiac chest pain are due to abnormal contractions of esophagus, hypersensitivity of the esophagus, musculoskeletal pain.
Celiac disease (CD) is a chronic digestive condition where patients have inflammation of the small intestine due to reaction to gluten, a food protein found in foods like wheat, rye and barley. Celiac disease can be very serious. The disease can cause long-lasting digestive problems and keep your body from getting all the nutrients it needs. Celiac disease can also affect the body outside the intestine. It is estimated that up to one in 141 Americans has celiac disease, although most don’t know it.
Jaundice is when your eyes and skin turn yellow. This is caused by liver problem where liver cannot process the break down products of red blood cells causing bilirubin (a yellow chemical in hemoglobin) to accumulate. Jaundice can be caused by medications, infection (like hepatitis), alcoholic liver disease, blockage of bile ducts (for example, pancreatic cancer, gallstones), etc. Most adults who have jaundice are referred to a gastroenterologist for evaluation.
Finding of abnormal liver enzymes when you have a routine blood tests by your primary care provider is a common problem. Mild elevation of liver enzymes is often temporary and may not be serious. But if they are 2-3 times upper limits of normal range, you may need to see a gastroenterologist to find out if it is caused by infection like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, auto immune hepatitis, hemochromatosis, etc.
Diverticula are small pouches that bulge outward through the colon and if you have these pouches, you have a condition called diverticulosis. It becomes more common as people age. About half of all people over age 60 have it. If the pouches become inflamed or infected, you have a condition called diverticulitis. The most common symptom is abdominal pain, usually on the left side. You may also have fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and constipation.
Pancreas is a gland behind your stomach and in front of your spine. It produces digestive juices that help break down food and hormones that help control blood sugar levels. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. It happens when digestive enzymes start digesting the pancreas itself. Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic. Either form is serious and can lead to complications.
Hepatitis B is inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B spreads by contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluid. An infected woman can give hepatitis B to her baby at birth. Approximately 850,000 to 2.2 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis B. Asian Americans and African Americans have higher rates of chronic hepatitis B. Although currently there is no cure for Hepatitis B, you should see a gastroenterologist to determine if you are a candidate for anti-viral medications to prevent complications like cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Hepatitis C inflammation of the liver caused by Hepatitis C virus. About 2.7 million to 3.9 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C. Many people who have hepatitis C don’t have symptoms and don’t know they have this infection. About 75 percent of U.S. adults who have hepatitis C are baby boomers, born between 1945 and 1965. The good news is that there is a cure for Hepatitis C now! See a gastroenterologist to find out if you are a candidate for one of the newer drugs that can cure hepatitis C.
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which tissue that is similar to the lining of your intestine replaces the tissue lining your esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition and very rarely can lead to esophageal cancer. So, if you have this condition, you need to see gastroenterologist for closer monitoring and treatment of Barrett’s esophagus.
Cirrhosis is a condition in which your liver is scarred and permanently damaged. Scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue and prevents your liver from working normally. Cirrhosis is commonly caused by alcohol, hepatitis C, fatty liver, etc. About 1 in 400 adults in the United States has cirrhosis.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which excess fat is stored in your liver. Two types of NAFLD are simple fatty liver and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is a form of NAFLD in which you have hepatitis—inflammation of the liver—and liver cell damage, in addition to fat in your liver. Inflammation and liver cell damage can cause fibrosis, or scarring, may also lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. If you are found to have fatty liver and if you also have abnormally high liver enzymes, you may need to see a gastroenterologist.
Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from your stomach to your small intestine. Gastroparesis is often caused by diabetes. Gastroparesis can be a very debilitating condition causing chronic vomiting, abdominal pain, malnutrition, dehydration, etc.
Unexplained weight loss is a decrease in body weight, when you did not try to lose the weight on your own. The weight loss can be due to lack of appetite, medications, cancer, thyroid problems, anxiety or depression, chronic infection or chronic disease like kidney or lung disease. There are several digestive conditions that can cause weight loss including swallowing problems, malabsorption, severe diarrhea, parasites, chronic inflammation of the pancreas, etc. See your primary care provider to find out if you need a gastroenterologist referral.