Digestive health specialists in Kansas City
A gastroenterologist diagnoses and treats disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. GI disorders affect the bowel, colon, esophagus, stomach, gallbladder, small and large intestines, liver, pancreas and rectum. Symptoms vary widely, depending on the affected organ.
Some digestive issues, such as heartburn, indigestion and constipation, are common. However, when symptoms become chronic or severe, consider talking with a specialist.
For more information about our GI services, call us at (800) 386-9355.
GI disorders we treat
Our GI health team includes gastroenterologists, general surgeons and ear, nose and throat specialists (otolaryngologists). These digestive experts offer comprehensive care for acute and chronic symptoms. Gastroenterologists may also work with specialists in nephrology, urology or oncology. We treat GI disorders such as:
- Acid reflux (heartburn)
- Celiac disease
- Colon conditions, such as fissures, abscesses and diverticulitis (infection or inflammation of pouches that can form in your intestines)
- Gallbladder disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Gastrointestinal cancer
- Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
Heartburn, reflux and GERD treatment
Heartburn may be a symptom of indigestion, which can cause uncomfortable fullness, nausea and a burning or discomfort in the upper abdomen. When symptoms indicate a long-term condition, our experts offer advanced care. Signs of GERD or another chronic digestive issue include:
- Acidic taste in the back of the throat
- Burning sensation in the throat or painful swallowing
- Chronic stomach upset or pain
- Difficulty swallowing or a feeling of food stuck in the throat or chest
- Pain or a burning feeling in the chest, which can worsen after lying down, bending over or eating
- Persistent dry cough and/or hoarseness
Your GI specialist may recommend dietary changes, lifestyle adjustments and over-the-counter medication to manage symptoms. Additional treatment options may include:
- Endoscopy to collect tissue samples, observe an internal organ or guide GI surgery
- Minimally invasive surgery
- Radiofrequency ablation (using heat to reduce or stop pain)
GI diagnostic and imaging services
Our GI specialists use a variety of tests to diagnose GI disorders and assess a patient's health, including:
- Colonoscopy (viewing the inside of your colon and rectum to screen for the source of abdominal pain, bleeding and changes in bowel habits; to remove a small tissue sample for biopsy; and/or to remove small growths, such as polyps)
- Lower GI endoscopy (using a thin, flexible tube to view your lower GI tract, small intestines, large intestines, rectum and anus)
- Upper GI endoscopy (examining the esophagus, stomach and first part of your small intestine)
- Upper GI series (an X-ray of your upper digestive tract to find ulcers, tumors and certain diseases)
Pediatric gastroenterology services and treatment
Chronic tummy aches, painful swallowing and other symptoms that affect a child's daily activities may indicate a serious problem. When your little one has these issues, you want a remedy quickly. That's why our pediatric gastroenterologists are experts at providing prompt, comprehensive pediatric GI care and developing appropriate treatment plans.
Colon cancer screening
If a gastroenterologist sees symptoms of colorectal cancer, they may work with an oncologist to conduct tests to determine the type and stage of cancer and an appropriate treatment plan. To achieve this, digestive specialists may perform the following colon cancer screening tests:
- Digital rectal exam (an exam, often completed by a primary care physician, to check the rectum for abnormalities)
- Fecal immunochemical test, or FIT (a stool culture test used to detect hidden blood in the stool from the lower intestines)
- Fecal occult blood test (a lab test used to look for hidden blood in the stool from the upper and lower GI tract)
- Stool DNA test (a lab test used to look for DNA changes in cells and blood in the stool)
- X-ray of the large intestine, also called a barium enema
Find help for a GI condition
If you have pain or difficulty eating or digesting, blood in the stool, changes in bowel habits, and/or weight loss, contact your primary care physician or contact our Nurses On-Call at 1 (800) 386-9355. Our nurses can answer your questions, provide next steps and help you find a physician or specialist.
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