Diseases of the Small Bowel and Colon

Irritable bowel syndrome, or “IBS,” is a condition that causes belly pain and problems with bowel movements. Some people with the condition have frequent diarrhea, which is characterized as watery bowel movements. Others do not have enough bowel movements, which is refered to constipation. Some patients switch back and forth between diarrhea and constipation. Other symptoms can include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, and gas. Unfortunately there are no specific or definitive tests that help us determine if you have IBS, but the diagnosis is usually made once other medical conditions that can have similar symptoms have been evaluated. Management for this condition is highly specific to each patient and treatment regimens are customized to each patient. At Great Lakes Gastroenterology, we will work with you closely to help you determine which diet plan, medications, and complementary medicine care combination will work best for you.

We also have partnered with the leaders of industry and pioneers in the management of irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and diarrhea to provide our patients access to new, cutting-edge, and emerging therapies with our clinical trials. This allows us to provide patients with treatments that would not otherwise be available to them and possibly to help reduce their overall costs.

Please visit our clinical trials page to see if you would qualify for one of our trials for this condition.

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease in which the inner lining of the large intestine and rectum become inflamed. Ulcerative colitis is characterized by diarrhea, abdominal pain and blood in the stool. The disease may vary in how much of the colon is affected and in severity as well. Although it is thought to be an autoimmune condition, where the body’s own immune system attacks the large intestine, there is a great deal of research in determining the exact cause of this condition. We currently do not know exactly why the disease occurs, but know that there is an interplay between genetic and environmental factors in combination with the human microbiome.

Some common symptoms of this condition include blood diarrhea that can also have mucus, frequent bowel movements, abdominal and/or rectal pain, weight loss, skin rashes, and joint pains. There are some blood tests that can be performed to help make a diagnosis of this condition, but the best test is an endoscopic evaluation to evaluate the extent of involvement and with the collection of biopsies, or tissue samples. After a diagnosis is made, often additional imaging tests such a CT scan or MRI is necessary. As this disease is highly variable in terms of severity and symptoms, the treatment is individualized to each specific patient. Treatments can consist of oral medications, self-injectable or intravenous medications, or in some cases even surgery may be necessary. Most patients will also need repeat endoscopic procedures at routine intervals to help determine the course of treatment and to prevent the development of cancer.

We, at Great Lakes Gastroenterology, also have partnered with the leaders of industry and pioneers in the management Ulcerative Colitis to provide our patients access to new, cutting-edge, and emerging therapies with our clinical trials. This allows us to provide patients with treatments that would not otherwise be available to them and possibly to help reduce their overall costs.

Please visit our clinical trials page to see if you would qualify for one of our several trials for Ulcerative Colitis.

Crohn’s Disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that can affect any part of the GI tract including the colon, small intestine, stomach, esophagus, or even the mouth. Most commonly, it involves the very end of the small bowel call the terminal ileum. Like its counterpart, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease is also thought to be an autoimmune condition, where the body’s own immune system attacks the GI tract. At this time the exact cause of why this disease occurs is uncertain, but a great deal of research is being done around the world to help us find the answer.

Some common symptoms for patient with this condition are diarrhea, abdominal pain, feeling tired, weight loss, fever, mouth sores, skin rashes, joint pain, and even eye redness in some cases. While there are blood tests that can be helpful in determining if you have Crohn’s disease, the best test to make a diagnosis of this condition is with an endoscopic evaluation. During an upper and lower endoscopy the extent and severity of the disease can be assessed. Additionally a tissue sample, or a biopsy, of affected areas can be obtained. After a diagnosis is made, often additional imaging tests such a CT scan or MRI is necessary. As this disease is highly variable in terms of severity and symptoms, the treatment is individualized to each specific patient. Treatments can consist of oral medications, self-injectable or intravenous medications, or in some cases even surgery may be necessary. Most patients will also need repeat endoscopic procedures at routine intervals to help determine the course of treatment and to prevent the development of cancer.

We, at Great Lakes Gastroenterology, also have partnered with the leaders of industry and pioneers in the management Crohn’s Disease to provide our patients access to new, cutting-edge, and emerging therapies with our clinical trials. This allows us to provide patients with treatments that would not otherwise be available to them and possibly to help reduce their overall costs.

Please visit our clinical trials page to see if you would qualify for one of our trials for Crohn’s Disease.

Celiac Disease is a condition in which the immune system responds abnormally to a protein called gluten, which then leads to damage to the lining of the small intestine. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, and a multitude of other prepared foods. Celiac Disease is also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy (enter-OH-pathy) and celiac sprue. The small intestine is responsible for absorbing food and nutrients. Thus, damage to the lining of the small intestines can lead to difficulty absorbing important nutrients; this problem is referred to as malabsorption. Although Celiac Disease cannot be cured, avoiding gluten usually stops the damage to the intestinal lining and the malabsorption that results. Celiac Disease can occur in people of any age and it affects both genders.

Some patients with this condition have no symptoms at all. Those with symptoms can suffer from diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal discomfort, excessive gas, and other signs and symptoms caused by vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. There are blood tests that can help your gastroenterologist determine whether you may have Celiac Disease and if this test is positive, an upper endoscopy is performed where the small bowel is examined and tissue samples are taken to be evaluate for Celiac Disease. There are several treatments being developed for Celiac Disease, but the current mainstay of treatment is a gluten free diet. At our practice we have partnered with dieticians who will work with you to you learn which foods to avoid and how to develop the best diet for you.

We, at Great Lakes Gastroenterology, also have partnered with the leaders of industry and pioneers in the management Celiac Disease to provide our patients access to new, cutting-edge, and emerging therapies with our clinical trials. This allows us to provide patients with treatments that would not otherwise be available to them and possibly to help reduce their overall costs.

Please visit our clinical trials page to see if you would qualify for one of our trials for Celiac Disease.

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